Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie PerkinsLola Nolan thinks life in her San Francisco neighborhood is pretty great: she has a hot (older) rocker boyfriend, two caring (if overbearing) dads, and one dedicated best friend. When she’s not hanging out with any of the above, she’s either working at a local movie theater or creating her latest over-the-top outfit-cum-costume. But all of this happiness threatens to fall apart when Calliope and Cricket, her old neighbors and the two responsible for crushing her spirit and breaking her heart three years ago, move back in.

In this companion novel to last year’s overwhelmingly popular Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins has crafted another swoon-worthy teen romance full of quirky, likable characters. Lola is a force — yes, she is a bit melodramatic, but she’s also full of life. I loved her endlessly wacky and inspired outfits and costuming prowess. The boy-next-door, Cricket, captured my heart with his lovable nerdiness. Their burgeoning relationship was both delightful and agonizing (just tell him you like him already!), though that’s to be expected in a romance novel. My one real qualm was that Lola’s original boyfriend, Max, was just too obviously wrong for her, making the inevitability of the end just that much more inevitable.

Of course, it’s not all teen angst and romance — Perkins deftly handles the relationship between Lola and her mostly absent, often homeless mother, letting it evolve in a realistic manner, and Lola’s friendship with Lindsey felt very true to life. I was surprised by how big of a role Anna and Etienne played in the story, but this should work as a standalone title for those who haven’t read Anna (but if readers like this one, they definitely should!). This is a great pick for any contemporary YA lit lover!

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins will be released September 29, 2011 by Dutton Juvenile. Find in a library, on Amazon, or add to GoodReads.

Reviewed from an ARC received through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

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