I feel like this book should come with a warning and it should be in large, neon letters that blink continuously and say:
WARNING! After reading Lola, you will be incoherent (that’s if you can speak at all) and have a far off dreamy look in your eyes whilst the rest of the world is screaming your name but you...alas...cannot hear them. There is no data on how long these side effects will last.
Yes. You WILL look like this...
Let’s get something straight, right off the bat. Stephanie Perkins knows how to write a damn good story. She did it with Anna and the French Kiss and she’s done it again with the companion book Lola and the Boy Next Door. I’m not entirely sure how she manages to do this but I’m hoping one day she will share her secrets with me. And yes, I realise that this is wishful thinking but what can I say? I’m an optimist. Whereas Anna for me was a cosy book, Lola is definitely a cute book that is dripping in gorgeousness. If Lola and the Boy Next Door were a costume, it would be a classy Cinderella gown littered with glitter, sparkly sequins and shiny pearls. The kind of dress that leaves you awestruck (please refer back to the opening statement for more details).
Here’s the synopsis:
“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 neighbourhood.
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.”
Lola and the Boy Next Door is a character driven novel and so I’m going to start with one of the main characters – Lola. I have to say that I have a certain amount of admiration for this girl. At her age, I would NEVER have had the gall to dress up in the ensembles she puts together on a daily basis. I love the idea of the wigs though and I can’t decide whether she is brave for putting herself out there to be ridiculed or whether she just doesn’t care. Actually, that’s not true because now I’ve finished the book, I know exactly why she does what she does but I want you to come to that realisation on your own because of course you’re going to read the book after this, right?! I do love her artistic spirit though and if there is one thing I would love to be able to do, it’s make my own clothes – I can only just about sew on a button! Not only is Lola amazing but she has two amazing gay dads and an unfortunate deadbeat mother who turns up when she needs bailing out of whatever mess she’s gotten herself into this time. I loved the fact that the dads were an ever present force in her life and not just family members that meld into the background. I also need to drop in at this point that Lola’s best friend Lindsay has the most fabulous name ever....just so you know ;)
The “boy next door” mentioned in the title is of course Cricket and what I love most about him is that he is the personification of a nice guy and HE PROVES without a shadow of a doubt that nice guys DO get the girl. This might sound like a spoiler to you but let’s be honest here, you’re smart enough to know what’s going to happen but you DONT CARE that you know, you just know that you WANT IT to happen. I mean, I like a bad boy as much as the next girl but nice guys melt my heart into a puddle on the floor. Cricket is endearingly awkward at times but incredibly sincere and he might be a bit geeky but the fact that he invents things is actually really cool and shows that he’s smart. And the late night chats across the facing bedroom windows? ADORABLE.
I think you can gather by now that I absolutely loved this book and Stephanie Perkins is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. I’m planning on pre-ordering Isla and the Happily Ever After (the next companion book) as soon as it’s available and you can guarantee that I will read anything that Stephanie writes from now on. Just one last thing about Lola...if your heart doesn’t melt after reading this book, then there is something seriously wrong with you.
Lola and the Boy Next Door was published on 29th September, 2011. Isla and the Happily Ever After will be published sometime next year. I know you may find this shockingly outrageous (as I do) but there is as of yet NO UK PUBLISHER and there totally should be. If you want to find out more about Stephanie Perkins and her gorgeous books, click here to visit her website. She is also active on Twitter.