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

LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins
Publication Date: September 29th 2011 by Dutton
Rating: |

Summary: 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.

Review Overview:

  • Lola + Cricket = lots of great chemistry that you don’t want to miss
  • Culturally diverse set of secondary characters; they are so much fun to read about
  • Anna > Lola but still a great book that YOU MUST READ

I think it’s safe to say that LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR was my most anticipated book of 2011. Stephanie Perkins is at the top of my list of authors to watch. After reading Anna and the French Kiss earlier this year, I could not wait to read more of her work. I was so happy to have snagged a copy of the hardcover at my favorite bookstore, the Strand, before the release date.

The characters are so colorful in LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR. Lola is a delight to read about. Always dolled up in a different costume each day, Lola Nolan stands out from the crowd. She’s not afraid of what others think and she dresses the way she wants. And of course, there’s the Boy Next Door. Cricket Bell used to be her neighbor, and Lola felt like her world is coming apart when she hears that he is moving back next door. A budding inventor, Cricket is intelligent and kind. He has the quirky fashion sense to match Lola.

I feel like with these kinds of stories, you have a vague idea of how it’s going to end before you even pick up the book. But it doesn’t matter because the beginning, middle, and climax of the story are the most fun to read about anyway. Lola and Cricket do have a past (and emotional baggage), so the progression of the romance is a lot different from Anna and the French Kiss. There is definitely great chemistry between the two characters.

Speaking of emotional baggage, LOLA is a more serious book than Anna. Serious in a way that Lola deals a lot with heavy issues such as her biological mother and her past with Cricket. While the book was still entertaining as a whole, I just didn’t find myself laughing as much as I did when I read Anna.

The secondary characters are the icing to the cake. From Lola’s fathers (yes, fathers) to her quirky co-workers, the novel would not have been the same without them. Furthermore, I love the diversity in Lola and the Boy Next Door. Maybe I just don’t read enough stories about California, but I feel like Perkins wrote such an accurate portrayal of the culturally diverse population of California. I think it’s definitely one of the things that stood out for me when I visited the Bay Area and I’m glad that Perkins portrayed it in her novel.

Stephanie Perkins is a wonderful writer. I’ve only been to San Francisco a few times, so I had a vague idea of where Lola lived, but Perkins’s writing just makes the setting come alive. I felt like I was transported to the West Coast. I really felt like I was strolling along the streets of San Francisco with Lola and Cricket.

Shall I compare LOLA to Anna? Well, if I must… I have to say that I still prefer Anna. Why? Mostly because of Cricket and Lola. I’ve pretty much said that I did enjoy their characters a lot, but if I had to compare them to Etienne and Anna, they just don’t match up. Why? Well, Etienne is a Boy Masterpiece. He has a British accent!!!! And Anna is just a lot more like me than Lola is. I was just able to relate so much more to Anna. Lola just has this certain self confidence that both Anna and I lack. She can pretty much snag a guy if she really wants, whereas Anna is socially awkward in the romance department like I am. I could definitely see myself more in Anna’s shoes than Lola’s.

The reason why I still love Anna more than LOLA is definitely a personal reason. Based on the reviews I’ve read, I am probably in the minority who believe that Stephanie Perkins’s debut is better than her sophomore novel.

I’m pretty sure that I can ramble on forever about LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR and I think that’s reason enough for you to go buy it. Read it so we can have a never-ending debate. I’m more than sure you’ll enjoy LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR if you loved Anna and the French Kiss, boys, San Francisco, California in general, costumes, sparkly things, fashion, and kissing. Oh, and Alexander Graham Bell.

Well, I just made this sound like the girliest book ever, but if you’re a boy, please don’t let my review stop you from picking it up. Stephanie Perkins is a really great writer. Read this.

Other Reviews:
Good Books and Good Wine
I Eat Words
Poetry to Prose

About the Author

Stephanie Perkins writes novels for teens (and for adults who aren’t afraid to admit that teen books are awesome). She was born in South Carolina, raised in Arizona, attended universities in San Francisco and Atlanta, and now lives in the mountains of North Carolina amidst the waterfalls and wild blueberries.

Her best friend is also her husband, Jarrod, and he’s the most wonderful person she knows. Every room of their house is painted a different color of the rainbow. They share it with two elderly pups and a pesky cat named Mr. Tumnus.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads


  1. Yay, I’ve been looking forward to your review! :D

    I do agree that there’s a degree of predictability in these reads, but the journey that gets these characters together is soooo good. I don’t know how Stephanie does it, but she has an amazing talent.

    Another friend asked me if I preferred Anna or Lola…I CANNOT CHOOSE AT THIS POINT IN TIME. Anna.Lola.ANNALOLA. Whatevs, I’ll plead the fifth for now.

    Thanks for the link!

  2. I’m glad that you enjoyed this book much more than I did! And you’re not the only one who thinks that Anna is better—I’m completely in agreement (although for different reasons). Anyway, great review! :)

  3. AHH! Awesome review, Cialina! :D I’m still super excited to read this. BEYOND super excited, even.

    I’ve heard most people say it’s better than ANNA, so I’m interested to find out for myself which I prefer.

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