[descriptions from goodreads]
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.
I was (and still am) absolutely obsessed with Stephanie Perkins' debut novel, Anna and the French Kiss, when it came out last year. I was unbelievably excited to read this companion novel, but also nervous, because I thought there was no way that it would ever live up to the brilliance that is Anna and the French Kiss. But it did. It so did.
I'll do my best to keep the comparisons to Anna out of this review, because I have a feeling that this book is going to be compared to its companion a lot, which isn't fair, because it definitely stands on its own. It's a bit obvious where it's going to go, even just based on the summary, but do I care? Heck no. The two love interests, Lola and Cricket, are so fantastic that I would read a book comprised of them walking down a sidewalk and still love it like it's my job. I'm sure Lola's quirky personality and penchant for lying will alienate her from some, but I still loved her. Her amusing clothes, her humor, her snark, her loyalty to her friends, and oh so much more all made me love reading her equally fun and amusing narration. I also loved her leading man, Cricket. It's so great to read about how they try to get over their past heartaches and mistakes in order to try to get along with each other. It doesn't hurt that Cricket himself is so lovable on his own; he is delightfully awkward, smart, and just plain adorable. I want to give him a hug.
Lola and Cricket are such a great pair that they could carry this book on their own, but luckily, they don't have to, thanks to the equally fantastic supporting cast. Each of the characters in this book stand out in different ways, which makes it so fun to read. For example, Lola has two gay dads, but her birth mom is also still in and out of the picture as well. This makes for some wonderful family dynamics that add even more angst for Lola to deal with, and I don't know about you, but I definitely like reading about other people's angst. I also loved seeing Lola deal with her boyfriend Max, because even though he is often a moron, he really isn't all bad. It's not easy to hate him, even with the amazing Cricket running around, which makes the romance of this book even more intense. If there was one person I did not like as much, it was Calliope, Cricket's sister, because she had her own past with Lola and yet appeared so little that I had difficulty understanding her personality and her feelings about Lola.
And I cannot resist saying: Anna and the French Kiss fans? You are definitely going to want to read this one, because you will be more than pleasantly surprised by some of Lola's friends.
Whether you loved Anna and the French Kiss or not, you should definitely give Lola and the Boy Next Door a chance. It's funny, sweet, and has one of the best cast of characters. I laughed, I cried (literally, I sobbed throughout the last chapter. I am a weakling.), and I fell in love with Stephanie Perkins' writing all over again.
Book details: Dutton/Hardcover/$16.99
Source: borrowed from a friend