Rating: 4.5/5 stars.
I liked this book better than Anna and The French Kiss.
There, I said it.
Maybe it’s because of the story’s setting. While Anna had her amorous affair in plush Paris, Lola’s took place in the cool and stylish city of San Francisco. Her story – the story of an up-and-coming fashion designer and her feelings for the boy next door – took center stage to the setting. With Anna, I think Perkins dedicated more time to perking up her surroundings.
It could definitely be because of the character development. Lola had loads of internal conflict and conquest, though I wish her career as a designer had been further elaborated upon. I preferred Cricket to Etienne (I know, shocker) not only because of his tight pants, but because of his awkward kindness and effusive energy. Perkins earned points for including an Asian best friend, and I even liked Calliope and Norah. Oh, and Nathan and Andy. Let me devote a paragraph to Nathan and Andy.
You see, Lola’s parents are two gay men. I applaud Perkins for this, because not many authors have the initiative or the incentive to include gay parents in their books. What’s even better is that Perkins doesn’t make it a huge deal – Lola never says, oh, I have gay parents, let me randomly discuss equality and Christianity and Prop 8! Rather, Perkins subtly and indirectly characterizes Nathan and Andy to show that they really are just like any other pair of loving parents. So, kudos to Stephanie Perkins.
Overall, Lola and the Boy Next Door possesses plenty of delicious drama and clashing character motivations. Not every book has to have profound meaning – Lola’s story will make you grin and swoon and just feel good about life. I highly recommend it.