Dissecting The Cover:
I'm not completely cover slutty over this one but I do like the fact that it stays true to the story. I love the pastel colored houses in the background. I love Lola's wig too! (I actually have one similar, minus the black streaks, courtesy of my Hitgirl Halloween costume.)
I also like that Cricket Bell looks very "Cricket Bell-ish." The rubber bands, pinstripe pants and the star drawn on his hand are all nice little touches.
But I think Lola's outfit isn't nearly Lola-y enough. Plus her eyes are a little too Zooey Deschanel for me.
Lola Nolan is a colorful character. She loves dressing up in costumes and wigs. Not just for Halloween. Every Day!
In fact, one of the things that Lola wants the most is to show up to winter formal donning an incredibly over-the-top Marie Antoinette gown, complete with an elaborately wonderful, sky-high wig!
She would also like it if her dads would approve of her of her boyfriend, Max. Who's in a band. And has tattoos. And is slightly older than Lola. (Ok, so he's 22 and she's only 17 but they're totes in love, y'all!)
But what Lola would really like more than anything is to never ever EVER see the Bell twins EVER again. EVER!
But, of course, right before junior year, there they are in the lavender Victorian next door. Calliope, the beautiful ice skater who ruined Lola's life. And Cricket, the adorable inventor who broke Lola's heart.
Well Lola has no intention of getting mixed up with those Bells again.
Cricket is just so cute. And such a snazzy dresser. And he's so sweet and friendly and funny. And his bedroom window is like, Right There.
Suddenly Lola is feeling the swoony stirrings she felt before.
But she has Max. And she loves Max.
But she loved Cricket first. And can you ever truly get over your first love?
Here's What I Think:
As you all probably know from this little nugget of fandemonium, I'm a HUGE fan of Stephanie Perkins. In fact, I'm writing this review from her bushes. Ha! Just kidding!
Anyway, call it the influence of too much Supernatural-watching on my part, but I'm fairly certain Ms. Perkins has made some kind of awesome-story-writing deal with a Crossroads Demon. Or she could just be insanely talented. But whatever the case, be it natural gift or something far more sinister, homegirl can friggin' WRITE some YA!
Lola is a fun character. She "doesn't believe in fashion... she believes in costume." I love that about her! Halloween is my absolute fave holiday and I do it BIG, so the idea of someone having the balls to glam and crazy it up Every Single Day is beyond awesome in my opinion.
But Lola isn't the only cool character. There's also her BFF Lindsey Lim who is Made Of Awesome!!! Lindsey is not only a great bestie that completely supports Lola even though she kinda hates Lola's boyfriend. Oh no. Lindsey is also an amateur detective that hearts Nancy Drew! She's smart and sassy and she totally reminds me of Lane from Gilmore Girls if you substitute a music obsession with sleuthing!
Lola also has two incredible dads. Nathan and Andy are tough but sweet. They care for Lola so much and i thought that their relationship with her, as well as with each other (plus their relationship with Lola's birth mother) was really great.
And lastly but certainly not leastly, there's Cricket Bell. What can i say about Cricket Bell? Well for starters he's the super swooniest! Cricket is the shy, sweet boy next door. He's got a unique style that Lola loves. He's an inventor. When they were little, he built Lola an elevator for her Barbies. And now that they're older, he helps Lola build her elaborate Marie Antoinette costume. He's tall and nerdy and I LOVE HIM!!!
The friendship/romance between Lola and Cricket is so sweet and it's written in classic Stephanie Perkins style. Meaning, it's that slow-burn, y'all.
Throughout the book you just want them to get together already! It's just that really sweet love when you've known someone for so long, and they know all your secrets, and they were your first kiss, and it's all so innocent but now so passionate, and you just want these two crazy kids to be together forever.
Lola and the Boy Next Door as everything that makes a story great. I LOVED it!
It's another book (much like Anna and the French Kiss) that I wanted to hurry and finish to see how everything plays out but I also wanted to take it slow and stay in Lola's world as long as I possibly could. And to have that ability to write a story that makes you feel that way?
Well that's either just great story telling! Or possibly a Crossroads Demon deal. ;)
Ok, if Lola didn't fall even a tiny bit in love with Cricket I would seriously question her sanity.
He's just sooooooo sweet!
