Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door (ARC)

Lola and the Boy Next DoorLola and the Boy Next Door

Standalone or Series: Standalone, Companion to Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Reading Level and Genre(s): YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Dutton Books
Publication Date: September 29, 2011
Source: ALA Convention
*Note: The text featured in this post is from an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC). Changes may have been made in the final proof.
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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 loved, loved, loved Anna and the French Kiss. So when I heard this one was coming out, I couldn't help but squee a bit and do a little dance. And then when I saw the ARCs sitting there at ALA, I couldn't help but squee a bit more and dance some more. 


Based off of other reviews that I have read, most people actually liked this one EVEN more than Anna. I know, shocking, right? Because you'd think you really can't get much better than Anna and the French Kiss. But. This book fell a little for me. Emphasis on "little." (I only took off half a star, after all.) I think it was the magic of Paris that did it in for me. Sure, it's a little fantastical and unlikely that any of us will ever meet the most perfect, charismatic, and gorgeous American boy with a British accent, but still. I like the element of magic and impossibility in there.


Needless to say, this book was still masterfully written and Stephanie Perkins is absolutely ingenious when it comes to creating romance and boys. She can put in the littlest details that will tug at your heart. For instance, the tattoo of the little boy from Where the Wild Things Are? Max's namesake? Cue the "Awwwwww"s. However, I didn't really like Max from the beginning. The rocker type just isn't really my thing. Plus, it turns out he can be a real jerk.


I knew that Anna and Etienne would make an appearance in Lola, but I had no idea they had such a key part. And I loved it. I hate companions that will mention the name of a major character or two once. Like the The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants companion, 3 Willows? Bleh. Anyways, that's my personal preference. Some people wished they had "stayed in Paris." (Lol.) But seriously? I needed more Etienne. And Ms. Perkins brought him to me. Also, I never knew Etienne was short. Or maybe it just slipped my mind. Either way, LOL. I'm not into short guys. *winces* Attraction level lowered a little bit. (Please don't kill me!)


Okay. Now we should get onto the main character. Lola. Well... I didn't really like Lola. I found her insecure and indecisive. It was really cool she had that big fashion obsession, but then she just threw it away because of one person. She went "emo," according to my notes. (I am strange.) But I love her family and friends. Her parents are super funny (points for a gay couple!), and Lindsey is awesomesauce. Plus she's Asian. And the interesting backstory with Norah, Lola's birth mom makes it really diverse.


And of course, I'm sure you guys want to know about Cricket, Boy #2. You'd think that you would never fall in love with a boy named Cricket, but BAM! Stephanie Perkins has done it again. She's created a totally lovable, extremely sweet, and completely genuine boy that will capture your heart. He's so open to everybody, and it's the most amazing thing. When he first confessed his feelings, I could hear my heart shattering. Ohmigosh. Cry. (See "Quotes/Excerpts" below.) I mentioned the amount of detail that Stephanie puts into her writing, and she put in a lot with Cricket. You want to eat up every bit of him. The blue sugar sprinkles. The rubber bands. The way he shrugs. The way he talks. It's amazing. (I need a new adjective.) Oh and he's awkward. That is the best thing of all.


So all in all, this book will definitely not disappoint you if you loved Anna and the French Kiss. You will fall in love, again and again, with Cricket Bell. It is such a beautiful story that will have you crying and laughing out loud. (Not "lol" laughing out loud. But really laughing out loud!) This book is like eating a blue sugar-sprinkled cookie for each page. It's delicious. Kudos to Stephanie Perkins for being such a wonderful writer, and I seriously cannot wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After.

First Line:

I have three simple wishes.

Quotes/Excerpts:
(I've also done a Teaser Tuesday on it!)


"I can't stop thinking about you, and I'm not the guy I used to be, I've changed-"
     "Cricket-" I look back up, feeling faint.
     His blue eyes are bright. Sincere. Desperate. "Go out with me tonight. Tomorrow night, every ni-" The word cuts off in his throat as he sees something behind me.
     Cigarettes and spearmint. I want to die.
     "This is Max. My boyfriend. Max, this is Cricket Bell."
     Max jerks his head in a small nod. He heard everything, there's no way he didn't.


"Why didn't you guys dress up?" Lindsey asks.
     "We did." Calliope cracks her first smile. "We're dressed as twins."
     Lindsey grins back. "Hmm, I see it now. Fraternal or identical?"
     "You'd be surprised how many people ask," Cricket says.
     "What do you tell them?" Lindsey asks.
     "That I have a penis."
     Oh God. My cheeks burn as they all burst into laughter. Think about something else, Dolores. ANYTHING else. Cucumbers. Bananas. Zucchini. AHHHH! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. I turn my face away from them as Calliope fakes a yakking sound.

Disclaimers: Per the FTC regulations, please note that iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books does receive books for review for free by publishers or authors. For every book reviewed – whether sent by publisher, author or books purchased, it will be graded with a clean and open mind. A free book received will not influence any opinion of the contents of the book.
Spoilers may or may not have been present in this review. While iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books does review honestly, reviews are not specifically checked for spoilers. Attempts at avoiding spoilers are made, but not all are removed or fixed. This disclaimer is a general statement placed on all reviews as a warning to those who read them.

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