Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The second book in the series follow anna to San Francisco, but tells the story of Lola. Lola is a unique girl with a penchant for fashion and boy troubles. Mainly, an older boy(friend) that her parents don’t approve of. After falling in love with Anna and the French Kiss, I was excited to immediately begin Lola and the Boy Next Door. While it is still a good book, I didn’t connect with the main character as much as I did the first book. It takes a while for you to fall in love with the book and Lola grows on you as the story progresses.
I was happy to see more of ANna and St. Clair, as theirs was the story that I fell in love with. Anna reads as older than she is, in my opinons. Where she seemed like a twenty-year-old college student in the first novel, she now feels older even though its only been a few months. Her relationship with Etienne, as well as her demeanor, make them feel like theyre now in their mid-twenties… or maybe they’re just starting to feel like a happy, married couple.
Lola is faced with one of those typical YA love triangles – she’s in a relationship but she’s faced with unresolved feelings for another boy. Its obvious and you know who she’s going to end up with at the end. A relationship isn’t right if you are uncomfortable imagining a future with them – or if you fall for someone else. Love and committment don’t lead to considering other people.
All that being said, I much prefer Cricket as her suitor than Max (so I shant complain that Lola questions her feelings). He doesn’t have a fiery temper, he’s kind and thoughtful, plus he’s creative and smart in the way that inventors are. Max is angsty and although he’s there for Lola, its more superficial and forced than it should be. He once said, “Do you have any idea what I’ve put up with to be with you?” You shouldn’t have to put up with things. You do them because you love the person and it makes them happy.
Anna sums up the dilemma beautifully, “Sometimes a mistake isn’t a what. It’s a who.” Her mistake is Max, but it will take her time to discover that. Even her friendship with Cricket is more healthy and full of love, than the lustful one she has with Max. Let’s be honest when she says, “I care about you. I want to be connected to you.” even though it’s only in her head, you know who she’s going to end up with. She just hasn’t admitted it yet.
While I haven’t fallen in love with Lola like I did Anna, there are still characters that I’ve fallen for in this novel. Cricket, the boy next door, is lovable because he’s kind, a little unsure of himself and so self-less. He’s an architect, an inventor, a creator and must learn to take pride in what he’s good at. I’m fond of her best friend, Lindsey, although I find her woefully underdeveloped. (But who can’t fall in love with the introverted, studious best friend with a Nancy Drew book collection, detective obsession, and desire to be a spy? That was my entire childhood.)
Calliope is the golden child, who is too possessive over her brother and takes on the role of mean girl in this novel. Late in the book there’s a moment that gives much-needed depth to her character when Lola fixes her costume and she realizes that her family needs to appreciate Cricket more. Overall, the characters seemed more developed in the first book so I’m a little disappointed by the new ones.
“You have to do the hard thing… you have to be honest with yourself.” You should not stay in a relationship, the wrong relationship, because you are only delaying the time until you find yourself in the right one. Why be unhappy longer than you need to be? The author portrays this wonderfully and maybe readers can learn from Lola’s missteps. She also shows you how to be the person they deserve to love. If you feel that you don’t yet deserve them, earn it. It’s a good lesson for anyone to learn.
The author description of Calliope’s ice skating actually gave me chills. Although I don’t know what all the technically terms translate to visually, I could still imagine her routine and the emotion of the arena.
The ending was great, as the author leaves the reader satisfied but wanting to hear more of the story. There are no glaring cliff-hangers or unresolved plot points. Of course, you want to know if Calliope goes to the Olympics and does well – but maybe that will be addressed in Isla’s book.
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