Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins | Book Review + Discussion

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publication: July 9th 2013 by Speak
Format: Paperback, 338 pages
Source: Personal Purchase from National Bookstore
Plot in a Nutshell:
Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the negihborhood. 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.
-Synopsis from Goodreads

Thoughts in General:
If you have been following my blog you know that I really enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss and I truly went ahead and read Lola and the Boy Next Door with high expectations. I will say that I enjoyed reading Lola's story, however, I do have some qualms about it. The characters were incredibly written, the pacing was good, but the thing that bothered me was the storyline of the book and, truth be told, I had issues with the protagonist (I will definitely discuss it in full with spoilers, on my Thoughts in Detail). This didn't stop me from being stupidly happy and giddy, though. Just like her first book, Stephanie Perkins delivered another charming novel that was just highly addicting. 

Thoughts in Detail (CONTAIN SPOILERS + DISCUSSION):
Character/s
Lola and The Boy Next Door is told from the First Person POV of Lola Nolan, who is a budding costume designer that had some problems in the matters of the heart. At first, I really liked her character very much. She kinda reminded me of Lady Gaga because of the weird outfits she wore and her I-don't-need-your-approval attitude. I liked how creative and sassy she was, especially when she started that Marie Antoinette costume, but the thing that really pissed me off about her, was her decision-making skills. She makes the dumbest relationship decisions ever in the entire book. Seriously, I had moments that I wanted to give her a wake-up call. Also, I am so happy that everyone in the freaking book agreed with me with the fact, that she was head-over-heels in love with her next door neighbor, Cricket Bell, from the moment he returned back to her life. Don't get me wrong, Lola is a unique and definitely gusty character that I really enjoyed and her character development was good.

Cricket was a character that really confused me because I didn't know if I liked or disliked him. His wacky inventive side and the way he write things on the back of her hands, made him real and quirky to me. He is also the epitome of a gentleman (Cricket is the type of guy you would want your daughter to date). However, the thing that really bothered me about him, was that he felt too attached to Lola. He would say things that made things so complicated for our main character (I know that is the whole point of the book, but it still bothered me). I guess they were both so clingy to each other, even though it's kind of inappropriate at certain moments (I am so thankful Lola's parents and Cricket's twin, pointed it out to her). And don't get me started with the sexual tension between these two. It was so thick you could cut it with a knife. In a weird way, Cricket redeemed himself but I still am not 100% on his team.

I really enjoyed how real Andy and Nathan were written. If you read YA novels, you know that parents don't make that much of an appearance in the lives of our heroes and heroines. However, Lola's gay parents were really involved in her life and in the book's story. They felt like real overprotective fathers that were loving and caring for their one-and-only daughter. Even though Lola made some huge mistakes, they were there to be both parents (that gave punishments) and confidants. They were just a breath of fresh air.

Lindsey, Lola's bestfriend, was my favorite character in this book. A budding detective that had been influenced by the wonders of Nancy Drew (she had me at that), Lindsey was a good friend. Aside from her love of the world's greatest girl detective, she was frank and really observant. I wished that she showed up more in the book.

I wasn't fond of Calliope, Cricket's famous Olympic skater twin sister, at the beginning. She was mean and incredibly bitchy (yes, I said it). However, she grew on me when she needed Lola's help and she started to explain stuff to her. I realized that she was just looking out for her brother and I understood where she came from.

I wasn't expecting a big role for Anna and Etienne (heck I didn't even know they were going to be part of it at all) in this book and I was so happy that they were really part of Lola's story. Being able to see their relationship grow was a really nice touch. They were both sweet and true to their characters which made me really satisfied.

Norah, Lola's birth mother, was an interesting character. Lola had every right to her hate her, I did see that. But near the end of the book, I was really happy with how things ended up between the mother-daughter duo. Stephanie Perkins has a talent in patching and wrapping things up in her books.

Then we have Max. Oh Max... Where do I start? Okay, I want to say that I didn't like him from the get-go. Never had, never will. He just felt fake to me and I just did not like his overall attitude. He was part of the reason why I was annoyed with Lola, because there were so many signs that proved he wasn't worth anyone's time. The biggest thing he did that really made me despised him, was in CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR. That chapter was the best thing in the entire book.

Story
The story of the Lola and The Boy Next Door, in my opinion, was the reverse of Anna and The French Kiss. Our protagonist was the one caught right in the middle between a love triangle. Although I didn't agree with some of Lola's choices, Max annoyed the heck out of me and there were some scenes with Cricket that just made me squirm (you know, when their minds were saying "No" but their bodies where saying "Yes" scenes), I am still happy with how things worked out. Then we have the parental storyline which was my personal favorite. As I said, Lola and her parents were written really well and the way they interacted with each other was just magic. I had a lot of fun reading this book and it made me totally excited for Isla and The Happily Ever After.

Rating:
I give Lola and The Boy Next Door a...
 I am satisfied with how Stephanie Perkins crafted the story and how everything turned out in the end. 

Have you read Lola's story? How did you feel about it? Share your thoughts, opinions and reactions to my post by commenting down below!

Happy Reading,

6 comments:

  1. I also had issues with Lola, but I still enjoyed reading this book. :) I liked Anna and the French Kiss better though. And I am just so excited for the release of Isla and the Happily Ever After. :D

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    1. Me too! I am just intrigued with Isla's story! From the small blurb at the back of the books, I can gather that it is going to be a little sadder compared to the other two. :D

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  2. Thanks for the review. I've heard a lot about this book, as well as Anna and the French Kiss...mostly good things! Glad to see you enjoyed it too. I haven't read Lola and the Boy Next Door, but it sounds fun. I also love when YA authors realistically portray the protagonist's relationship to their parents.

    C @ ahavenforreaders.blogspot.com

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    1. I know right! Parents seems to be an enigma in some YA novels and I am really glad that this book made it shine. I also love the diversity in the book! :D

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  3. I love Stephanie Perkins. I reread Anna and the French Kiss countless times and it just gets better every time. But like you, I also had reservations with Lola and the Boy Next Door. I was simply too weirded out by Cricket and Lola that it took me a while to get attached to them. Their chemistry was undeniable though. I definitely liked Anna and the French Kiss better but Lola and the Boy Next Door is good too as far as SP novels go.

    PS. I cannot freaking wait to see her in Jul 6. Eeeep!

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    1. Yes! Lola and Cricket's relationship was sorta messed up! I am so excited to see her in person too! :D

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Thank you very much for commenting, I highly appreciate it! :)

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