May 27, 2013

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

By: Stephanie Perkins
Published: September 2011 by Dutton
Format: Hardback, 338 pages
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
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“I know you aren't perfect. But it's a person's imperfections that make them perfect for someone else.”

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Rating: 3.5/5

I cannot believe I've had this book since its release and I'm just now getting around to reading it. Having loved Anna and the French Kiss for so many reasons, I think I was just worried this wouldn't live up to the brilliance that was Anna's story. Sadly, it didn't for me.

Don't get me wrong. I very much enjoyed this. It's one I would reread and recommend to others. But it was just cute. It didn't have enough substance for me. It had tons of elements, the characters had tons of quirks and problems, the plot was realistic and held enough drama, but nothing really grabbed me and held me down and said READ ME AND FEEL ALL THE FEELS. (Oh the irony of me using caps when one of the annoyances I had in this was with the caps.)

I didn't much like Lola, for example. It's understandable that people make mistakes and don't always make the right decision, or make the right decision in a quick time frame, and realistic that she would get torn between two boys, but sometimes I just wanted to go, "Girl, come on. You have to realize how many people you're involving and hurting now." Though I felt for her sometimes, but not enough. I felt much more for those around her, and I found myself torn between liking and disliking some characters. Cricket, for me, was very lovable. I wasn't sure how I'd like him at first, but I ended up caring about him and cheering for him, and I probably felt the most for him than any other character. Though Perkins did do a great job developing her characters. I just think what lacked was the emotional tie to them like I had in Anna. But I did absolutely love seeing Anna and Etienne in this. Loved it. They weren't just walk-over cameos either; they were involved. It was probably my favorite part of this.

The story itself was cute. It was just cute. And I think what set Anna apart from just another cute story was that it held a lot of emotion and really deep meaning, while Lola had meaning, but I didn't feel that meaning deep within myself. Though the plot was well done and paced well. I never wanted to stop reading, and I read through it in one setting. What I loved most was that Perkins involved more than just the main characters and a friend or two. Lola's parents were involved and not just some random people we see or hear of every now and again, Cricket's sister was a realistic protective sister, and I really liked the addition of Aleck because it added another level to Cricket's family dynamics.

Overall, I think I'm comparing it too much to Anna, though it's kind of hard not to when it's one of your favorites. But Lola is a good read within itself. It's adorable and fun and while some bits can be SLIGHTLY IRRITATING, I think it's well worth the read.

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