Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review #75: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Hello again lovely friends! I know, another book review the day after posting, IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!!! Nah I'm kidding, but the fact that this review is being posted the day after starting this book does say how much I love it. And I will tell y'all how much I love this book in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!

Lola and the Boy Next Door is the first companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Lola Nolan is a seventeen year old High School girl who wants three things: 1. To go to the Winter Formal as Marie Antoinette, all elaborate, 2. For her two fathers (as a reviewer I like once said about this-literary progress!!) to approve and fully accept her twenty-two year old rocker boyfriend Max, and 3. To NEVER EVER see the Bell twins again. But then of course, the Bell twins and their family move back in town, making Lola's live intensely complicated. Even more so because Lola has to figure out her feelings for Cricket Bell, the twin who is always in his sister's shadow. Will Lola and the Boy Next Door figure it all out? Find out!

Good god y'all, I LOVE this book. I want to shower it with kisses and give Stephanie Perkins a big hug. This book makes me love Contemporary YA even more than I did, and my intense love for Contemporary YA was started by Ms. Perkins herself. This book is just so sublimely fabulous, you want to live in San Francisco with Lola, Cricket and the gang. You want to walk its streets, taking it all in. I loved watching Lola's journey, and noticing how different the book is from it's predecessor, Anna and the French Kiss. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, it isn't. But you can't deny that Lola is different, a bit darker at times. But you can see that the undeniable sweetness and loveliness is there. You become so engrossed that you want to somehow jump into the book like Inkheart. 

Lola was utterly fabulous, plain and simple. I loved how outrageous, bold and confident she was. I also loved the second layer to her: The vulnerability, the insecurity, how she feels about her birth mom (won't be spoiling that). She's complex in the best sense of the word. You want her to be your best friend or little sister, feeling close to Lola, rooting for her to be happy. She is also not like Anna in that she's edgier (I guess that's the right word). She lies, she makes mistakes, but she owns up to them and tries to do right. I just think she's wonderful. Then there's Cricket. *Sigh*. That is literally all I can think of when I think of Cricket. His name is weird, but you don't notice that much. Oh sweet niblets. If ever there were a literary crush I wish were real (I know, I've said that a LOT, but I mean it no joke this time), it would be Cricket Bell, no contest. He's just so sweet, so nice, so funny and caring and loving and intelligent, and sexy. Yes, his physical descriptions make him sexy, but who he is as a person makes him even more so. *Sigh*. Now onto his twin, Calliope. I love love loved hating her. She was such a mean girl. But I also loved how Perkins showed the readers why she was so mean. You feel for her and end up liking her a bit. Then there's Anna and St. Clair. I've heard that Sarah Dessen likes to give characters from previous books cameos in the next book, but Perkins takes it a step further. She makes Anna and St. Clair (I can't spell his first name for the life of me and I'm not going to try xD) full on side characters! I loved it! When she re-introduced them I couldn't help but smile, even though I knew they were going to be back from reviews I'd seen. They were just as sweet as ever. I loved seeing how their relationship progressed from AATFK, it seemed so natural. I also loved the little references from AATFK, those made me grin wildly. They have their own important roles and connections in Lola's life, and you fall in love with them all over again. Another thing I loved was that even though they were side characters, they didn't take away the spotlight from Lola and Cricket. Then of course there's Lola's boyfriend Max. At first, I saw nothing wrong with him, he seemed decent enough. But as the story goes on you see his glaringly obvious faults. Yes, Lola has faults too, but Max's made him just...ugh. I hated him by the end. I so wanted to smack him across the face and curse him out. I also loved Lola's dads. It's so nice to see an author show a positive and normal gay relationship, no stereotypes whatsoever. I also like how Perkins used Lola to address that in the novel. Andy and Nathan were so loving and protective of Lola, they just wanted what was best for her. I found them endearing and funny. I kind of want them to be my parents. :)

As for the wonderful author, it's official. Stephanie Perkins has been added to my All Time Favorite Authors list. Welcome Stephanie, I will read anything you write, anything! Her writing style is so wonderful and organic. You read the descriptions of San Francisco, and she makes you want to live there, just like she did with Paris. She has this way of creating these characters that elicit deep emotion from you, sometimes emotion you didn't know you had. And one thing, can Perkins write a love interest. Whew! I love Cricket and St. Clair. Where does she get them from? I'd love to interview her one day just to see how she does it. Like I said, Stephanie really sparked my love for Contemporary YA, and I can't thank her enough.

So was this book worthy of the hype? Hells to the yes!! Lola and the Boy Next Door deserved every single solitary piece of hype and buzz it got. It is so wonderful and sweet and romantic and all around fabulous. I can NOT wait to read Isla and the Happily Ever After. 

I'll next be reading A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young. 

Until next time, viva la literature!

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