Book Review – Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss #2) by Stephanie Perkins

November 15, 2014 Dani Dani's Reviews 0 Comments

Book Review – Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss #2) by Stephanie PerkinsLola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #2
Published by Dutton Juvenile on September 29th 2011
Pages: 384
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Funny-ha-ha
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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In this companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, two teens discover that true love may be closer than they think

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.

Anna and the French Kiss series

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1) by Stephanie Perkins {PurchaseReview}

The one. It stops my heart. I thought Max was the one, but… there’s that other one. The first one.”

Dolores Nolan, aka “Lola”, is in quite a pickle. She is madly in love with Max, an older guy in a band. Max never wants to hang around Lola’s friends and only tolerates Sunday brunch with her dads Andy and Nathan. Simply, Max is a bad guy, but Lola is too blinded to realize he has little regard for her feelings. Enter Cricket – the first love who got away – and Lola’s new next-door neighbor. Lola’s feelings come rushing back, causing her to question every interaction when her heart already knows the answer.

In this book, Perkins tackles much more adult and complex issues than in her previous work, especially around the idea of family. Lola’s family dynamic strays from the “normal” nuclear family. Her dads adopt Lola from her teenage/junkie/homeless parents at birth. Lola’s mother happens to be one of her dad’s sisters, and she only appears in need of rescue.

“We take each other in. My mind spins as it tries to connect the Cricket of the present with the Cricket of the past. He’s grown up and grown into his body, but it’s still him. The same boy I fell in love with in the ninth grade. My feelings had been building since our childhood, but that year, the year he turned sixteen, was the year everything changed.” 

Perkins has a gift for making her characters fall in love at the right pace. Lola has to work on her relationships and struggles with decisions about to whom her heart really belongs. Oh, Lola. I know this girl. I have been this girl. While there is no instant gratification in her works, the extra strain tugs on heart strings, makes her characters seem more human, and the payoff is so worth it. I read a lot of girly love stories, but I connected with this book more than I have with any other because of its realism. Or rather realism AND a happy ending.

My least favorite part of Lola and the Boy Next Door is that it was marketed as “Anna and the French Kiss #2” – which is certainly is not. While my beloved Anna and Étienne do make appearances as supporting characters, I was expecting more of their wonderful love story with her at film school, him at Berkeley. This is a completely trivial complaint, but the only one I have for this book. Instead of my usual list of recommendations, I am going to stick to one that I haven’t even read yet. If you liked Anna and Lola, you must read Isla and the Happily Ever After.

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