Monday, October 17, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Book Jacket

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.


Perkins has a knack for writing absolutely absorbing stories (she also wrote Anna and the French Kiss).  I started Lola at breakfast, continued it during my lunch break, then went home and read it until it was done.  I couldn't stop! 

I happen to be in awe of manic pixie dream girls, but I know many people find them unrealistic and tiresome.  I believe that Perkins has successfully written a MPDG that everyone can understand and empathize with, and that is no small feat.  It helps that Lola's world is generally more fantastical than real life.  She wears elaborate costumes.  Her neighbors are professional ice skaters and genius inventors.  She's dating a rock star.  Her dads are overprotective and her mom is an embarrassment trying to make things right.  Everything is over the top, and I love it.

However.  The spectacularness of the book is given gravity by the simplicity of its story.  Girl likes boy, and boy likes girl.  Misunderstanding occurs!  Girl and boy have to work through it.  All ends well.  Perkins' characters are believable and relatable, even though I've never once met an inventor or rock star.

Also, Cricket?  Is completely wonderful.  I want my own boy next door.

Five out of five colored wigs.

Release Date:  September 2011
Reading Level: Grade 9+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: YPL PER

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