Monday, 3 October 2011

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

To me, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is chocolate. It’s sweet, I can rely on it to make me smile and there is no way I would ever turn it away. It’s a book I whole heartedly love and the one I pick up when I want to feel happy and laugh. I love the story, I love the characters, I love the setting (I mean it’s Paris!) and I definitely love the boy.
But if Anna and the French Kiss is chocolate, then Lola and the Boy Next Door is a lemon sherbet. It’s brightly coloured, quirky and is guaranteed to make you smile when you hit that part in the centre that fizzes on your tongue.

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.
(Taken from Stephanie Perkins website)

After reading Anna and the French Kiss I had hugely high expectations for Lola. She was going to have to try and fill the exceptionally big shoes Anna and Etienne had left behind, or at least attempt to wrestle for a place in my heart beside them. Or, at least, that’s what I’d thought. Then I met Lola. And only then did I realise there was no way she needed to fill their shoes. She brought her own. And they sparkle.
I loved this book so much. I literally did a happy dance when I saw it sitting on the shelf at the book shop and then haven’t stopped reading it since then. I was even slightly rude to the girl I had to pay for the book I was so distracted from the moment I picked it up. (Sorry book store girl!)
The cast of characters in Lola and the Boy Next Door are colourful, zany and I promise you will fall in love with them, none more so than Lola herself. Lola is rarely seen without something sparkly and in turn she makes the pages of the book sparkly. While I have to admit I didn’t take an instant shining to her as I did Anna she grew on me and by the end, when I turned the final page I was truly sad I didn’t have a little bit more time with her.
Not only to we have Lola in this fantastic book but we also have Cricket. And oh my God do I love him! I think – and I’m shocked by this too—I may even love him slightly more than I love Etienne. He’s sweet and imperfectly-perfect. And once again Stephanie Perkins has presented us a boy with fantastic and memorable hair. I will say no more on Cricket as he is someone you need to meet for yourself.
It was also fantastic to see a few returning characters who I would’ve missed had they not been showing up here and there. Who? Once, again you’ll have to find out for yourself.
One of my favourite things about Anna and the French Kiss was the prose. It was written in such a way that I didn’t feel as though I was just reading a story, but I was living it with Anna, seeing everything she saw and hearing her very thoughts. And that same quality I found in Lola. When she was sad I could feel it, when something hilarious was happening I laughed along with her and that is what really brings this book to life.
That and of course that fizzy centre I was talking about earlier. It’s a fizz that definitely left me feeling warm and fuzzy and the part I love most about what is definitely a book I will love reading again and again. Thank you so much Stephanie Perkins for writing such a fantastic, dare I say fabulous novel.
And if there is anyone who’s read this and still isn’t planning on reading this book, well, why the hell not? Go read it! Now!