Lola & The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
4 out of 5 stars
Yay! Another Perkins book! I was so stinking excited to start reading this and it did not disappoint. Okay, just a teeny, tiny bit compared to Anna & The French Kiss, but only because nothing could have been better than that in my opinion. :)
Lola on the cover kind of reminds me of Tibby from the Traveling Pants books. No? Maybe it's just me. Okay, so obviously this is a story about Lola and that guy next door. (What's with the plaid shirt, cover guy?) Lola is a pretty awesome girl. She's way into fashion design and wears outfits that would rival Miss Claudia Kishi in kookyness.
I don't believe in fashion. I believe in costume. Life is too short to be the same person every day.
Lola is 17 years old and lives in San Francisco with her two gay dads. They are super over-protective, especially when it comes to her 22 year old boyfriend, Max. I get that they don't like the age difference, but they seem to be waaaaay on the extreme side of hating it. I liked Max as a character...he put up with her dads' questions/interrogations, he came over for brunch every Sunday, he obeyed her curfew, he was a good guy. There's really no reason for them to be so hard on her about him (as far as they know, spoiler: there was some teenage sex going on whoops!). I guess their only justification is that they don't want her to end up like her mom, who is a drug addict and abandoned Lola when she was little.
So, Lola is happy with her 2 dads (does anyone remember that TV show? My Two Dads? No? I'm dating myself again, aren't I? Darn.) and her rocker boyfriend Max and BFF Lindsey. Until her old neighbors, twins Cricket (male) and Calliope (female) Bell, move back in and everything goes up in flames. I just have to say, I found their names very distracting. I wish she had chosen different ones. Anyway, when the Bells move back, Lola is suddenly reminded of the not-so-distant past crush she had on Cricket and freaks.
As she tries to deal with that and the possibility that Cricket might like her back, we get an honest look into her life. Yes, Lola is selfish at times. She's prone to tantrums, doesn't know what she wants in life (except to be a designer), and she expects to get her way a lot of times. In short, she's a teenager. ;) Cricket is...really cool. I loved Cricket. Not as much as Etienne, but almost. Cricket is an inventor, a descendant of Alexander Graham Bell, a snazzy dresser, a lover, a poet, etc...he's the reason I draw stars on my hand randomly now. *Swoon* He has his flaws too, namely listening to his controlling sister too much.
While I loved the book on the whole, it did have its not so great moments. I feel like the denigration of Max was completely unnecessary. He starts out as this super-boyfriend and then suddenly he's a big ol' rhymes-with-pouche. I agree that Lola needed to figure out her feelings for Max & Cricket, but this was not the way. It kind of made it cheap, if you know what I mean.
I loved that Anna & Etienne were in this one as well. I actually didn't even know they were going to be, so I was completely surprised when I read that first scene with them. However, they were almost sickeningly lovey-dovey throughout most of the book. They didn't seem to have that spark from Anna.
I loved Lola's crazy outfits and the bit of her and Cricket working on her Marie Antoinette costume, although I think maybe her dads should sit down and have a talk with her about why she wants to hide her identity all the time lol. The parts with her mom made me super sad. The part where Cricket crawled into her window and held her hand when she was depressed made me cry. The ending made me sigh in happiness. And also made me really want to read Anna again. Like a lot. Mostly because (I'm ashamed to admit) I don't remember who Isla is and I want to be ready for her book next year. :)