Limonessa's Reviews > Lola and the Boy Next Door

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
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bookshelves: ya-lit, 3-neurons-involved

The thing about Lola and the boy next door is that, since it's a companion book, it's inevitable to make a comparison with Anna and the French Kiss which, in this case, comes out as a disadvantage because, as far as I am concerned, Anna is the absolute winner.

Lola is a really cute story: she is a quirky, raised by gay parents, unique teenage girl.
When her first crush and ex-neighbor, Cricket, reappears on her doorstep after two years, things get complicated because Lola already has a boyfriend, Max, five years older than her, much more experienced.
As Cricket slowly worms his was back into her life - and into her heart - Lola will have to learn how to be honest with herself - and she will learn it the hard way.

I'll admit I had high expectations for this book and while it's certainly enjoyable and relaxing, it failed to deliver repeatedly for me.
Whereas Anna's story, while still being fluffy, was more believable, less shallow and more charming, Lola's story was definitely more clichéd, more puerile and felt forced in more than one occasion.

The most striking example of this "forcedness" is Max.
I didn't like how he first gets presented as an awesome boyfriend and then, quite conveniently, ends up being the asshole in a total unreasonable way. It was done unreasonably and felt so contrived, that when he does become an asshole and I was supposed to despise him I just couldn't bring myself to and I still liked him from before!

I wonder if it all has to do with the fact that the 5 years of difference in age between Lola and Max are taken as a big NO NO right from the start, because frankly, I didn't buy it. I had a 22 years old boyfriend when I was 17 and it was NOT a big deal. But, since it's taken for granted here that Max is too old for Lola, let's just make him the EVIL guy. The way the author deals with his character royally pissed me off. It wasn't smooth AT ALL.
But the same goes for the other characters: basically, they were just too black or white, they lacked depth and originality: Cricket was just too damn good for his own sake, Max too damn bad (kind of in a beautiful and damned way), Lola too damn in self denial: what she says to Max when she goes to his apartment? So not cool, girl. My eye was twitching madly during that passage.

Still, it's a book I'd recommend if you're looking for something quite readable and relaxing AND you loved Anna. Perkins certainly knows how to write a story and make her dialogues interesting. It's a colorful book, as colorful as its cover, despite the psycho-looking girl there.
I just wish there had been a little more to it, a bit more substance. Anna was definitely more fun for me.
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Reading Progress

June 22, 2011 – Shelved
October 16, 2011 – Started Reading
October 16, 2011 –
30.0% "Geez, after that horde of conniving b*tches, I REALLY needed this."
October 18, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-29 of 29 (29 new)

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Aly (Fantasy4eva) I hear that it's not as good as the first. Liking it? ;)

Limonessa I have to confess, a lot so far. It's fun.

message 3: by Giselle (new) - added it

Giselle I just got this in the mail last week. The reviews have been mostly on the good side. I was a big fan of Anna so let's hope I love this one as much. I agree it's going to be compared to it a lot if I want to or not. About the age difference, my husband is 4 years older than me and it's nothing... so I find it weird that it's taken as a "no no" Hmm... I'll be reading this next week anyways. We'll see.

Nomes Fab review. I felt the same way. many things irked me and I felt rather disengaged throughout :/

(I will write my review... soon ;))

Chachic Hey Lisa, I felt kind of the same way - I didn't like this one as much as Anna but I still recommend it to fans of contemporary YA. I didn't like Max because I didn't feel like he was the right guy for Lola and it took too long for them to break up.

Nomes I could have like Max, but I am not sure we were even supposed too? and he had a pretty evil (but predictable) character assassination as well. When authors do that, I do not feel irked by the character, but rather by the author. Argh.

I also struggled with tension in the plot in general. It felt more like lots of random side plots but no main plot, if that makes any sense? Made me disengage.

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh Max he was brilliant at the start but then it was like wait, wait he's supposed to be an asshole so lets just flip that switch. I think it was a big no cos it makes for illegal sexytimes but I know I kept forgetting that as well, americas so uptight.

