Book Review | Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

2/5 stars

Everyone who knows Lola Nolan knows that she’s anything but ordinary. With her outrageous outfits (she believes that costumes every day is the key to a fabulous day), she’s hard to miss. Add a 22 year old tattooed, band member boyfriend, and Lola thinks she has it good.

Then he comes back. The boy next door moves back home, and back into Lola’s life, disrupting everything. In this young adult novel, Perkins creates a story of friendships and budding romance, told from the story of a unique 17 year old girl.

I noticed while writing the synopsis that I always write the synopsis in favour of the book… Even if I hate it. Why do I do that? Anyways, as you can tell by the 2/5 stars, I was quite disappointed with this novel. I loved, loved, loved Anna and the French Kiss, and was very eager to read about Lola. I know that these are separate books and that I shouldn’t make comparisons, but honestly this book… How can you not compare it? In Anna, the characters actually seemed well rounded to me, and believable. In Lola? Not so much. Not at all, actually.

First of all Lola herself. She’s a year younger than me, and I felt secondhand embarrassment while reading the novel. It isn’t even what she wears, I’m all for letting people wear what they want (although that is another thing about the book that isn’t quite believable), but it was her attitude. I swear all she does in the book is complain and whine about her own problems. I think Perkins tried to make Lola too different, to make her novel stand out. And her novel did stand out, in a bad way. Lola thinks of herself as “unique”, but guess what girl, everyone is unique in their own way, just because you think you’re different doesn’t mean you are.

The other characters…I couldn’t make myself feel anything for any of them. They were too boxed in their specific categories. Dickhead punk, hot nerd, ice cold talented bitch, nerdy girl… And the list goes on.

I’m making this a spoiler free review like all my other reviews, so don’t worry about any spoilers. But okay, Lola was so damn worried about Cricket moving back in, and I was thinking like, ‘oh my gosh, maybe he cheated on her? Maybe, oh god… Did he rape her?’ And along the lines of that. When I actually found out what happened between them I was like… Wait what. What. What. That’s it? I mean…. Life happens, get over it.

Anna and St. Clair make many appearances throughout the novel, and honestly I loved Anna and the French Kiss, but in Lola, they annoyed me. Not as much as the other characters, but they still slightly did. They come off as the ‘perfect couple’, and they’ve only been dating for a couple months. I mean, of course, all couples start off like that. My own parents met and married in 6 months, and they’re still going strong. But Anna and St. Clair are so young, and they’re planning a future, and they seem too in love. That sounds so stupid, but I personally felt that they were going too fast. I mean, have sex, go for it, but planning your future together, that’s scary, because if something happens, and you don’t have plan b, what’s going to happen?

The only reason I’m giving this novel a 2/5 is because Stephanie Perkins’ writing style is marvellous. It’s the only thing that kept me reading. I just wish she hadn’t tried to make the story so ‘different’, she doesn’t need to. She’s very talented, and I hope Isla and the Happily Ever After showcases her talents better.

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