Lola and the Boy Next Door is the second novel in the Anna and the French Kiss companion series by Stephanie Perkins. In this installment, fashion lover Lola Nolan wants nothing more than two things: for her parents to approve of her older boyfriend and for the Bells to never move next door again. Since Lola had a bad experience when she fell for Cricket Bell, the boy next door, she hopes to never see him again. However, much to her dismay, the Bells move back into town.
When I was in high school, I loved Lola and the Boy Next Door. Out of all the books in the Anna and the French Kiss companion series, it was always my favorite. While I still enjoy some elements of this story, there are other aspects that really aren’t my cup of tea after rereading it now.
I think one of my biggest problems with this series now is the main character, Lola. However, there are also several parts of her personality that rub me the wrong way. Lola constantly lies to many characters throughout the novel; including her boyfriend, Cricket, and her parents. Additionally, THIS. Normally, this wouldn’t bother me, but I think Lola believes she is extremely mature for dressing however she wants, dating an older guy, and doing “mature” activities. While some of these instances could be attributed to her age, and in those cases I can’t fault her actions, I do believe she sometimes acts even more immature than a sixteen-year-old.
Another problem that I had with this book was the confusing message surrounding Lola’s clothes. Throughout the book, Lola’s clothes are either thrown in her face, she’s lying about who she and she just does it for attention, or hailed for representing how she is as a person. I think in the end with Lola’s outfit to the dance, it’s supposed to give the message that she can still look like her while dressing in costume every day. However, I know that didn’t really come across clearly as I read this book when I was the same age as Lola.
One part of this book that I still love after all these years in the love interest, Cricket Bell. While his name is unfortunate, I still really like him as a character and his relationship with Lola. Cricket is a genuinely nice guy who respects Lola and her interests. Additionally, he makes an honest effort to earn the respect of her parents, be friends with her best friends, and help her succeed in her projects. While I do think the whole Alexander Graham Bell part of his story is completely unnecessary, I overall like his part in the story.
Even though I don’t love Lola and the Boy Next Door as much as I did when I was younger, it still brings back a lot of good reading memories. Overall, Lola and the Boy Next Door is a cute, fluffy book that you can have fun reading. I give Lola and the Boy Next Door three stars.