Sunday, 29 September 2013

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and The Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 1st October 2011
Source: Library
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Description: 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 neighbourhood. 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.

Lola and The Boy Next Door was a cute fun read with a one of a kind protagonist and a loving childhood romance.  With unique characters, a quaint setting and plenty of romantic tension it was the perfect book for the mood I was in. This was my first book by Stephanie Perkins. Having heard so much about her contemporary stories, I was looking forward to a great read. Although this book was enjoyable, it didn’t capture my attention like I expected it to. Lola and the Boy Next Door is not just a sweet romantic fare. In actuality it’s about a young lady growing up and figuring out not only who she is but also what she wants.

Perkins has a great voice. Her writing is very easy to get into with heaps of humour, sarcasm and emotion. Lola has always been in love with her next-door neighbour Cricket. However circumstances bring their budding friendship to a stop.  Years later, Cricket returns and now Lola has to confront the unresolved feelings she has for the boy next door. However Cricket is not the only problem Lola has to deal with. There is plenty of family drama, boyfriend trouble and an identity crisis.

When we first meet Lola she is in a good place. She has a boyfriend she loves, good friends and plenty of individuality.  Her only problem is the fact that her dads hate her boyfriend. Crickets reappearance complicates her life and forces her to figure out what she wants. Lola was a complicated character. She had a lot to figure out and made a lot of mistakes especially regarding her older boyfriend Max. I didn’t enjoy how she kept lying about her relationship with Cricket and the way she kept blurring the lines of friendship with him, despite being in another relationship. Perkins incorporates great character development and despite all of her mistakes Lola learns a valuable lesson about who she is and who is the right person for her. She learns from her mistakes and goes to great lengths to earn back the trust that she lost. She develops into a stronger individual by the end.

Lola was a very quirky, interesting individual. I loved her sense of fashion and style.  Her clothes were also a great symbol for her changes and reflected how she felt. Her outfits made up a quintessential part of her personality.  Perkins also writes great family relationships.  Lola’s dads clearly support her and love her despite all of her rebellious acts.  They are always there for her. Her friends also offer her great advice and look out for her, especially St Clair and Lindsey.

Cricket was also quirky in his own way. An inventor with his own unique sense of style. Cricket also has his own family drama to deal with and learns a few lessons of his own. He was a great romantic interest and you can see the love and devotion he has for Lola.  Their relationship was compelling because they understood each other including all their quirks and faults. They also brought out the best in each other. They had great chemistry. We only get to see them together at the end and I wanted to know more of their story as a couple.

Lola and the Boy Next Door is a fun read with quirky characters, a sweet childhood romance and heaps of emotion. Overall it was a good contemporary read about figuring out what you want.

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