Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published: September 29th, 2011 by Penguin
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Content: Swearing and thoughts of sex (I recommend it for ages 15 and up)
Summary: 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.My Thoughts:
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. (from Goodreads.com)
I always find that it is more difficult to write a review about the books I love the most rather than those I simply didn't care for. I believe it's because I am never fully able to expand on the depth of my feelings for said book and why I feel the way that I do. Lola and the Boy Next Door, for me, is one of those books.
I keep going over and over in my head what it was about Lola and the Boy Next Door that had me so enthralled that I could not put it down for the life of me. The characters are positively sensational and so developed I kind of wanted to step outside of my house just to double check that I was still in Arizona and not San Francisco, living next to Lola and Cricket. Lola is this fascinating and eccentric character - my very favorite kind of character - who spins this world of wonder and joy around her. Yes, she complains like every other teenager does, but she is also unique and good and fun and with every wig she put on and every costume she wore, I admired her even more. Plus, she is one of those teens who loves her parents more than anything. Then again, I loved her parents more than anything. Two fathers who love her more than life itself, two fathers who are there for her whenever she needs them. Two fathers who also have a kind loving relationship. Admittedly, I was a little jealous of her.
Lola has this love for life and the way we would all like to live it....or rather how I would like to live it; by letting my inside shine by displaying all the emotions and colors I feel inside on the outside, like blue hair and pink shoes or dresses that make me feel like I'm on fire. Maybe this sounds stupid, but to me it sounds wonderful.
I plan my outfit. If this is going to happen, I need to look better than the last time I saw him,[...]And then there is Cricket. Cricket Bell, neighbor extraordinaire, student of mechanical engineering at Berkley, the one person who Lola has always wanted. For me, my thoughts concerning Cricket do not develop into coherent words, more like a salad of words that dribble out of my mouth as I stare and gaze longingly after him. I think the reason for this is that I know him, or rather someone who is almost exactly like him (with a bit less height) and he is probably one of the most amazing people I have ever known or will ever know in my short life. So, I know how Lola feels because even though Lola is with someone else, she still wants Cricket there, in her life. Because in the end, you'd rather have them there than not at all because every moment you're with them, they lift you up and make you feel things you wish you could always feel.
I settle on a similarly checked red-and-white halter dress, which I made from an actual picnic blanket for the last Fourth of July. I add bright red lipstick and tiny ant-shaped earrings for theme, and my big black platform boots because walking will be involved. They're the sportiest shoes I own. I smooth my dress, erect my posture, and parade downstairs.
"Lola, do you remember when you told me that I had a gift?" [Cricket]And that my dear friends is really and truly the heart of my feelings for this book. The plot.
I gulp. "Yes."
His eyes open and lock on mine. "You have one, too. and maybe some people think that wearing a costume means you're trying to hide your real identity, but I think a costume is more truthful than regular clothing could ever be. It actually says something about the person wearing it. I knew that Lola, because she expressed her desires and wishes and dreams for the entire city to see. For me to see."
My heart is beating in my ears, my lungs, my throat.
"I miss that Lola," he says.
I take a step toward him. His breath catches.
And then he takes a step toward me.
A story that is sweet and kind as much as it reflects the darker side of life's capricious peculiarities, Lola and the Boy Next Door is the story I would have wished to happen over and over, but never did and most likely never will. Has this kind of story been told before? Probably, but I really don't care. Stephanie Perkins has this way with words that captivates me so much that I am mesmerized by it every time. Anna and the French Kiss was no different, but in Lola and the Boy Next Door I see a little more of myself and my hopes and dreams in Lola and Cricket and it makes me sigh page after page.
He glances down and notices that I'm still wearing a certain blue something, and, this time, it's his index finger that wraps underneath my rubber band.Stephanie Perkins writes tender, heartwarming, love stories where characters live and learn and fall in love and get hurt regularly. Her female leads are strong and flawed and I can't help but love them for everything they are and everything they aren't. If you are looking for a review where I break down the book and tell you what I did and didn't like, well...this not that review. No, the book wasn't perfect. Yes, there were a lot of similarities to Anna and the French Kiss. But for me, what it comes down to is, I loved this book so much for its simplicity and kindness, for its differences and eccentricities, for its relationships and fights, for its ability to make my heart ache and emotions soar and I will never, ever be able to say anything but how my heart swells remembering Lola and Cricket and the story that brings them together.
I shiver wonderfully. "I'm never taking it off."
Cricket brushes the delicate skin of my wrist. "It'll fall off."
"I'll ask you for another one."
"I'll give you another one." He smiles and touches his nose to mine.
This book, this lovely little novel, reminds me of why I love to read and that there are still stories out there that I will stay up until near morning to finish. So, thank you Ms. Perkins. Thank you for writing the story you did. Thank you for Lola and Cricket and for crooked-happy endings that make me smile and sigh. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.