Published by Dutton Books on September 29th 2011
Source: Purchased Physical Copy
Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the 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.
I expected very good things from Lola and the Boy Next Door, but I had been waiting so long that I couldn’t bring myself to start reading it when it was finally delivered to my kindle. I was too afraid that all my built up expectations could not be met. When I finally did start reading, it was even better than I could have imagined. It’s one of those books you love to hate because the ending is so fantastic, but still an ending.
Lola has an obsession with costume that would put Claudia from the Babysitter’s club to shame. Living with her two gay dads in San Francisco, she has an older rocker boyfriend, Max, and a fear that Cricket, the boy who broke her heart two years earlier, will move back in next door. Well, obviously, he does and hilarity and heartbreak ensue.
Lola was great. She was funny and spunky and I loved her obsession with costume. Like in Anna and the French Kiss, I was immediately pulled in to Lola’s life on the very first page. Perkins knows how to start a story. She also knows how to tell a story. Lola had all the wonderfulness of Anna and the French Kiss, but it was it’s own story. It was unique and stand alone, but I was so glad Anna and Etienne were in it.
Cricket is adorable and perfect (for Lola) and sweet and I think he may have replaced Marcus Flutie in the number one spot on my list of literary crushes. Not even Etienne did that. I loved Etienne, I loved him for Anna, but I want Cricket for myself (Sorry, Lola).
I realize that this entire review boils down to: I have a literary crush on the boy in this novel, so let me add that all of Perkins’ characters are well-rounded, whole people. Once again, her setting is more than just a place for the story to happen, but a living, breathing world that allows that story to happen and makes it feel real.
Yes, it is a romance with a ton of giggly goodness, but it also deals with real issues–obviously, Lola is adopted, but her mother is a most-of-the-time homeless psychic who is still in her life. Cricket’s sister is a successful figure skater and Perkins’ portrayal of the stress, pressure, and obsession is perfect. Cricket’s entire family revolves around the competitive figure skating world, which often leaves Cricket pushed to the side.
Now there is nothing for me to do, but wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After. If Stephanie Perkins continues growing as a writer (which I expect she will), then it will probably make me spontaneously combust in it’s awesomeness.