Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
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. (Goodreads)
Alright, before I completely explode…let me just say it:
I LOVE THIS BOOK!
It is like a huge box of chocolates (and not in a Forest Gump-y way). It’s like a day at Disneyland (Um, THE happiest place on Earth, come on). It is sweet, funny and completely charming in every single way. And because I enjoyed it so, so very much I find it hard to explain exactly how or why I loved it. This is because no one thing in particular drew me in—everything did. I mean, I was already a fan of Perkins, what with her insistence of making fun of Nicholas Sparks and with her creation of Etienne St. Clair and all (truly the only short guy I have ever found attractive). So yes, I expected to really like Lola. I even expected to love it. But it totally exceeded my expectations.
Maybe it’s because Lola is so adorably exasperating with her quirky fashion sense and awful taste in boyfriends (well, one of them at least). Maybe it’s because she’s still so terribly embarrassed after her next door neighbor kind of but not really blew her off just when things started to get all romantical (this is a real word. I swear). But man oh man, I love this girl. I love that she embraces who she is without apology, all without coming off like some angsty emo chick. She’s a funny, smart, sweet girl who’s never really gotten over her first crush.
And lordy, lordy, lordy, Cricket Bell—there aren’t enough words to describe him. Instead of being the super-hot aloof guy who really has a big heart hidden under that tough exterior, he’s the total opposite in the most adorable, charming way. He’s cute, but in a sweet, geeky, awkward way and his heart is out there for Lola to see. There are no pretenses. There are no games. Holy cow I love that! He clearly still has a thing for Lola and always has, yet in the past family demands have always gotten in the way. But things are different now. The situation is changing. Cricket is changing too.
And what Cricket and Lola have in each other is so completely engrossing and lovely. I’d read their story again and again. I’m a total sucker for childhood sweethearts and for best friends who fall in love. I’m an even bigger sucker for awesomely nerdy guys and for heroines who actually have lives and friends and families outside of their romantic pursuits, and for characters who know what they want out of life. This book has all of that.
Crush Intensity: 5/5 I’m not sure if I mentioned this already, but wow, I loved this book. Also, for those of you who may not know, Anna and St. Clair make many appearances in Lola and the Boy Next Door, which is, of course, another added bonus. Read it!