Thursday, 4 September 2014

Lola and the Boy Next Door

Written by: Stephanie Perkins
Published by: Usborne Publishing
Pages: 373
Purchase from: Amazon  Book Depository

I have three simple wishes. The first is to attend the winter formal dressed like Marie Antoinette. The second is for my parents to approve of my boyfriend. And my third wish? To never ever ever see the Bell twins ever again. Ever.
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn't believe in fashion...she believes in costume. The more expensive the outfit - the more sparkly, more wild - the better. And life is pretty close to perfect for Lola, especially with her hot rocker boyfriend.
That is, until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighbourhood and unearth a past of hurt that Lola thought was long buried. So when talented inventor Cricket steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally face up to a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.
Could the boy from Lola's past be the love of her future?

My Rating: 4.5/5

Stephanie Perkins did it again with a cute and brilliant young adult contemporary. Lola was all about childhood loves and everybody has that one person that once they find them, they can't help but fall for. To be perfectly honest I was so excited yet so scared to start this story because I loved Anna and the French Kiss so I has so many high expectations and I was worried Lola would not add up to them. But I had nothing to worry about because Lola was a fantastic adorable read, just like Anna, that dragged me in at the very beginning and didn't let me go until the very last word on the very last page. 
And if I'm the stars, Cricket Bell is entire galaxies.
There was only one problem I had and that was with the main character of Lola. I just could not click with her until probably at the very end when I felt she got less selfish and childish. But because I only started to like her at the end, I went through the whole book arguing with her loyalties and actions, which is why I didn't enjoy the book as much as Anna and the French Kiss. The reason why she felt betrayed by Cricket, I felt, was just really childish and not worth the whole plans for revenge and grudge holding. But that might be because I fell in love with Cricket as soon as he appeared, so I am probably a little biased. He was so exuberant and always there for everybody you just couldn't help but love him a little. I also loved how he didn't see what everyone else saw, he didn't see how loved he was which, to me, made him seem humble and genuine and I just could help but cheer for him and sigh with happiness every time he popped up. Plus his little quirks were just too cute for words. I did love Lola's quirky personality though, with how she looks at life and her ideas on costumes. They were different and they were unique, and they later lead to a really deep coming of age moment for Lola, so I always looked forward to finding out what she would be dressing like today.
I don't believe in fashion. I believe in costume. Life is too short to be same person every day.
Another thing that really stood out for me was how Anna and St Claire was incorporated into the story. It refreshed my memory on how cute they were but it wasn't all about them so they could fade into the background easily. So you wouldn't have to read Anna and the French Kiss first, but it would make their romance sweeter as you would know all about their ups and downs and how in some cases it mirrors Lola's. Perkins has a way that brings in deep and meaningful problems into the lives of the characters but making the story light and adorable, while they also deal with heartache. This is the main reason I love her writing, because while the story if cute and fluffy it is also realistic and meaningful, which you sometimes don't get with young adult contemporary.
Everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is to not make the same mistake twice.
Again this book ticks all the right boxes and it makes you fall in love with the story and the characters all over again. Just like Anna and the French Kiss, you were rooting for the characters to get what they want and overcome their troubles. And Cricket was just total 'aww' worthy brilliance that made you want everything to be perfect and happy and for him to get all that he wanted. All because he was so self-sacrificing and loving to everyone. Both him and Lola felt right for each other and the perfect person for them to be with, so when that actually happened I felt so happy and completely fell in love with the ending. All in all, you fell into the story from the very beginning and you weren't released until the very end. 

Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss #2)