Thursday, September 29, 2011

LOLA, won't you be our neighbor?

Do you want to smile? A big, huge, ear-to-ear, no-holds-barred glorious grin of happiness? Then you need to go read yourself some Stephanie Perkins.

Steph's debut, ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, left us all feeling stupidly giddy and warm and glowy inside, and she hits a feel-good home run again with her second, companion novel, LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR.

Stephanie has this knack for writing spot-on romance, and you totally want to be BFFs with her characters. Her books are delightful and funny and real --- like candy with depth. Like, VITAMIN CANDY, people. They taste good and they're good for you! They're like the Honey Nut Cheerios of books.

And without further ado, I'm reposting Sara's review of LOLA, in which she OMGSQUEEs over her top 5 reasons she j'adores Steph's new book baby!

Sara's Review:

You may remember our quad-review of Anna, in which we deemed Etienne St.Clair the hottest little hobbit that ever went to high school.  Well, this time I just couldn't wait until everyone in the FNC had read this book to gush about how much I loved it.  So here you go, in no particular orders:

Reasons Why J'Adore Lola and the Boy Next Door!! (spoiler-free, of course!)

I promise Cricket Bell is even cuter than this Disney-fied cricket.

1) Cricket Bell!  Okay, right now, right here, I'm patenting the OMGSQUEE.  I'm going to make it happen.  Because that's exactly what Cricket made me do ALL throughout the book.  Obviously I can't give away a lot of details without ruining something in this book, but let me say this about Cricket: A of all, his name is Cricket.  B of all, he's really tall.  C of all, he's a little emo.  D of all, his name is Cricket.  Did I mention that part?

Seriously though, Cricket is not Etienne St. Clair in the best of ways.  That is to say, he's his own, unique character with his own special OMGSQUEE reasons to love him.  Now, I heart St. Clair, but I must admit Cricket was a little more up my fangirl alley--tall, a little awkward, a little emo...mmm, the perfect recipe.

2) Lola's dads!  That's right, I said dadS.  As in two.  Lola has two dads.  But it's not a thing--she just has them.  And they're totally normal, recognizable real life/YA parents.  They're not a plotline or a way to make Lola "alternative and spunky" (she does that fine on her own!) or an underlying message.  They're just a set of parents in a YA book.

Growing up with two moms, and in the time before the YA boom, gay parents in the books I read were few and far between.  And if they did exist, it was always an issue, or somehow made the MC's life tumultuous/difficult in some way.  I don't actually think I realized how much I wanted to see gay parents as just a regular part of a teenager's life in a book until I read Lola, and loved her dads so much.

Plus, like all of Stephanie Perkins' characters, her dads--Andy and Nathan--are hilarious, and heartfelt, and REAL.  And adorable.  Bonus points?  Lola actually likes, and appreciates (as much as a teenage can appreciate) her parents--something else I found ultra-refreshing to read!

3) Lola!  Obvi Lola has to be a big part of why I loved this book.  She's not Anna Oliphant, just like how Cricket is not St. Clair.  Lola felt a little edgier to me, and it took me a little more time (like, an extra paragraph or two) to warm up to her.  And I LIKED that.  I wasn't worried that I was going to be stuck with some overly-snarky MC because I trust and admire Perkins' writing and characters, but Lola definitely had more of an edge to her than Anna, and a little more angst in her life.  But, like Anna, all the things she experienced and went through and felt reminded (sometimes painfully) of my own high school experiences.

I not only sympathized with Lola, I empathized with her.  And her fashion sense was amazing without seeming gimmicky at all.  Her fashion sense wasn't what gave her a personality--it was just one facet of the character that is Lola.

4) Anna and St. Clair!  It was really awesome seeing Anna and St. Clair from an outsider's perspective.  Like, kind of more awesome than I even realized it was going to be.  I have to admit, it was a little weird at first--like when you hear yourself recorded on audio for the first time, and you think, is that really what my voice sounds like?

At first, I thought, is this really who Anna was in her book?  But the more I read, the more I realized that it both was and wasn't--it WAS the Anna, but this is outsider-looking-in Anna, not in-her-head Anna, and the differences were natural and made sense.  Plus, I needed my hobbit fix, and St. Clair definitely delivered :)  Bonus points include the fact that Anna uses the word "wee" in the book.  Hehe.  Wee.  It still makes me giggle.

5) Cricket Bell.  Yeah, again.  It's my post, I'll make him worthy of two bullet points if I want to!

So, in conclusion: Lola & the Boy Next Door made me OMGSQUEE! more times than is probably healthy.

(OMGSQUEE! is the next fetch.  It's going to happen.)


And today, LOLA is officially released to the world! So go buy her!!!


  1. OH yay yay yay!. I can't wait to get a hold of this one. I didn't know Anna would be referred to in this book, how fun!

    Xpresso Reads

  2. AWESOME! I loved it so so much. Thank you for your review, super cute and funny! Cricket:D


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