Age: Young Adult
Interest: STEPHANIE PERKINS/ Lola/ Anna/ Cricket/ Etienne/ love
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.
When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.
I just want to hug Stephanie Perkins, all the time. She created Etienne St. Clair and Cricket Bell, therefore she deserves endless cake, ponies, blue hair dye and whatever else she wants. This year, I read Anna and the French Kiss for the first time and I really was not expecting to love it like a cult fanatic. When I heard there were 2 companion novels for it, Lola and Isla, I was ecstatic and a bit worried. Anna just had this magic, wether it came from being set in Paris, the witty quips, or simply Anna and Etienne themselves. I was concerned that Lola would not be as good, as heart-wrenching, as pure, as wonderful as Anna. Frankly, it seemed impossible to love Lola as much or even more than Anna. I could not have been more wrong.
The thing I'm finding out about Perkins' writing is, it makes me homesick, for places and people which I know do not exist, but damn it, I know they could. She has a way of completely drawing you into her world, which is filled with this overwhelming sense of love and care between friends, between family, between two people. The second I've finished one of her books, I feel like I've lost something essential of myself. I know Anna, Lola and even Isla are just books, but to me, they're so much more. Every time, every single time I read or re-read Perkins' books it's like coming home to a place I've missed dearly and desperately for a very long time. They just make me a better person, make me feel whole.
Now, after I've poured my heart out unashamedly to all of you, it's time to talk about the characters. Lola, dear Lola, she was amazing. I loved her outlandish costumes and sometimes childish attitude. She was... fresh. Not exactly innocent, and definitely not docile, but she had this sweetness about her that I liked. Lola has this overwhelming personality, full of drama. She was constantly reinventing herself, but mostly stayed true to who she was. The girl is just a puzzle, a pretty, sparkly puzzle. (Actually, she reminded me of Lola Lufnagle AKA Lily Truscott from Hannah Montana, I think it was all the wigs.) Cricket was so completely adorable. He made me think of a teenage version of Lewis from Meet the Robinsons, full of energy, ideas and crazy hair. He was such a sweet boy, so patient with Lola it broke my heart. The guy is a fictional heart throb for sure.
This may or may not be a spoiler, so feel free to ignore this paragraph if you're worried about that. Oh my, oh my, oh my god! I screamed, I hyperventilated, I laughed, I flailed about like I was doing the funky chicken. All because of the appearance of Anna and St. Clair. Oh yes, my friends, Anna and St. Clair have made it to Berkley and they are friends with Lola and Cricket. At first, I saw Anna's name and I sort of ignored it until my brain went wait... Anna, as in Anna Oliphant? Sure enough, by the next page, I saw St. Clair's name and proceeded to have the biggest and silliest fangirling episode of my entire life. I could not calm down for the next ten minutes to read, I was so riled up. So I must pay homage and say thank you to Stephanie Perkins for that because it made my entire life. (If Anna, Lola, Cricket and Etienne are in France together for Isla I might die from pure and utter joy.)
I would like to give props to Perkins' for making Lola take it slow when she should have, I was extremely, extremely proud of that. I also want to recognize the fact that Perkins' made Lola's parent's a same sex couple. Andy and Nathan were simply like normal parents, not some stereotyped version of homosexuals. I was so incredibly happy about that, not many authors would take the risk of controversy to incorporate two gay men or women. It's sad, but it's a fact, so I have a high respect for Stephanie Perkins for being willing to do it, not as a gimmick or a focal point, but because that was just who Lola's family was.
In short, Lola and the Boy Next Door was a fantastic novel that I want everyone to read. It's heartwarming, heartbreaking and indescribably perfect. I could go on talking about this novel for 4 more pages and it still wouldn't be enough. Sparing you that misery, I'll end this review telling all of my followers, casual readers, book devotees and hopeless romantics to pick up Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door immediately.
*Note- My Summer Girl Books is not responsible for any and all feelings of withdrawl or loneliness when waiting for Isla and the Happily Ever After, but My Summer Girl would like you to know she feels your pain.*
Teaser Lines: “What just happened?"
"Your father invited the former love of your life in for pie."
"Yeah, that's what I thought.”