I spent months dying to read this book and signing up for any and every ARC contest I saw out there in order to get this book before release. I wasn't so lucky so I had to wait until the book actually released to read it. I figured all good things are worth waiting for, and if Anna and the French Kiss was any indication of Stephanie Perkins' genius, then I knew for sure that I would love this book just as much. I was right, it was worth the wait.
Lola and the Boy Next Door is the companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss. Lola Nolan is a very unique, very talented, girl who lives in San Francisco, has two dads, dresses in costume every day, and has for a next door neighbor the dreamy Cricket Bell. We are introduced to Lola as she talks about her peculiar situation living with the two men that adopted her, her outrageous outfits and wigs she wears on a daily basis and her not-so-conventional relationship with her much older rocker boyfriend Max. Her happy thoughts are interrupted one day by the sight of the neighbors moving in next door, which are in fact the same neighbors she has had since childhood, only they moved away two years ago and now have moved back, the Bell twins.
Enter the Bell twins, Cricket and Calliope Bell. Calliope a superstar figure skater who is headed to the olympics and Cricket her twin brother who lives in her shadow. Cricket has always had a special bond with his sister Calliope and has always supported her with her figure skating career but Calliope can't see beyond her own little perfect world and fails to acknowledge that Cricket needs to live his own life too. When Cricket sets his sights on Lola, Calliope feels threatened and sabotages their budding relationship. The Bell twins then have to move away due to Calliope's practice schedule and leave Lola more confused than ever.
As time passes, Lola moves on and meets Max, a rocker who also happens to be 22 years old, 5 years older than Lola. The age difference makes for some really uncomfortable situations between Lola's dads and Max and also between Lola and Max herself. Lola is in love with Max and Max in love with her, but he is also insecure and possessive. When the Bell family moves back next door to Lola and totally throws Lola's life into a tailspin, Max becomes even more possessive and enraged at the thought of Lola's feelings for Cricket coming back.
Lola and Cricket's relationship after Cricket moves back is totally sweet and swoon worthy. Cricket confesses to Lola that he likes her, has always liked her, and Lola finds out that the event that happened 2 years ago to separate them, was fabricated by Cricket's twin sister, Calliope. As readers we bear witness to the growing love between Lola and Cricket and the angst and sweetness of a forbidden love. As they try to convince themselves that they are just friends, I found myself talking to the book and saying "oh please, you know you love HIM".
As a bonus for Stephanie Perkins fans like myself, we also get some Anna and St. Clair moments. Anna happens to be Lola's manager at the movie theater where Lola works part time and St. Clair happens to be friends and live in the same Berkeley dorm as Cricket. They play an important part in the Lola and Cricket drama and are just as charming and totally in love as in Anna and the French Kiss. I highly recommend this book. It's definitely a sweet, adorable, story that will have you clamoring for more. Stephanie Perkins really knows how to get her readers engaged and her style of writing really flows. I can't wait to see what she writes next.
(Originally reviewed at JJiReads.blogspot.com)