Limonessa It felt too convenient, they were so predictable! My jaw dropped (view spoiler)
I thought in Anna the plot was developed better.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) What?! An entire review and you didn't invent a single new word?! That wasn't the deal! One word per review, lady.

Limonessa You're right, how BORING am I?!

oliviasbooks I felt the same way about Max, the age-difference-"problem" and the sudden Janus-face-act, Lisa. Well expressed.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Lisa O. wrote: "You're right, how BORING am I?!"

Lovely, I spend most of my free time with you. If you're boring, I guess that means I'm crazy. Oh, wait...

message 14: by Rachele (new)

Rachele Alpine Great review! I'm looking forward to reading this, but I haven't had the time yet.

Limonessa Thanks Rachele. I hope you enjoy it!

message 16: by Gordon (new)

Gordon I don't think it's the five years as much as their respective ages, she is 17, a minor and he has been an adult for four years now. He should be a college grad while she could still be in high school. As a dad now of teen girls I would have a real problem with a grown man, wanting to date my still teen daughter. That said, Ilona was 18 and I was 23 when we met but she was 18, legal and we were both in college.

Limonessa Gordon,
high school as opposed to college grad might be a point but 17 as opposed to 18 doesn't really change that much in my opinion. I don't think you become mature all of a sudden once you turn 18.
As for being legal, I can assure you it's cultural and it doesn't really hold the same importance here in Europe. Maybe that is the reason I perceived it as a bit exaggerated.

Heidi I agree with you about Max....I did not like the all of a sudden ugliness it didn't fit and I agree about the characters lacking depth like her dad Nathan..where was he ? I definitley preferred Anna but I ended up loving the end so I went with four stars. I wish she wouldn't title her books so predictably!

Limonessa That is a good point, about the title. I mean, we know even how Isla is going to end right? :D

message 20: by P.E. (new) - rated it 3 stars

P.E. I finished Lola and feel the same way. I don't think Max's character was well treated, both with the age thing and how he was made the bad guy in the end.

You said everything I was thinking in a way that makes sense to other. great review!

Limonessa Thanks P.E.!

Ebehi I agree with how she dealt with Max. It was just too convenient how she tried to make him the bad guy in the end. From the beginning, it was clear that their relationship had a few issues like how they didn't really like each other's friends, and it would have been fine if we worked with that, but the whole lolita thing felt too contrived.

Ronyell Awesome review Lisa! I agree that making Max seem like the bad guy was a little too forced.

message 24: by Leah (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leah "The most striking example of this "forcedness" is Max.
I didn't like how he first gets presented as an awesome boyfriend and then, quite conveniently, ends up being the asshole in a total unreasonable way. It was done unreasonably and felt so contrived, that when he does become an asshole and I was supposed to despise him I just couldn't bring myself to and I still liked him from before!"

-This. So much. I hope you don't mind if I quote you in my review, because this is exactly how I felt while I was reading the book, as I saw how Max was being forced into this evil boyfriend character.

Limonessa Quote away, no prob. I'm glad so many people had the same problems I had with this book, especially in regard to Max. Poor guy.

Megan I totally see where you're coming from, but I just wanted to say that we have to look at it a little bit differently when it's first person perspective (or so I think). When you're blind with love it's very hard to see the bad things until... well, you do. Then everything sort of hits you at once and the good is hard to find anymore. So that's how I chose to look at it -- Lola brushed it off more or less with ease out of love, and so that's how it was presented to us since she was the narrator. :)

Monica A. I'm actually reading it right now and I only made it to chapter 3 cause it was a bit predictable for me and I usually look out for your reviews because quite frankly they are head on and I praise your taste in books. :) Thanks, Lisa and I guess I'll try to give this book a chance.

message 28: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Hyslop I totally agree with everything you said!

message 29: by ELIZABETH DURAN (new)

ELIZABETH DURAN Dad said the day of my life with a nap

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