Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

I quickly needed a short and sunny read to wash out the bad after taste of the last book I read, and I picked out 'Lola and the next door boy' on an impulse. I had wanted to read the 'Anna and the French kiss' before this book, being the first of the series and all, but couldn't find it on my book pile.

At a time when my Facebook wall is filled with pompous quotes from Augustus and Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars, Lola's teenage love story came out as a refresher. It accomplished what I wished for. A quick breezy, light hearted distraction from all the chaos around me, without trying to be more than what it is. Don't get me wrong, I do love reading about nerdy teens, even nerdy dying teens but that was not exactly what I wanted read just now.

Book: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Fiction - Romance, Young Adult
Main Characters: Lola Nolan (Dolores Nolan), Cricket Bell, Calliope Bell, Max, Andy and Nathan Nolan, Nora h Nolan
Setting: San Francisco, California (United States)

Dolores Nolan, a costume designer of 17, almost perfect daughter to her two dads and a part time worker at movie theatre. She is desperately in love with Max who is all coolness personified - a tattooed band musician with bleached hair roots of 22 years. She is pretty smitten over him, much like her namesake. She tries to earn her fathers' blessings and freedom from their Sunday brunches with her boyfriend and check-ins through hourly calls. The parents and her best friend, Lindsey try to voice their concern over their age difference.

The story takes a turn when her first love, Cricket Bell (More about the name later) and his family return to their house after two years. His twin Calliope is national competitive figure skater and that explains the Bells' constant migration. The plot is simple and straightforward. A love triangle, in which Cricket loves Lola, finds out she has a cooler boyfriend and stays away for a while and then decides to try being just friends with her. Lola is unable to choose between cool and older Max or the childhood best friend and sweetheart, nerdy Cricket and is told off by the possessive evil twin Calliope.

Max goes on a short band tour and Lola gets busy preparing her Mary Antoinette costume for the school dance with help from Cricket. Jealousy ensue and Lola and Max break up when she realizes he loves her as his Lolita than as Lola and he realizes she has been hanging out with Cricket behind his back. She and Cricket get back together, when Lola helps Calliope with her costume, and takes her to the dance in her costume.

I loved the writing. It is a simple story, boy-girl break up, girl dates someone else, boy-girl meet again, gets back together after heart aches (and few sad tunes if it were a movie). I liked the way each character was described just the right depth without dragging the story line, yet deep enough to understand them.

I found it really hard to like Lola - for a 17 year old she is pretty dumb to be chasing a 22 old guy. Wait, that's love - I am overlooking it. But she is too selfish, lying pretty much to everyone, ditching her best friend, and letting Max walk over Lindsey at every opportunity and then later gets completely dependent on Cricket for everything. And what was the author thinking when she named a lead 'Cricket'? He is Mr. Nice that's it. Nothing to be liked about nor hated. But when he is with Lola he is just happy being a doormat. Wait again, it is love. Then what is this being a toy to his possessive sister? Both the male and female leads didn't personally appeal to me, but I liked the gushy love story.

Few Cute Lines from the book

What do you say to someone who is not the same and yet completely the same?"

"The comfortable manner between them makes it appear they’ve been friends just as long. I suppose when one overly kind person and one overly outgoing person become friends, it’s easy like that."

" When two people are in love, it’s supposed to work. It has to work. No matter how difficult the circumstances are. "

"Every answer is the wrong one."

"that’s the thing about depression. When I feel it deeply, I don’t want to let it go. It becomes a comfort. I want to cloak myself under its heavy weight and breathe it into my lungs. I want to nurture it, grow it, cultivate it. It’s mine. I want to check out with it, drift asleep wrapped in its arms and not wake up for a long, long time."

Oh, there is also yet another love story on the sidelines, "Anna and St Clair" from the book one, which made me feel I have to read that book but not right now... I will wait for my next mood out or another bad book ;)

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