Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: September 19th (US), October 3rd (AU)
Publisher: Penguin
Add it: 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.
OH SWOON. That was me when I got this in the mail, me at the end of every page, every sentence, every word and that's still me now, contemplating whether blackmail or kidnapping is the best way to get my hands on a copy of Isla and the Happily Ever After.

I'm not the kind of girl who is even remotely interested in fashion, yet despite the fact that I really had no idea who some of Lola's inspirations were, I loved her outrageous styles and discovering what new costume she would greet the world with today. She loves to be different and experiment. She's not trying to set a trend, she's making statements. Who she is and what she believes in. Her personality and mood shine through what she wears. She's such an likable, eccentric, bold character and yet she's still susceptible to all that confusion and uncertainty and vulnerability that comes along with being a teenager and that's what helps makes her so, so endearing.

And then we have our swoony male lead. Holy Hell, Cricket Bell. He is so ADORABLE. He talks fast and stumbles over his words when he's nervous and he's tall and wears jeans too small and writes mystery words on his hand and oh my gosh, I love everything about that beautiful geeky boy! He's a genius inventor - put anything in front of him and he'll no doubt turn it into some hugely complicated contraption that performs a simple task. Every single thing about him is just so goddamn cute. He's very open about his feelings for Lola early on, but he doesn't push himself on her. He acknowledges the fact that she has a boyfriend (though certainly doesn't love the idea). He still wants to be apart of her life, but there is no denying every single moment they share together is intensified tenfold with that yearning for something more.

You can see how much care and thought that goes into making these personalities shine. They're quirky and funny and flawed, made all the more perfect because of their imperfections. Lola's two dads are possibly my favourite set of parents in YA. The love and support and affection is so clear and abundant, yet they still set fair rules and boundaries. It felt so realistic and really something we don't see an awful lot of in YA these days. Plus they're super funny and adorable. Adorable really is the best word to sum up so much of this novel.

Stephanie's novels are a whole new level of sexy. They aren't full of over-eager hands and tongues -  it's the fact that they're NOT, that turns readers a nasty shade of violet from holding their breath so long in anticipation. It's the sexual tension and build-up to that long-awaited kiss you know won't arrive until the very end, that has you burying your face in the book every five minutes to giggle happily, your cheeks cracking open from grinning too hard.

While I admit Anna and the French Kiss is still my favourite (Blame Paris. And that Thanksgiving scene), Lola delivers everything fans could wish for. You can't really compare them though, because they are both so AMAZING and different in such wonderful ways. Lola and the Boy Next Door is a beautiful novel that will set your heart aflutter even long after you finish reading. Stephanie proves that a little thing called love exists and it's right here, bundled up in 338 pages of sweet, smart, sexy and sensual. You'll laugh, you'll smile, you'll squee, you'll ache and you'll close this book feeling enlightened, inspired and so gleefully happy.

Also: Etienne St. Clair and Cricket Bell in the same book? Sharing the same scenes? Yes, heaven really does exist.

 5/5 Golden Apples!

16 comments:

  1. DYING! This review is amazing, and I love it. Cricket sounds overly adorable. Cricket and Etienne in the same book, on the same page, sharing scenes??! Um, I might die from reading this book.

    I can't wait to meet Lola, Cricket, and the rest when it's released.

    Thank you for making the wait even more horrible! haha.

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  2. Obviously I am not the only one who needs to be told: YOU CAN'T HAVE CRICKET EITHER. Shesh, girl he is MINE. I will wrap him up and tuck him away in the place where my fantasy is alive and well to enchant me and ahem him. Such a Cute Science/Smexy/Geek 'sigh' hahah =D

    Awesome Review Girl!! As usual you outdo yourself with Awesomeness!! =D

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  3. Awesome review Brodie! But be warned: Cricket is mine, mine, MINE! While Anna and the French Kiss remains my ultimate favourite Perkins book, but Lola and the Boy Next Door was just as super sweet. I can't wait for the third book next year!

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  4. LOL, I find it so amusing how everyone's fighting over Cricket right now :) Ooohh, no mention of Max? I'm really curious to read about him!
    Gosh, everyone's makng me so excited to read this! Anyways, great review =D

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  5. Awesome review!! You really did a great job making me even more anxious and excited to read this!

    I can't wait for the Cricket/Etienne scenes. :D

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  6. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK. And Anna vs. Lola... MAN WHAT A CHOICE. But, I think I liked Lola a teeny tiny more. Maybe. HARD CHOICE. BUT CRICKET BELL oh GOD I want one <3 I just love him more than words could say! LOL. And Stephanie Perkins needs to write books FOREVER. She has brilliant writing and her stories are TOO perfect for words.

    Great review Brodie <3

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  7. Squee! My friend surprised me today with a copy that she picked up for me at Decatur last week and I am over the moon. But also terrified because it feels like I've been waiting for this forever and ahhhhhhh... but your review reassures me quite a bit and I can't wait to dive into it in a few! <3

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  8. @ Shirley - Just wait till you meet Cricket, you'll be in the fighting ring with us ;) haha

    Max, well you'll be tempted to throw him in the trash, just sayin.

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  9. Oooh, I love your review! You've made me even more pumped for this book. I want to read about Cricket noww, especially since he's got you swooning over him. Any book that can make you "giggle happily" is definitely a good one. Thanks Brodie!

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  10. Cricked + Etienne is most definitely heaven! Cannot wait to read this. *rushes through Hades* Yummy review, as always!

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  11. I WANT I WANT I WANT I WANT I WANTWANTWANTWANTWANT.

    This sounds so AMAZING! I love the geeky guys, so obviously I'll like Cricket (mine) and Lola sounds like tons of fun. Also, everyone has been mentioning her dads! I can't wait to meet them.

    Awesome review! If I didn't want to read it before (I did) I definitely need to now.

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  12. I need to read a Perkins novel! I love your description on the characters she has created and I most definitely like the sound of her creation of a sexy setting/mood whatever to call it.

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  13. Yah!! I loved this book, SO MUCH! I can't wait to get my finished copy when it's released. :) So glad you enjoyed it as well!

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  14. I haven't read Anna & the French Kiss but I heard a lot about St. Clair. Cricket Bell sounds really adorable too. The best thing I like about him--he's an inventor.

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  15. So now that I've read Lola and written my own review, I can finally read yours! And it's EXCELLENT. I agree with everything you said. It's basically a lot of what I was trying to say in my review except way more concise and less long-winded and rambly. Haha. I LOVE CRICKET! My face hurt from grinning after reading Lola. I WANT ISLA NOW NOW NOW. Except at the same time I'm okay with waiting because I don't want to say goodbye to everyone!! *sob*

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  16. Question! Is this a sequel to Anna and the French Kiss or are they different books altogether?
    Also, I love your blog makeover :) it looks really good!!

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