Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next DoorGoodreads: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Series: Companion book to Anna and the French Kiss

Summary:  Lola Nolan is happy.  She has a fun job at the local movie theatre, a hot rocker boyfriend, and a blooming talent for creating clothes (or, in her words, costumes).  Her peace is shattered, however, when the Bells move back in next door.  Lola would love to keep hating Cricket Bell for leaving her two years ago, but with his growth spurt, his sense of style, and his determination to charm her, she might find that difficult.

ReviewLola and the Boy Next Door is funny, creative, and inspiring.  Lola, a colorful personality, narrates the events of her seventeenth year, when next-door cutie/jerk Cricket Bell moves back into the neighborhood.  Unfortunately, he is not as big of a jerk as Lola remembers, and despite her older, rock star boyfriend, she begins to find herself interested.

Like Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door is the perfect blend of beautiful romance and tough life issues.  Less than ideal parents loom large in both books.  Here, Lola is raised by her uncle Nathan and his partner Andy because her mother cannot seem to stop drinking long enough to get her life back together.  Her boyfriend, and her friend Etienne (guest starring along with Anna in a return from Anna and the French Kiss!), also have parental problems.  Perkins addresses these issues delicately, suggesting that parents are only human, while refraining from writing unrealistic life changes for them.  The message continues to be clear, however: you are not your parents, or your ancestors, and you have the freedom and power to build your own better life.

Lola, like Anna, also faces some tough relationship dilemmas.  She must navigate the issues of dating a much-older boyfriend, balancing time and loyalty between boyfriend and friends, and having feelings for two guys at the same time.  Again, liking two people is a gray area that Perkins addresses with skill and grace.  Young readers—any readers—can benefit from Perkins’s explorations of what makes a healthy relationship.  Here, the trust of one’s parents, the boy’s kindness to one’s friends and interest in one’s life, and the boy’s ability to inspire one to be the best version of oneself are all labeled important.

Lola and the Boy Next Door is incredibly cute and fun and has a lot of truth to share about life.  Perkins once again combines daydream fantasy (the boy next door, who has a window facing yours so you can talk at night!) with reality to write a perfectly balanced story.

Published: 2011

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Anna and the French Kiss   My Life Next Door  Lock and Key

4 thoughts on “Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

    • Briana says:

      I actually like this one better, although I don’t know if I’m biased because I read it first. I think I do prefer the protagonists’ personalities in this one.


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