Written by: Stephanie Perkins
Published By: Dutton Juvenille, 384 pages
Publish date: September 29, 2011
Ok – now to the important stuff – how awesome the book was! First I have to start with – how in the world did 2 years go by without me knowing and reading this book?? Where have I been?? So, without further ado, let’s get to the review!
If you are familiar with my blogs, I have a typical format, I use a summary from GoodReads, include my overall thoughts, then my thoughts on the characters and relationships, my thoughts on the writing/flow of the book and maybe comparison to other works by same writer, an overall review, and then last (but not least) my favorite quotes ( I love quotes!) – so I hope you enjoy!
1. Summary – Provided by Goodreads:
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.
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
2. What I thought:
The first thing that comes to mind after reading this book was….Awesome! And again, how did I not know about this for 2 years nearly? Ok – seriously. I really enjoyed the books. After reading “Anna and the French Kiss” I expected something light and fun and romantic – with awesome characters you came to adore. But with this book, for me personally, I got so much more. The story first of all was deeper, more emotional, so natually heaver – but I do not think it was in a bad way, just a different way and I enjoyed seeing Stephanie’s writing in this way. To be honest, the new depth made me love the characters and bond to them even more. I enjoyed the fact that Lola had 2 dads and lived in a unique family situation, I loved she lived in San Francisco. I enjoyed that her life was something I could see anyone living. While I loved Anna, seeing yourself living in Paris isn’t a reality for that many of us, but Lola’s situation is and that made it more relatable for me. It really had me sold in the first few pages. Lola really drew me in. In the first scene when she’s at work and up pops Anna and St. Clair you know I did a squeel and dance of joy – I hadn’t realized how much I missed them and even though they played small parts, they were awesome and important parts and I loved seeing how their loved had grown even since the last book – loved seeing their happy ending! I thought the storyline was great, and I loved slowly watching the relationship build against all odds of everything else going around. I’ll include the quote below – but when he gave her the gift in the last chapter — SWOON, my heart was palpating for her — how sweet. She was the moon to him!! Cricket Bell stole a piece of my heart withi his easy nature and inherent goodness – so move over Edward Cullen – there’s a new guy in town..haha. But seriously, the story was great, I couldn’t put it down. I loved the edge, the sadness, the fun, and all the other inbetween parts that made it real, made the characters real. So – now on to the characters…
I have been lucky to read about some amazing characters lately, so I guess you could say i’m on a awesome character run? Either way, i’m on a roll.. And these guys are a great addition. Of course Anna and St. Clair were already on there – and while I loved their light story and the easy love they shared, Lola and Cricket took a larger part of my heart with their deep story and the unknown parts that left me wondering at night between pages. I loved both of the characters in their own way and wanted them to get together sooo badly.. I was inhaling the last time he showed up in the window – not even breathing until I realized what was going on and then I cried.. a grown woman crying, but the tears were well deserved! Anna in the first book was quiet and funny, I loved her spunk and honesty. I loved St. Clair’s humor and innate goodness and caring for others. In this book, I loved Lola from the very first page. I thought her wardrobe choices were brave and daring – at that age being who you feel lke you should be is a huge step and takes a lot of strength not to conform to the masses, so that made me love her all the more. Lola is the girl you see at the mall doing her own thing and being awesome and confident, the girl you wish were your best friend, or that you could just have in your life to share some of her strength and awesomeness. As comfortable as she was in her own skin, you saw her grow even more so through this story- Max played a role – in the end I’m sure you would agree you wanted to physically hurt him, but she made her learn about herself and I won’t steal the thunder if you haven’t read it yet, but let’s just say he plays an important role in her journey to Cricket and in the end it makes it all the better. She learns to balance the all costume Lola with Lola who wears cool clothes that fit her every personality and brighten the world. Then enters Cricket Bell..how hot? Cute, smart, well very smart..caring, gentle and absolutely in love with Lola. The looks he shares, the moments out the window – the gift at the end of the book says it all. If there were any two characters meant for each other it’s these two – I love that he loves Lola just for her, not for the dress up Lola or the undressed Lola, he loves her in all her forms..and that is a hard thing to find in this world and espeically at that age. So Cricket – you are awesome. I also loved the dynamics between Lola’s Dads – to see how much they loved her and ho much they would do with her. Seeing the situation with her Mom made the story real, and in the end I enjoyed the little bonding she did with her – filling that void in her life. As far as Calliopee – I loved seeing Cricket with her and how he loved his sister, family is important and any guy wantable should realize that — I do wish we could see more of her and for her – i am still crossing my fingers we will see a next book from the Olympics where the whole gang goes and maybe even seeing Calliopee getting a little romance herself – Stephanie if you’re listening – PLEASE! I am not done with these characters yet! The last thing I’ll say about Lola is the one bad a** moment in the book, the costume she designs for Calliopee – she showed her and her Mom how wonderful she really was, and she did it for Cricket – that was a pretty awesome moment for her. I really loved these characters and I missed them as the last pages wound down. The last chapter and a half were hot and all I wanted to see between the two characters, but I can stand and would still love much more of the gush!! Thank you Stephanie for writing such a wonderful story!
4. The Writing:
I won’t go on and on here – i know I have already. I just wanted to say that I love Stephanie Perkins’ writing. While Anna was light and funny, I saw this book with more depth and a better connection to the characters, but as always the writing was effortless and flawless. There were no gaps or blank spots where things just skipped from one section to the next – every bit was well thought through for the best experience for the reader. Lately, i have read a few books that were written choppy, without the best interluds and I didn’t worry about that here at all – this book was beautifully written.
5. Overall Review:
Now – I’m not any huge reviewer – but here’s my two cents…
I give “Lola and the Boy Next Door” 5 out of 5 Sunshines in my book! Check it out! It’s a definite keeper and a re-reader! While I do wish we had seen a teeny bit more of Anna and St. Clair – i was entranced by Lola and Cricket’s story and I cannot imagine anyone not being pulled in to their world – I sincerely hope this is not the end of their story!
My Favorite Quotes:
“So do you believe in second chances?” I bite my lip.
“Second, third, fourth. Whatever it takes. However long it takes. If the person is right,” he adds.
“If the person is… Lola?”
This time, he holds my gaze. “Only if the other person is Cricket.”
“And I hold my head high toward my big entrance, hand in hand with the boy who gave me the moon and the stars.”
- Top Ten Tuesday – Travel! (bookgirlfromsouthcarolina.wordpress.com)