But lucky for us swoon-lovers, Lola does fall for Cricket. Like I said before, it's all about the slow-burn swoon. Lola finds herself falling for Cricket but she thinks she loves Max and something happened in the past with Cricket that Lola can't get over so she doesn't want to fall for him because of that but she also can't stop thinking about Cricket and what's a girl to do!?!?
So because of this slow-burn, there's more crackling sexual tension than makeout sessions and declarations of love. But that's totally fine because sometimes the implied swoon is way hotter! (Especially if your crush is Cricket Bell!)
Lindsey Lim is Lola's best friend. And I so wish she was mine! She is soooo friggin' awesome! She's a fellow Nancy Drew fangirl, so much so that she's nicknamed Lola Ned (check out Noteworthy for the reason why!) Also aiding in her awesomeness, she and Lola marathon eps of Alias, Dollhouse and Pushing Daisies! Only 3 of my fave, unjustly cancelled shows!
Plus she's game to dress up as Lola for Halloween even though Lola's style is vastly different from her own.
Will you accept this Be Fri necklace, Lindsey? Because I think you're awesome and we could totally start up our own bomb ass detective agency! Will you be the Gus to my Shawn? The Mac to my Veronica? The Ned to my Nancy?
Special Guest Star Appearances!
Guess who works with Lola at the Royal Civic Center 16?! Anna and St. Clair! Yeah, from Anna and the French Kiss! Stephanie Perkins' other amazing book!
They're still together and cuter than ever! I love when authors sneak in characters from their previous work. It's like a nice little wink-wink, nudge-nudge to their fans.
I love reading books in which the characters have a beloved pet. Probably because growing up I was never allowed to have one. If I could have had a pet, it'd be puppy all day long, baby!
So I really liked that Lola had an adorable mutt named Betsy. Which is short for Heavens to Betsy! Which might be the greatest name EVER!
One of Lola's dads is a pie maker! Which totally reminded me of Ned the pie maker from Pushing Daisies. Which was a totally amazing TV show that should have been on waaaaay longer than 2 seasons. The facts are these: I miss that show!
The Boy Next Door!
There's just something about the boy next door that is oh so swoony, amirite? And Cricket Bell is the quintessential boy next door. He's sweet and funny and a tad dorky. But he always seems to know the right things to say and do.
In my book, Boy Next Door totally trumps Bad Boy every time!
Lola's hot rocker BF drives a '64 Impala! Only 3 years off from being completely awesome. ;) But I did squeal with fangirlish delight when I saw the mention. Even though Max so doesn't deserve to drive a Metallicar. :P
Here are some parts of Lola and the Boy Next Door that were particularly noteworthy in my opinion.
From page 30:
Lindsey Lim fancies herself a detective. This is due to her lifelong obsession with mysteries, ever since she received the Nancy Drew Starter Set (Secret of the Old Clock through Secret of Red Gate Farm) for her eighth birthday. Hence, "Ned." She tried to nickname me Bess, Nancy's flirty, shop-happy friend, but I wasn't pleased with that, because Bess is always telling Nancy the situation is too dangerous, and she should give up.
What kind of friend says that?
And I'm definitely not George, Nancy's other best friend, because George is an athletic tomboy with a pug nose. George would never wear a Marie Antoinette dress- even with platform combat boots- to her winter formal. Which left Ned Nickerson, Nancy's boyfriend. Ned is actually useful and often assists Nancy during life-threatening situations. I can get down with that. Even if he is a guy.
From page 125:
"I don't wanna talk about guys anymore," I say. "Can't we just rehash Alias instead?"
There's only one type of television show that Lindsey and I agree on: shows that involve solving crimes while wearing cool disguises. Alias, Pushing Daisies, Dollhouse, Charlie's Angels, and The Avengers are our favorites.
From page 231:
Lindsey's walls are painted classic Nancy Drew-spine yellow. Her complete collection of the novels is lined up in neat rows across the top shelves of her bookcase and below them, alphabetically by author, are titles like History's Greatest Spies, Detecting for Dummies, and The Tao of Crime Fighting.
So, now after all that are we all in agreement that Lindsey Lim is the shit? I thought so.
If You Liked That, Try This:
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot.
Scale Of Judgment Says:
Stephanie Perkins does it again! i can't wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After!!! Which is described as being the final book in the Anna/Lola companion series. Ok, I just had a sad. Then I had another sad because Isla won't be out until sometime in 2013. :(