Lola and the Boy Next Door
by Stephanie Perkins
Naturally, I read Lola and the Boy Next Door because it is part of a three book series by Stephanie Perkins, and I loved the first book, Anna and the French Kiss. I actually loved Lola more. It was incredible. Perkins creates such a dynamic love story that is interesting, filled with conflict, but absolutely beautiful and endearing. Her characters are relatable, even in their quirks, and I got totally swept away (I read this one cover to cover from 10:30-2:30 one night). I can’t say enough good things about the characters, plot, and romance.
Lola is a high school student in San Francisco who loves to sew and dress in elaborate costumes. She is crazy for her rock star boyfriend, Max, and incredibly nervous about who is moving next door. She is hoping beyond hope that it’s not the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, moving back to town. Calliope is a protege ice skater, so their family moves around a lot, and Cricket broke her heart two years ago when she was 15. They had a great friendship that seemed to be something more, but then Cricket moved away without even saying goodbye. Lola was (and maybe still is) heartbroken, but has moved on and is now quite happy with her boyfriend. Sadly for Lola, it is indeed the Bell twins moving back into their house next door and Lola is crushed, as well as crazy nervous to run into Cricket. Soon enough their paths cross and it is hard not to fall back into friendship. What makes matters worse is that Lola’s dads both dislike Max, but love Cricket. Lola battles increasing feelings for Cricket, which are exacerbated when he tells her he is crazy about her, never should have left her hanging two years ago, and wants to be with her badly. Lola is torn because she does still have feelings for Cricket, but she is also very happy with Max. Spoilers: as time moves on, Max becomes increasingly distant to Lola. He travels with his band a lot and he suspects something is up. Lola is spending more time with Cricket because she enjoys his company, but it’s getting harder to deny how she really feels and Cricket doesn’t want to compromise her and it’s getting harder for him to resist. Finally, the truth comes out. Lola and Cricket figure out that Calliope sabotaged their relationship years ago and Lola realizes that she can’t live without Cricket. She goes to Max and they have a horrible breakup with Max saying terrible things. Lola realizes that he’s not a nice guy, but is still heartbroken, and she doesn’t feel worthy of Cricket, so she keeps her distance and looses sight of herself for a while, trying to be “good” and “worthy” and “better.” Ultimately, she realizes that she loves Cricket and she wants to be with him and he is more than ready to be with her. By now it’s almost time for the winter formal (that Lola has been painstakingly making a Marie Antoinette dress for), and for Calliope’s big skating competition, which Cricket will be going to (sadly he won’t be able to go to the winter formal). The weekend arrives and Calliope rushes to Lola because her dress has gotten torn by her niece. She is distraught and Lola is the only one who can help. Lola agrees to make a new dress for Calliope (who has recently apologized and given her blessing to Lola and Cricket), and after she finishes and they leave, she gets ready for her formal. She puts together her costume, but is upset because it’s too costumey and not Lola enough. In her frustration she ruins her wig, but then who should appear to help: Cricket! He came back to surprise her so she didn’t have to go to the formal alone, and because his sister is a skater he knows how to fix hair, which he quickly does for Lola. Soon they are wrapped in a passionate embrace and share how they have always loved each other. Then they go off to the dance. Such a perfect ending! Anna and later Étienne, work at the same movie theater Lola does and Étienne and Cricket go to the same school. There’s a nice dynamic with them throughout the book, which was so lovely after finishing Anna.
Summing it up: this book was romantic, sweet, and perfect. I loved every second and I highly recommend it!
All the best, Abbey