Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
The Skinny: Lola is a little more than upset when the Bells move back in next door – she’s angry. Calliope and Cricket, the Bell twins, have hurt her in more ways than one in the past and Lola hasn’t forgiven, or forgotten, just what they did. Now, two years later, Lola is set on showing them that she’s moved on. Armed with a new boyfriend, Max, and a new attitude, Lola tries to act as though she isn’t still hurt… and that she doesn’t still have feelings for Cricket Bell. But as things begin to change, as Cricket begins to come back into her life, Lola is faced with the truth: she isn’t quite over him.
BFF?: I HEART LOLA! She’s cool and edgy, has a great sense of fashion, and really knows who she is. But underneath it all, underneath all the confidence, she’s still questioning everything. She is unsure about her feelings, what’s real in her life and what’s important. What I loved most about her is that while she definitely marches to her own drummer, she isn’t anti-establishment. She doesn’t poo-poo school events or participating in things. I thought it was a great mix; like she’s not trying to be different just to be different. She’s exactly who she is.
Listenability: I really loved the narrator on this one. She had a great voice and really personified Lola. AND she didn’t try to imitate male voices! I mean, she deepened her voice for them, but didn’t try to do much more than that. It was great! While I had really wanted to read this, I’m glad I got to listen to it. Only downside? My car rides aren’t very long anymore!
Crush Level: 7
Cricket Bell was seriously wonderful. I loved how sweet and loving and caring and, and, and… you get the picture. He was thoughtful and creative, considerate but not a pushover. I’m not usually drawn to nerdy, smart guys – both in real life and in literature – but there was something so completely charming about him that you couldn’t help but get drawn to him. The way he pined for Lola all those years… swoon! Oh, and their first kiss……… wowzers. I’m pretty sure my car windows got a little steamy from it. It was THAT hot!
When I got to the part that introduced Lola’s dads I thought “huh… this is going to be interesting.” But you know what? It really wasn’t. There were VERY few gay stereotype references and overall, Lola’s parents were just that, parents. A couple who is raising a teenager and had just as much trouble as the next couple. I loved them!
Cricket loves inventing things and creates several different things throughout the book. He’s canny enough to create a bridge between his bedroom window and Lola’s. He makes her this cool little star thing. And when they were kids, he made her an elevator for her bookshelf Barbie dream house! Seriously, that’s love.
Calliope Bell is a figure skater and competes all over the country. Y’all, I love the pants off of figure skating. It’s my favorite Olympic sport and I can’t understand why they don’t have it at the Summer Olympics. (shut up, I know because it’s hot) The costumes, the music, the twirls… So fantastic!
Marie Antoinette Dress
One of Lola’s goals is to go to her Winter Formal in a Marie Antoinette dress that she made. I loved seeing this dress being created, from start to finish, and how it looked once complete.
The Return of Anna and St. Clair
Y’all, Anna and St. Clair are BACK! There’s no denying St. Clair is my favorite and I do like him more than Cricket… so it made me all sorts of happy that he (and Anna) was back!
Commencement Speech: Why have I put this one off for so long? Why, why why?! I loved getting to see a different side of this story, started back in Anna and the French Kiss, getting to know a completely different character in Lola. She was great, simply great, and I had a lot of admiration for both her and her story. Like Anna, there is a lot of heart to Lola, the book filled with deeper themes than simply girl meets boy. I loved exploring them, seeing Lola’s reaction to things such as her sexual relationship with Max, her deadbeat and homeless mother returning, heartbreak, her parents – everything was completely honest and realistic. There were so many times I found myself in Lola’s head, nodding at her reactions. Not because I agreed with them but because I’ve reacted the same way. I don’t know if I’d have gotten a different message from reading the book, but listening to it seriously helped to expand Lola’s thoughts and actions, making them all the more real. This was a great follow up to Anna and the French Kiss, but most importantly, it was great all on its own.
Yearbook Quote: “No. You’re delightfully screwy, and I wouldn’t have you any other way.”
Superlatives – Best Costume x1000
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