Wednesday 17 September 2014

#CBR6 Book 97: "Lola and the Boy Next Door" by Stephanie Perkins

Page count: 338 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads because I read this way too long ago:

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 neighbourhood.

When Cricket - 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.

At the very start of the book, Lola shares her top three wishes with the reader - she wants to attend the winter formal at her school dressed as Marie Antoinette, in a magnificent and opulent dress of her own making, and combat boots. She wants her dads (a successful lawyer and a stay at home pie caterer) to approve of her boyfriend Max, who is 22 and therefore quite a bit older than Lola's 17. Finally, she never wants to see the Bell twins, who grew up next door, ever again. Calliope, the brilliant figure skater who may have a chance at winning gold in the upcoming Olympics, and Cricket, the brilliant inventor who she had a crush on her entire childhood.

Lola is adorable, but also quite clueless. I imagined her a bit like a teenage Lady Gaga, determined never to wear the same outfit twice, with costumes and wigs to suit her every mood. It quickly becomes obvious why her two (awesome) dads don't like Max. It's because Max is a selfish douche canoe. He's so obviously Lola's good-girl attempt at living dangerously, and the thing that annoyed me the most about her (it seems I always have to seriously want to shake Perkins' heroines for one reason or another) was her complete obliviousness with regards to how bad a boyfriend Max was, especially with Cricket being there (or at college, not that far away) all adorable and infatuated with her.

I liked that while there were very good reasons for Calliope to act the way she did towards Lola, which were explained in time, there was no attempt for the two girls to suddenly put their differences aside and become BFFs. Calliope was wrong about a lot of things in her dealings with Lola, and their past cannot be completely forgotten, even as Lola and Cricket continue to grow closer. I loved pretty much everything about Cricket, except maybe that he nearly turned himself into a doormat for Lola. I loved Lola's friendship with Lindsey, and Lindsey's adorable attempts at junior sleuthing. Any girl who tries to emulate Veronica Mars is ok in my book. A couple of characters from Perkins' first book, Anna and the French Kiss also appear as supporting cast in the book and it was nice to see that they are doing well.

Stephanie Perkins' books keep earning rave reviews over on Forever Young Adult, and I can see why. They are delightful reads, even though each heroine has a particular trait that annoys the heck out of me.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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