Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Rating: 3/5 stars

Part of Series?: Companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss

Goodreads Summary: 
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.
This is why I don't like spin-offs. And yes, I classify Lola and the Boy Next Door as a spin-off of Anna and the French Kiss; technically Perkins defines it as a "companion novel," but IMO, it's the same thing. Good spin-offs (e.g. Tamora Pierce's Tortall series books) can attach the reader to whoever the main character of the series is, no matter how much the author dangles the previous series' protagonists in the reader's face. Each new main character has enough vibrancy to surpass his/her predecessor. And unfortunately, I'm not sure if the eponymous Lola was able to do that.

In my defense, I read Anna and the French Kiss and then Lola and the Boy Next Door back to back, so the first book was fresh in my mind to make comparisons. And maybe, I'm just a sucker for Paris. It's a beautiful city (and I could totally recall climbing up to the top of Notre Dame AND the Arc d'Triomphe in one day--painful but nostalgic). But for some reason, I just couldn't get as attached to Lola as I was with Anna. I'm not sure why...I mean, I have a few guesses, but who knows?

First off, I want to say that Perkins is amazing in creating character depths. I thought I had each character pegged into the typical chick-lit stereotype by the second chapter, but Perkins just continued to weave each character's personality until the very last moment; none of it seemed OOC either. Example? Calliope. I love her name, but at first, I hated her. She was the snob of the book. But apparently, she has a heart after all. Also, I was definitely interested in how Perkins portrayed Lola's parents. Her two gay fathers were definitely relatable. And Norah came out and surprised me in the last few chapters. Again, bravo for the characterizations because it could've been really easy for Perkins to take the easy road and give Lola's parental figures skin-deep personalities. However, for Max, I'm not sure if I really liked how his story turned out. I felt like Perkins sort of jumped the shark with him. His character turned out to be suckish (big surprise there) in the end, but in this case I couldn't shake the idea that Perkins sort of twisted his character into the evil guy just to force a love triangle. Did I see him as the jealous type originally? Nope.

With regards to the two main characters, I felt a little bored. Usually I don't like characters like Lola who just are bedazzled inside and out. But I wasn't bothered by her costume-fetish. In fact, I was sort of apathetic towards her. She was a little too emotional, like a lovesick teenager. She reminded me of why I don't like chick-lit too much in the first place. The main characters usually get into these problematic, usually self-induced, romantic situations, and then they spend several tumultuous chapters doing next-to-nothing about it. Anyway, Cricket was okay. I could tell Perkins really tried hard to give Cricket some appeal. But compared to St. Clair in the last book, Cricket seemed a little washed out. Again, this is my biased opinion based on my general dislike of spin-offs. For me, Anna and St. Clair's cameos just made it a little more obvious that I like Paris better than San Francisco. Basically, when I was supposed to be sympathizing for Lola, I really wanted to know how Thanksgiving went with Anna and her hot, Euro boyfriend.

Overall, the book was cutsie and sweet. It definitely had some romantic, toe-curling scenes. But I found myself too distracted with comparing it to the previous book. If Lola and Cricket had come in a completely stand alone novel, maybe I would've been a little more receptive to the story.

Goodreads Review link: Clicky
Thanks for reading this review! I'm onto Betrayal by Mayandree Michel. I've heard horror stories about this one...we'll see...we'll see...

Check me out on:

No comments:

Post a Comment