Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lola and the Boy Next Door

Lola Nolan has an outrageous and daring style, wearing different colorful costumes every single day. She's cheerful, effervescent, and devoted to her family. Her two dads aren't thrilled that her boyfriend Max is older and kind of a bad boy. Plus he's in a band. Her parents put a lot of restrictions on her like making her call in every hour when they are out, as if that would keep her out of trouble. Lola is pretty happy with her life the way  it is despite her overbearing dads. Her immediate goal is to make a super ornate Marie Antoinette gown to go to the winter formal with Max. Then a big complication enters her life: the Bell twins move in next door. They used to live there years before and both twins made her life hell. Calliope hates Lola and is mean to her at every turn. Her twin Cricket was her first love and he broke her heart when he led her on and moved away suddenly. Now those complicated feelings are back and Lola doesn't know what to do.

I normally don't read a lot of contemporary teen fiction and especially not ones solely centered around romance. Romance is usually good in the periphery for me and I usually hate it when it overtakes a story. I was introduced to Stephanie Perkins through Misty's review of Anna and the French Kiss at The Book Rat. She had the same misgivings as I had and she loved it. Of course I had to give it a try. I absolutely loved it and I had to read Lola and the Boy Next Door. Stephanie Perkins has this magical ability to capture the feeling of first teen love. With any other author and characters I would be rolling my eyes and being annoyed at , but she taps into those teenage feelings in me. I can't pinpoint exactly what it is, but I was on the emotional rollercoaster right with Cricket and Lola. I also thought this novel was a little more complex and deeper than Anna and the French Kiss, but Anna and St. Clair are added bonus characters in this novel as well.

Lola and Cricket are both amazing characters. The first thing I thought when I heard Lola's name was Lolita from the Nabokov novel and it was totally mentioned in the first few pages. That just made me book nerd out a bit because I never would have expected that in a teen book. Anyway, back to Lola, I liked that the novel was about more than just romance. It was about Lola finding out who she really is. Do her clothing and makeup change who she is? Is she hiding behind them? Cricket is also a wonderful character with his own set of problems, mostly involving his family. I found him endearing and far superior to Max. He is his own person outside of his relationship with Lola, which I think is important. Creepy co-dependent relationships run rampant in YA fiction and it's nice to see a healthy relationship for once.

I loved Lola and the Boy Next Door. I surprisingly and thoroughly enjoyed a contemporary romantic comedy teen novel. It plucked at my heartstrings and made me giggle like a fool. I can't wait to read her next book, Isla and the Happily Ever After. I recommend this to all YA readers, even if you think it's not your type of book.

My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins

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