Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
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.
As with any other sophomore book, it is quite inevitable that I compared it to the first one. So, I am going to go ahead and say that I liked this better than Anna and the French Kiss. I think it is just a matter of preference really because it still has those campy, dramatic and improbable moments/scenes but....
Plotwise, I like the idea of the protagonists being childhood friends there is something sweetly nostalgic about it. I liked the unraveling of the mystery of their falling out back when they were younger. I also like their respective family dramas more than I did with Anna and the French Kiss. The idea of having gay fathers and having an alcoholic mess of a birth mother and the complications that these things brought into Lola's life was a delightful read. Cricket on the other hand, has neglect issues, because his family's life seem to just revolve around the career of his beautiful, a-type, Lola-hating, figure skating twin sister, Calliope. It was all about competitions and training. Anything concerning Cricket is secondary. BUT, I did have an issue with Lola's rocker boyfriend, Max. I just thought the personality change in him seemed kind of forced, just so the story could move towards the favorable direction.
The characters I love more as well because they are more unconventional. Lola loves dressing up and is almost always wearing one outrageous costume (wigs and make-up and all) after another. Cricket is not your usual standard cocky charming handsome lead but instead he's an unusually tall science geek who dresses really good. Even the best friend, Lindsey, and her penchant for Nancy Drews and Mysteries and Red Chuck Taylors, was quite an adorably quirky character. And I also have never come across a tea-leaf reader/fortune teller, alcoholic mom.
I mentioned in my review of Anna and the French kiss that I enjoyed the inclusion of little historical facts and I am pleased there is still a history tidbit in this second book particularly about Alexander Graham Bell. (which I will now Google for confirmation.) :)
Overall, I think I had a much more memorable reading experience with this one than Anna for the reasons mentioned above. It still has the trademark Stephanie Perkins of being a fun, adorable, and swoon-worthy Contemporary YA read. I wasn't at all disappointed and I am now even more excited for the third book: Isla and the Happily Ever After.