Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Lola and the Boy Next Door
Publisher: Dutton/Penguin Young Readers
Released: September 29, 2011
Genre: YA Romance
Author's Website: http://stephanieperkins.com/
Lola has it great - almost. She has a super-cool boyfriend, but her dads are annoyingly overprotective of her and disapproving of Max. But her near-perfection ends when an old neighbor moves back in - a neighbor that hurt her terribly before. But Cricket must be dealt with, and Lola realizes quickly that they must deal with the feelings they had, and apparently still have, for each other.
The thing about this book is that it's not only about romance. The romance is great - alternately sizzling and sweet, the perfect combination. And Cricket is the perfect romantic male lead - he's sensitive but strong, considerate and cool, devoted and dashing. I love how he is introduced slowly to the reader, so that at first you see him how Lola sees him, but eventually you get glimpses into his life that Lola doesn't always pick up on. And the way they have to deal with Lola's dads adds so much to the romantic element of this Young Adult story.
But the main lesson Lola learns is not about romance, it's about herself and about identity. It's amazing the way Stephanie sets this up, so subtly that throughout the first (larger) half of the book, I didn't see this coming, but as soon as she introduces it, it's so obvious. I wish I could be more specific, but I don't want to ruin this part for you. Suffice it to say, this is as much a coming-of-age novel as it is a romance!
And I loved seeing Anna and St. Clair in brief glimpses. I love how they're there, but the story is not about them, because their story is finished. But seeing their relationship, now solid and stable, in action, was a warm and welcome continuation. I hope we get to see both Anna and Lola in the next book!