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.
It's no secret here but it's now totally official. . . . I love Stephanie Perkins! No, I didn't say like. I said LOVE. I LOVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEEEE this author so much that words cannot describe because she writes amazing books just like Sarah Dessen and Elizabeth Scott, with amazing characters, with amazing romances, with amazing settings, and did I mention amazing characters? Yes. I think I already did. For lovers of Stephanie Perkin's debut novel Anna and the French Kiss, make no mistake that this book too will make you fall in love all over again with Perkin's words.
I admit that Anna and the French Kiss can never be beaten in its awesomeness but this book follows close behind. It's unique, light-hearted, funny, sexy, and is pretty much everything you want in a young adult book. LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR - to me - had a different feel compared to Perkin's debut novel, which I think is always a good thing considering this is based on a different character entirely. Some readers may find themselves unrelatable to the main character in this installment . . . I mean after all Lola is really out there - what with her colourful costume designs, her dramatic personality, and her tad bit of selfishness - but she's loveable either way. Compared to Anna though - the character readers had grown to love in Anna and the French Kiss - she's very different. But readers will love this different character and fall in love with her too!
For readers eagerly awaiting my opinion on Cricket, well, here it is. CRICKET! If you thought Etienne was hot in Anna and the French Kiss then you haven't seen the last of adorable-and-hot love interests. Cricket is every guy a girl wants - the good kind. And yes, the nerdy kind which is my favourite. A lot of young adult novels that I have read portray love interests in a bad light since we rarely see a down-to-earth sweet guy get the girl in the end and I'm glad Perkins has written her boy characters so innocently and so swoon-worthy . . . so real. Well, except Lola's boyfriend but he's not worth mentioning. Cricket is of course! He was just so . . . I can't describe him to you without totally gushing so I must stop before this review breaks down on me. But overall all of the characters - the good and the bad - were awesome and not to mention Lola's two dad's who were equally fantastic as Lola herself!
What I really loved about this book (must not mention Cricket here or else I won't stop talking about him) was the themes of relationships and the general 'boy next door' story. I've always adored that concept and Perkins does an amazing job in capturing the 'boy next door' feel, making it somewhat magical and so damn special. The stolen glances, the talking through windows, the long neighbourhood strolls . . . I loved every moment of it! For those fearing Anna and swooning St. Clair are long gone, not to worry because the two of them make appearances throughout the book and you see plenty of them too. It was nice to see them viewed by a different character and revist this couple that readers loved from the beginning. This book may not be the romantic Paris but San Francisco is just the spot-on place for our crazy Lola!
All in all, LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR was everything I hoped for and I think readers - after they finish this book - will start to think about their own first childhood crushes! While this book may not have won me entirely like Anna did, but it was just as good and I literally can't wait until I get my hands on Stephanie Perkin's third book installment Isla and the Happily Ever After, which is scheduled to hit our shelves in 2012!