Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door



Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #2 (companion)
Publisher: Penguin
Published: November 29th 2011
Source: Penguin Australia for review

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.

Stephanie Perkins has blown me away yet again. She has an obvious talent for writing exhilarating romances with brilliant characters - I can't wait for more! Dolores Nolan aka Lola is a lover of fashion, letting her uniqueness shine through with her fun and quirky looks which change every day of the week. As a seventeen year old, she has a rocker boyfriend named Max. Thing is…he's twenty two and her gay dads aren't very pleased about it. They'd much rather she fall in love with Cricket Bell, her old best friend who broke her heart a few years ago when he used to live next door. Now that he and his famous twin sister have moved back…will the two rekindle their love for one another or will things prove to be just too difficult?

Like in Anna and the French Kiss, the main character of Lola and the Boy Next Door is trapped in a love triangle, however, the "other guy" isn't in another continent this time. Throughout the novel, Lola suffers from the guilt of having feelings for two boys. Deep down in her heart she knows that Cricket is special but how can she give up the boyfriend she already has and loves? Cricket Bell is awkward, intelligent and super cute. I love that he and Lola were best friends when they were kids! They were each other's first kisses (even though Lola mightn't have had his permission…), made adorable presents for each other and even annoyed his twin, Calliope, with their closeness. It's the kind of innocent and honest relationship we all love to read about. It was frustrating and even a little devastating to see almost everyone and everything getting in the way of their relationship. Boyfriends, friends, meddling sisters, parents…the evil forces of nature….will they ever be left alone? Every day and night they have an unspoken rule to see each other from their opposite facing windows. I lived for these sweet moments as we were able to see them naturally and without their real-life problems! The flashbacks are also to die for. They take us back to a time of happiness, although the anticipation of "the day that changed it all", otherwise known as "the day that Cricket Bell stuffed everything up", makes that sweetness very short-lived and valuable.

One of my favourite things about this novel was the presence of Anna and Etienne from the first. Lola and the Boy Next Door is the companion novel and to see our old favourites so often? Bliss! Their relationship is portrayed as being perfect and effortless, and upon seeing their absolute ease with each other, Lola is determined to find "The One". Despite how much I loved Cricket, Etienne St. Clair will always be my number one. He is my type of guy and the only thing stopping me from stealing him away is his height - did I mention that he's short…shorter than his girlfriend? *gasp* Cricket and Lola compliment each other perfectly though. Lola's the cool to Cricket's geek, the confident to his awkward, the crazy to his normal… The list goes on! At some point, Lola has a bit of an identity crisis. Max sees Lola (her normal self) and Lolita (her dressed-up self) as two different people, so which one is he in love with? Is Lola simply expressing herself or hiding who she really is? Luckily, Cricket steps in to reassure and aid our little princess, and I think you'll like the results. Lola and the Boy Next Door is essentially about change - in yourself and in the relationships which surround you.

If you enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss, this companion novel is sure to please. We were previously granted the story of finding true love for the first time, and now we get to see two people finding each other again after many years of separation! With this comes an intimacy that Perkins ALWAYS gifts us with and she is without a doubt one of the best YA romance writers out there. Impossible to be otherwise, the romance is heartwarming and will have you begging for Isla and the Happily Ever After. Will our two favourite couples appear in it also? We'll have to wait and see! ;)
What did you think? Did you prefer this over Anna and the French Kiss? I know some people preferred this one over the first and then there are others like me who are still loyal to Etienne ;) Do you think Isla will also be connected, and how so? Are you more interested in novels about new love or old love? What are you expecting from Isla and the Happily Ever After? Oh, so many questions!

Find Stephanie on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.
Buy Lola and the Boy Next Door from Amazon, The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.
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