Saturday, 20 September 2014

Lola And The Boy Next Door Book Review

My goodness, it's been an age! I'm so sorry, I can't believe it's been almost three months since I last
posted. I am very sorry; it's been so hectic lately juggling proper work, editing my manuscript, writing the next manuscript in my series and reading books, and writing up reviews just hasn't found itself a place in between it all, which makes me sad because I love writing things for this blog, and I love interacting with you guys, I'm just hella busy. I am very sorry.

In better news, today I shall be reviewing a book called Lola and the Boy Next Door, by Stephanie Perkins, who I have now deemed the Contemporary Queen.

Anyways, for those who do not know, LATBND is the sequel to Anna and the French Kiss, which I read and wrote up a review for. You can find this review here. I really liked Anna and the French Kiss, so when I came across LATBND in my library, I just had to pick it up.

This book is about Lola Nolan, an aspiring fashion designer. She has the perfect life- a great best friend, loving parents, a passion for all things fashionable and a rock-band boyfriend. Well, it seems like the perfect life, until the Bell twins return to the house next door.

Twins Calliope and Cricket were two people Lola hoped to never she again, and on the return, her whole world is turned around and she has to deal with years of heartbreak and confusion caused by one of the Bell twins in particular- Cricket.

And yet again, Stephanie Perkins made me feel like, a), I do not have a very exciting life, and b), totally jealous because I can't for the life of me write cute, fluffy contemporaries like she can. I loved this book, it was in some ways, better than AATFK. However, I love both of them, so I highly suggest you read them and then you can come back here and discuss with us about the book! Okay, bye!

Well, this book left me awestruck and amazed and enlightened and just good, and I would even go as far to say that maybe, just maybe, I liked it better than AATFK. Maybe.

As soon as we were introduced to Lola, I was hoping and praying for Anna and Étienne to make an appearance, because I started seeing similarities in Étienne and Lola. I knew they'd make great friends. And when they did show up, I was ecstatic, mainly because not only did I get a glimpse into their life after the end of AATFK, they were also rather important in the actual story of this book, especially Étienne.

It was easy to see the parallels between Étienne and Ellie and Lola and Max. And towards the end of the book, when Lola started to wonder what her relationship with Max was going towards, I imagined Étienne thinking exactly the same things.

And that's one of the things I love about Stephanie Perkins. I've said this before, I'll say it again. Her characters and their situations are so real. Of course a pretty, talented and outgoing girl like Lola would have a boyfriend. And I find that in a lot of YA romances, the gorgeous, wonderful female protagonist doesn't have her eye on anyone, let alone an actual boyfriend. It's just so much more complex and realistic and it makes for a better all-round story, which makes me as a reader very happy.

Another thing that I can now confirm about Stephanie Perkins is that she doesn't just have one story and one set of characters that she uses over and over again. One of my main fears when reading a sequel to a book that has a different set of characters to the first one is that these new characters are just going to be based off the original characters, and just thrown into a vaguely different situation. That isn't what happened in this book. Lola was so, so different to Anna. Where Anna is very worried and highly-strung, Lola is free-spirited and strong-willed. Again I bring up the point that she was more like Étienne than Anna. She had this flair and freeness about her which I seriously loved reading. Even though I am much more like Anna, reading Anna is like reading a gust of wind- calming, peaceful and easy. Reading Lola was like reading a firework- unpredictable and different. I like reading about both girls, but I was just so impressed at how different they really were.

Then there's Étienne and Cricket. Cricket is more quiet, and he was such a sweetheart. Everything he did was genuinely in the best interest of others, and he was just a good person. It's not that common to read a boy like Cricket in YA; most love interests have a very sassy, cocky feel to them, but Cricket was very sweet and quiet and he cared. Étienne was very much more the sassy, charming French Prince, and even though he was a great, fun character, I felt myself "awwww"-ing more whilst reading about Cricket. Honestly, though, if you asked me to choose one, I couldn't, because I love them both.

Just a sidenote, one of my favourite things in this book were the parallels in Cricket and Étienne's heights- Étienne is constantly picked on for being short, whereas Cricket is constantly picked on for being tall. It was really quite gorgeous to see.

Let's talk about Max. I knew he wasn't going to be as perfect as Lola narrated him as, especially once she explained that not only was he twenty-two, he also had a rock band, tattoos and was a bit of a jerk. Even she could admit that. He was just generally not very nice, especially when he kept saying stuff like having brunch with her parents was a burden. He was also super possessive, which I never like in a male character. He wasn't so much controlling as he was jealous, but the way he made her feel guilty for even just talking to Cricket bordered on the controlling side. I was glad when she finally broke up with him, and he finally let everyone know what he thought about Lola. I was even more suspicious, because I only recently read Breaking Beautiful, where there is a major plot twist in the love interest's character… Although I highly recommend it, so if you like crime and mystery stories, try Breaking Beautiful!

Back onto LATBND. This was a delightful book filled with cutesy romance, cutesy characters, cutesy scenes and just all round Stephanie Perkins perfectness. It was a joy to read and I am anxiously awaiting to get my hands on a copy of Isla and the Happily Ever After, and wondering whether Lola, Anna and co. will make cameos! (also pet hate of mine I've seen a few people calling Isla "is-la". It's pronounced "eye-la", as confirmed by SP herself. I just want to clear this up for people before they read the book so their entire world doesn't come crashing down when they realise they've been saying Isla wrong.)

Anyways have a wonderful day and I shall see you all soon!

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