Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Dutton Books
Obtained: From Library
Summary: 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.
The Dish: There's a reason why young adult contemporary novels are my go-to books when there is a break in my reading pattern. YA contemporaries are light, generally funny, and readers just can't help becoming captured by the story. Lola and the Boy Next Door definitely encompasses all of these traits and more, and I can totally see why so many readers adore Stephanie Perkins' writing style and characters.
Lola is one of the most free-spirited characters readers will find in a book, and I can relate to her whimsical way of creating because I am a costumer as well (though I don't do it on a daily basis like Lola). She's also hardworking, a dutiful daughter, and a good best friend. So I was rather dismayed to see her make such poor decisions when it seemed the going was getting rough whether it was with her boyfriend, her birth mother, and especially with Calliope and Cricket. It's tough being a teenager so her reckless actions are justifiable... while also being selfish. But she does manage to stay true to herself as she overcomes these stresses in her life.
I adored Cricket, his devotion to his family, especially his twin sister (even if she was a pain at times), his constant tinkering with mechanical devices, and his loyalty to Lola even when she didn't want a relationship with him. He is just an overall nice guy that readers can't help but fall for, and I really want to smack the person who coined the phrase "Nice guys finish last." Especially when you have an exhibit B like Lola's rocker boyfriend, Max. This guy puts up with having Sunday brunch with Lola's two fathers, her ever-changing style, among other things. I'm sorry, you don't "put up with" things that mean something to the girl you're supposed to care about. He's bad news in a bad world, and no one should put up with that.
The story itself was cute and definitely heart-warming as Lola tries to sort through her jumbled feelings about so much in her life. There were a few places in the book where I really wanted certain conflicts to be wrapped up a bit sooner than they were, but these things cannot be rushed. Perkins certainly knows how to draw out a conflict, but she also knows how to wrap it up and give proper closure. With such a cavalcade of quirky characters, readers will constantly smile while enjoying Lola and the Boy Next Door.