Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Release Date: September 29, 2011

Publisher: Dutton Children's Books

Format: ARC

Source: Inkwood

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.

Lola is unique, and she always has been. Unlike other girls, she doesn't want to be a fashion designer, no. She wants to be a COSTUME designer. She has an amazing boyfriend

I could have sworn I had written a review for this already. I saw this review on my friend Kristi's blog and I went back to check on my blog because I had thought that I had posted it and I wanted to see what I said. My review hadn't posted! And I must have written it longhand or something because I REMEMBER writing a review but I didn't have a draft saved or anything. But again, I do have an awful memory when not connected to reading (I remember everything about books, but I swear I'm like Dory and have short-term memory loss) so that could contribute, but the point is is that I'm sorry for not posting a review sooner and now I'm writing one again.

Lola was such a quirky, lovable character! Her spunk and witty charm make her a knockout, and she can also be really deep and thoughtful. She had a special relationship with the moon that I absolutely loved and she made me want to hum "Mr. Moon, moon, bright and shiny moon...."  I may sound weird saying that, but you'll get what I mean if you read the book. Anyways, she was super sweet and nostalgic and funny! I loved her. Lola had a ton of self-confidence and she wasn't afraid to branch out.

I would love to be like her, but I do care what people think. She was inspiring in her zany quirkiness.

Cricket was okay, at first. It took me a few chapters to really get how amazing he was, but once I did, I loved him. He was polite and perfect for Lola and I really wish he weren't because I wanted to steal him away.... :) I loved how he was a twin because I'm a twin and I would love to date a twin boy. The brother-sister relationship between Calliope and him was fun to read about and I really enjoyed watching him balance everything. He didn't want to upset Calliope by dating Lola, but he also really liked Lola.

This was a sweet book, but it wasn't a cutesy-cutesy book. There were melancholy moments and adorable moments, and it all just added together into LIFE.

Stephanie Perkins isn't afraid to make her characters too weird or anything. All mixed together, they balanced each other out and they weren't overdone. They were realistic.

People had been yelling at me for ages to read Anna and the French Kiss and I ignored them before I read this, so I hadn't read Anna before Lola. This should tell you how much I loved it: the second I finished Lola, I was begging my mom for a ride to the bookstore. Plus, it was perfect timing because Anna had just come out in paperback! I was captivated. Stephanie Perkins had me hooked with her easygoing and charming writing style.

I really liked seeing how relationships changed in this book and how it all interacted. Everything was taken down a notch. It wasn't really intense, but it was amazing to see. There was chemistry and family and friends and jobs and school and everything in there that made it real. Although it was also realistic, the poignancy and fairy-tale like feel made it almost like a dream to me.

Everything knitted together seamlessly. This wasn’t an overtly emotional book, but some of the things that Stephanie said were things that I emphathized with on a daily basis. Some things just ran deep with me. I don’t know if Stephanie meant for this to have that effect on the reader, but either way, it just worked.This book just warmed my heart. It wasn’t cheesy, and it wasn’t contrived. It was perfectly balanced, smart, and rang with a sweet poignancy that makes Stephanie Perkin’s writing stand out from other contemporary books.While still sweet, it retained tingly kisses and moments where I honestly thought that I was falling in love with a fictional character. Stephanie Perkins played with my emotions throughout the entire book. Lola's emotions from the past were mixed in with her emotions of the present and she was confused. She wrestled with her confused feelings about WHAT exactly she should be feeling - the hurt and anger towards Cricket from the past and her love for him in the now.For many people, they have trouble letting go of the past. That was one of Lola's main problems, and I loved how realistically that she dealt with it.I also really loved the effect that St. Clair and Anna had in the story. They weren't really invested, but they did make cameos and affected the story a little bit. I loved being able to see them again and see where their relationship had gone. Of course, I had read Lola before Anna, but after I read Anna, I realized what I had seen in Lola.Some people say that they liked Lola more than Anna; some say opposite. I don't know where I lie, but I loved both of them. I did feel like Lola was more diverse than Anna, and Anna was more of the normal protagonist, while Lola was more of a free spirit. The world that Lola was in was taken from a wider perspective, while Anna's world was mostly focused in on the school.It was a bit heavier though. This wasn't necessarily a good thing or bad thing, just different.Lola's dads faced some prejudice from people and Lola addressed that. They were worried when she was younger that people would think that they were dressing her up like that, with her crazy costumes and glittery false eyelashes and such. They were perfect parents to Lola and I loved them and respected them completely! I love reading about more parents being involved in their kid's life instead of being portrayed as either overprotective or absent all the time. Lola loved her dads and I loved seeing their relationship in the book. It was sweet.Overall, I loved Lola and the Boy Next Door. It was charming, riveting, and perfectly complex! The romance was wholesome and realistic, the characters were amazingly diverse, and everything fell together seamlessly! You will laugh, you will cry, you will sigh, and you will wish that the book will never end. It was everything that I could ask for and more.Recommended for anybody who loves: Anna and the French Kiss; Amy and Roger's Epic Detour; Perfect Chemistry; The Summer I Turned Pretty; What Happened to Goodbye; etc,.Book club questions to come.