October 24, 2011

Book Review: Lola and The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

At First Sight: Lola Nolan enjoys dressing in outrageous costumes, adores her parents (Andy and Nathan, both men) and her San Francisco neighborhood. Her best friend Lindsey wants to be a private detective when she grows up, and her boyfriend is a rock musician (he's also twenty-five and a point of conflict between Lola and her parents). 

Aside from wearing an impressive Marie Antoinette gown for winter formal; and for her parents to accept her boyfriend, Lola has one wish: to never see the Bell twins ever again.

Calliope and Cricket Bell used to live next door to Lola and her family, and they used to get along great... until first Calliope decided not to be her friend anymore and, years later, something happened between them all. Though, luckily, they moved away soon after that, in pursuit of Calliope's figure skating dreams.

But now they are back, and with them all the memories of the things that were are weren't okay between them.

Second Glance: Alright, I'm going to come right out and say it: I hated Lola. While most of the characters were okay - I loved Andy and Nathan, for example, and I finally saw the awesome of Anna and Etienne (returning characters from Anna and the French Kiss) - and some grew on me - particularly Calliope - I deeply disliked Lola for about 90% of the book, which I don't think is ever a good thing

She was whinny, and annoying and such a drama queen. Plus, she was willfully blind to the things around her. And she was the "Etienne" in this book: the one stringing a long a perfectly decent person who cared about her deeply, mostly just because she could. And while in Anna, Etienne had a lot of charm going for him, and a set of circumstances that made his actions make sense (even if he was a bit of a jerk at times); Lola didn't have any of that.

Her boyfriend Max was a bit of a surprise. At first I wasn't sure if he was a jerk - maybe because Lola was narrating and she had stars in her eyes for him (though the whole 25 year old dating a 16/17 year old girl was a bit ew-y anyway) - but even after his asshattery becomes evident he had moments of clarity when he voiced exactly how I was feeling about Lola. It was cruel, sure, but it was still clarity.

Bottom Line: I liked Lola and the Boy Next Door a lot less than I liked Anna. But it's a good book, easy to read, and even easy to get into it. I could even say that I liked - or grew to like - everything about it, except for it's protagonist.

Favorite Quote: "There are some people in life that you can't get over."

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