Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: September 2011
Published By: Dutton
Goodreads Rating: 4.23 stars
Review: Anna and the French Kiss was one of the most hotly anticipated books of last year and certainly lived up to the high expectations; now here's it's sequel. Budding designer Lola lives and breaths costumes, and her life is pretty much perfect, what with her rock star boyfriend - that is, until the Bell twins, Cricket and Calliope move back to town. Suddenly everything changes and she must reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.
Well, I mean, it is Stephanie Perkins, so of course LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR was absolutely incredible. Somehow she manages to slap words on a page and they become ridiculously addicting, weaving a gorgeous story that has you satisfied and entertained with quite a bit of depth to go along with it. I had such a hard time putting this book down, and I was always looking forward to picking it up again.
One aspect I especially loved was just how realistic the romance felt. Usually in books when the girl has to dump the current boyfriend for the shiny new (or in this case, old) boy, it's painfully obvious to everyone but the protagonist just how awful the boyfriend is. However, here, while it was still clear that Max was a jerk, I could definitely understand why she still felt lingering emotions for him for part of the book.
As for Cricket, well, he's no St. Clair. He was still sweet and adorable, but I wasn't feeling it for him that much, which may be due in part to the name and the pin-striped pants. (Sorry, but I don't dig a guy in circus pants.) He's still better than most love interests, but just didn't live up to the expectations I had set up after meeting St. Clair in the companion novel. However, I will say that by the end of the book, the romance was just so freaking adorable that I even teared up a little in a certain scene.
And speaking of St. Clair, he and Anna made a cameo appearance that was totally welcome. It was interesting to see them through the eyes of a new set of characters, and it added that little extra fun element the novel. And really, that's how I would describe this book: fun. There was, of course, plenty of emotional happenings to beef up the plot and depth, but this is the kind of book you enjoy so much that you wait forever in line get your hands on the next companion novel - and that's exactly what I'll be doing.