Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Release date: September 29, 2011
Summary: Lola has a great life—she has two great parents, a hot rocker boyfriend, and a fabulous BFF. But all this begins to crumble with the reappearance of the Bell twins, neighbors who had moved away, but are now back for good. Lola’s history with Calliope and Cricket Bell is complicated to say the least, but now she has to face them—and her feelings for Cricket—again.
My thoughts: Lola and the Boy Next Door is the cutest book you’ll ever read. That’s high praise, but it’s definitely the cutest book I’ve read. It is necessary to write an essay because the book had already garnered enough attention. Lola and the Boy Next Door manages to take an everyday concept—first love—and turn it into something complex, heartwarming, and memorable. First love is always memorable for those involved, but Lola makes you care immensely about someone else’s story, and makes you really hope that, for the sake of the characters, everything will turn out okay.
Lola and the Boy Next Door has a wildly dynamic cast of characters, and they just add to its charm. The titular character, Lola, expresses herself through crazy fashion statements, which makes her stand out from other heroines. Her personality is similar to her clothes—unique, and something you wouldn’t find just anywhere. Cricket, the Boy Next Door, is pretty much perfect. He’s sweet, thoughtful, and sensitive—plus, he’s en engineer. As soon as Cricket comes into Lola’s life again, he captures the reader’s affection and holds it until the very end of the novel. You can feel his longing for Lola, and he’s so earnest about it that you just fall in love with him.
Anna and St. Claire from Anna and the French Kiss play more than a minor role in Lola and the Boy Next Door, which is great for fans of Stephanie Perkins’ first novel, and they are just as adorable as always. Lola’s parents, too, are fantastic, and they help convey a sublte pro-LGBTQ message.
The romance between Lola and Cricket doesn’t start in a predictable manner, and it doesn’t end in that way, either. Their love is slow and steady, and Stephanie Perkins writes it in a manner that makes the reader almost physically feel the tension between the two. Lola and Cricket are a match made in heaven, but their journey is much deeper than one would have predicted. As mentioned earlier, it’s impossible not to cheer for their happy ending.
There’s nothing not to love about Lola and the Boy Next Door. This tale of self-discovery and love will completely blow you away with how simple yet compelling it is. It’s the perfect portrait of first love and all its insecurities. Lola and the Boy Next Door is definitely on my list of contemporary YA favorites—not for its poignancy, but for the pure joy it brings.