Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Released September 29, 2011.
Lola’s clothes are beyond fashion, they are costume and she is proud of it. She has a hot rocker boyfriend, who is 5 years older. She has two great dads who may be strict, but they adore her. The only trouble is they don’t adore her boyfriend at all. She also has a mother who struggles with addiction and homelessness, and whom Lola tries to minimize contact with. But Lola has things pretty much under control until the Bell twins move back in next door. There is Calliope Bell, the famous ice skater, but even more devastating is the return of Cricket Bell, who broke Lola’s heart two years ago. Now Lola has a life she’s built for herself, but there’s no denying that her feelings are still there for Cricket along with a tingly connection that she feels only with him.
Perkins returns with another gem of a romantic novel that is sure to be very popular with teen readers. She once again features a strong and unique heroine who is a charming mix of confidence and doubt. Lola is also smart and funny, making her a pleasure to spend time with. Perkins also excels at having sexually active characters who don’t regret their sexuality. Her female protagonists feel lust as well as love, making them very believable teen characters.
Lola is a great lead character, and Perkins surrounds her with other strong characters as well. From her fathers who are gay men written without any stereotyping to Cricket himself to her best friend, all of them are well-rounded and interesting. There are a couple of characters who are written less positively, like Calliope Bell and Lola’s mother. Even these characters are well developed and reach beyond what could have been cardboard depictions.
If you loved Anna and the French Kiss, you must get your hands on this companion novel and meet Lola. Appropriate for ages 14-17.
Reviewed from ARC received from Dutton Books.
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