Monday, August 15, 2011

Mini-review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: September 29th, 2011
Source: A friend got this for me at ALA. Thank you, Kari!

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. [from goodreads]
Since falling in love with Stephanie Perkins' debut, I had high hopes for Lola and the Boy Next Door. I was expecting to be blown away, but unfortunately, I wasn't.

And it's not because this book isn't readable. It was actually a very quick read for me but as I turned to the last page to read the last words uttered by Lola, I wasn't left with that magical feeling that I felt with Anna. Lola just didn't have the spark that its predecessor did. I think it mostly had to do with the relationship between Cricket and Lola. Cricket, I liked. He was a sweet, awkward and geeky character and there were no problems with him; I even liked Lola--it took me a little longer to warm up to her than Anna but I still enjoyed her character and the overall transformation she went through. What I wasn't completely sold on was Cricket's devotion to Lola. Was it sweet? Yes. But I just didn't understand why he was so enraptured by her. I didn't completely buy his passionate, I-could-never-forget-you devotion to Lola and since that is the great motivator for this story, well.... I just couldn't get into it.

Final Verdict: I'm bummed that I didn't love this book as much as I thought I would but I'd still recommend  it. I didn't realize it but as I was reading Lola, I realized that I had this fear that Stephanie Perkins wouldn't be able to write another female character that wasn't similar to Anna. But Perkins proved me wrong: Lola and her story are completely different in tone and meaning from Anna's and there was a more fully developed cast of characters in this story. Lola's two fathers, Andy and Nathan, and Lola's biological mother Norah gave the story a little more emotional depth which I appreciated and of course, Anna and St. Clair show up! I enjoyed seeing them happily in love and without any major issues. :)

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