Friday, November 18, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

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Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Dutton, September 29, 2011

Summary from Goodreads:
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. 
When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.
There is so much to love about this book, I don't even know where to begin. Stephanie Perkins has created another tale of awesomeness. Lola is the epitome of quirkiness. She really is a good student, daughter, friend, and girlfriend. She is her own person, no matter what others think of her. She has two dads, but that's just a fact in this book, not a driving plot line. (yay!) And almost best of all? Anna and St. Clair are back! Double yay!!

But you know what I loved best about Lola? Are you ready? 

She's, like, legally blind without her glasses. It was so refreshing to read a book with a main character with poor vision. Dude, there are tons of us with visual difficulties out there, yet very few novels--YA or not--contain characters who have less than perfect vision. Or, if they do wear glasses or contacts, it's just mentioned, not the difficulties that can arise when your glasses break or contacts rip. I LOVE that Stephanie covered these topics in this book. And again, Lola's eyesight wasn't a major plot point, she didn't spend hours bemoaning her poor vision or researching LASIK surgery. Lola's poor vision is just a part of her...and for someone who's been wearing glasses since she was 5 (and contacts since 9), it was nice to be able to relate with a character in that way.

Two things I wasn't crazy about? Cricket's twin sister, Calliope, and Lola's boyfriend, Max. SHE is just a manipulative, conniving, spoiled brat, and does not deserve to have the incredible Cricket as her brother. Max is just a jerk. The age difference between Max and Lola is the same difference between my husband and I, except we were 18 and 23 to Lola and Max's 17 and 22. Still, if my husband had ever treated me the way Max treated Lola, well, let's just say he wouldn't be my husband today. 

Regardless of my feelings for Max and Calliope, they were still driving forces in this novel, and besides, it really says something about Stephanie Perkins as an author that she can create characters that make me feel so strongly about them, whether in a positive or negative way. Basically, I love to hate them.

If you read and loved Anna and the French Kiss, well, you've probably already read Lola and the Boy Next Door. If you haven't read either one, what are you waiting for? If you love contemporary fiction, you will adore Stephanie Perkins' novels!

Borrowed book from the library.
Enjoy your reading!

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