Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door (Perkins)

AUTHOR: Stephanie Perkins
SERIES: Anna and the French Kiss, book 2
PUBLISHER: Dutton Books
PUBLICATION DATE: September 29, 2011
ISBN: 9780525423287
PAGES: 338
SOURCE: public library Overdrive
GENRE: contemporary romance
GIVE IT TO: HS; fans of Anna

SUMMARY: Delores “Lola” Nolan loves costumes, her two dads, and her rocker boyfriend Max. She doesn’t even miss Cricket Bell, the boy-next-door who broke her heart two years ago; she doesn’t miss him, that is, until the Bell family moves back. Once again, Cricket and his twin sister Calliope are living right next door. And once again, despite their tumultuous history and Lola’s hottie boyfriend, Cricket seems interested in Lola.

WHAT I LIKED: An easy, fun read. Lola’s costumes are definitely over-the-top, but readers who are into costume design will love reading about Lola’s creative endeavors.

Despite his weird name, I really liked Cricket and how he wasn’t your conventional hottie-in-a-romance. He isn’t a “bad boy,” and he has no tattoos. He’s smart and crazy-tall and, let’s be honest, probably a bit on the geeky side. I kept picturing Einstein or Cosmo Kramer whenever Cricket’s standing-up hair is mentioned. Same with the high-water pants. While he’s not your typical Romeo, he’s quite refreshingly normal.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: Lola. She’s too weird for my taste, and she takes forever to finally see her boyfriend Max for what he really is. She lies frequently to pretty much everyone and gets all pouty when they call her on it. And while I love all the costume designing stuff, Lola’s wearing costumes as her normal attire is just too over-the-top for me. It’s all about Lola, and her costumes definitely scream “Look at me!”

Maybe it’s because I had little love for Lola, but for me, this one just lacks the charm of Anna and the French Kiss. I didn’t hate it or anything–it was fun and cute enough–but I won’t remember it by next week.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Cute but forgettable. Love the unconventional love interest, but the heroine is too weird.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We don’t have it, and with Lola having sex multiple times in the book (see notes below), I am not planning to get it.

READALIKES: This Is What Happy Looks Like (Smith); Anna and the French Kiss (Perkins); Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares (Levithan/Cohn)


  • Overall: 3/5
  • Creativity: 3/5–Predictable romance. I did love Lola’s costumes though!
  • Characters: 3/5–liked Cricket; Lola too weird
  • Engrossing: 4/5–some parts page-turning, some parts not
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Appeal to teens: 4/5–Fans of Anna will want to read it
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 4/5


  • Language: medium–2 fu**; a handful of sh**
  • Sexuality: medium–Lola mentions sex with boyfriend maybe three times, but nothing is described; some kissing; Lola’s two dads are gay
  • Violence: none
  • Drugs/Alcohol: mild-medium–cigarettes, marijuana
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