“I know you aren’t perfect. But it’s a person’s imperfections that make them perfect for someone else.”
Lola and the Boy Next Door is the second book in Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss Series. The story follows Lola Nolan who is seventeen years old and a costume designer who loves to stand out from the crowd. Lola has two wishes: 1) for her parents Nathan and Andy to accept her rockstar boyfriend Max and 2) to go to the school dance in an amazing one-of-a-kind Marie Antoinette dress. Things all changed with Cricket and Calliope Bell move back into the house next door.
I really liked this book however I did feel like there was something missing from it although I can’t put my finger on what that is. I didn’t have that click moment that I did with the first one that made me think this book was better. It’s such an enjoyable book and I love the story as a whole I just didn’t get to have that click moment with this book. Stephanie has a way of creating these characters that are likeable and loved in every way possible. I think that’s why these first two books, and I’m willing to go out and say the third as well, are so successful.
I really loved Lola’s character although I didn’t relate to her at all. I kind of felt like we’re polar opposites on the scale which isn’t a bad thing. I did relate to Anna a lot more than Lola but I still enjoyed Lola’s crazy, impulsiveness. I could never pull off wearing these bright colourful clothes that she wears but I was fascinated by her. I especially loved how she and her best friend would dress up as each other on Halloween – what a great tradition to have between friends. The one thing I really disliked about Lola, and it’s just me being picky, her taste in men. I didn’t like Max from the start and I knew there was something about him. Of course he radiates that bad boy attitude that Lola couldn’t help but fall for.
We really really need to talk about the lovely Cricket Bell. There is not one thing I did not fall in love with about him. I loved that he was smart and shy but I also loved that he was passionate which really showed through even from a young age. I also love that he respected Lola in a real way and that was something, to me, Max had never done so it really stood out. I desperately wish Stephanie had written this from two perspectives because there were times when I was reading where I just wanted to know what was going on inside his head. We did find out a lot less about him than we did with other characters (such as Etienne is the first book) but I really liked that and felt it was a good choice. In the book Cricket talks about being in his twin sisters shadow so I felt like by not revealing much about him emphasised this point more. It was very clever whether it was done by choice or just a happy accident.
I didn’t want to talk about Max because I have a real dislike for his character but I’ll give him a few sentences. What annoyed me most about his character was that because he was twenty-two he’d much rather go out and get drunk and sleep around rather than do something Lola enjoys. What made me furious was the way he treated her friends because they were deemed “too young.” I have plenty of friends who are six years older than me but they have never once talked down to me because I’m younger so that was strange – especially when their age gap isn’t that big. I also felt that Lola and Max’s relationship was considered bad because he was too old for her. Personally I don’t think Max was bad for Lola because he was too old I think Max was bad for Lola because he was a loser and a jerk.
Ending the review on a high I was pleasantly surprised that Anna and Étienne made an appearance in the story. I assumed that they would be making an appearance somewhere in this book I just didn’t expect it to be so near the start. It was really lovely being able to see how in love they were and how they were getting on. It was also really nice being able to see them talk about a future together. I always want to find out what happens after the happily ever after and this was very nice and very unique to see.
Would I recommend this book? 100% yes! I fell in love with this book just as quickly as I did with Anna and the French Kiss. Although I felt there was something missing that the first book had it hasn’t stopped me loving this book any less. Again, similarly to the first book, if you’re looking for a book that’s sweet and funny with very charming guys then this is a book you should go and pick up. It’s a really lovely story which has got me all excited to start the third book.