Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
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My Star Rating : 3.5 stars
Goodness me. I have a lot of thoughts about this book. They're all floating around in my head. Sometimes I can grasp them and form them into sentences. It's like fishing, the way my mind works. You catch em, you let em go. It's a jumble and it's a jungle. Not really. I just said jungle because it matched poetically with jumble. If my mind is like fishing it can't be a jungle too, can it? More like a swamp.
OH I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING ANYMORE!
I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't know how to form this post in a coherent way because all my thoughts about this book are quite random and don't seem to flow well onto each other.
Maybe I'll make some lists again!
I think a lot of people liked Lola & the Boy Next Door a lot more than I did. Base off of Goodreads ratings and my friends on Goodreads' ratings/reviews.
Why is this?
Perhaps it was Lola.
- I don't like Lola a whole lot. (Please don't yell at me!) I haven't read many reviews on this book but I've never come across anyone who said they didn't like her. So I'm just putting my own 'pinion out there: I did not like Lola.
- I admit she is relatable. She is quirky and daring and not boring. She is creative. She is a human, teenage girl. She is relatable to probably almost everyone (who likes YA).
- But not so much to me. She didn't do anything wrong, or anything to make me dislike her, it's just that she was presented in a way that didn't make me care for her. I didn't find myself caring about her. I sympathised... but I didn't fully empathise.
- She does not deserve Cricket (who is her soul mate, her first love and practically the PERFECT BOY). But she recognises this and acknowledges it, which actually redeemed her a little bit for me.
- Lola was delusional for the majority of the novel. I get that her situation with Max and Cricket was complex, and I do see the bad-boy appeal of Max (at the beginning he was introduced as the perfect boyfriend, and let's be honest who could resist a smoking hot, older, musician boyfriend?) but it became very clear very fast that Max was not only the wrong guy for Lola, but a bad guy in general. Meanwhile, Cricket was always there. Pretty much at Lola's beck and call. Very much charming, and very much available. The choice was (seemingly) extremely easy. But Lola held onto Max, held onto her unhealthy fantasy and drug, for too long. Lucky for Lola, Cricket was steadfast and unwavering, and simply waiting for her to be ready for him.
- Maybe one of the reasons I didn't like Lola was just how amazing a guy Cricket is. He's a great character. He's the kind of guy every girl wants as their OTL. I'm sure every girl not-so-secretly ships themselves with Cricket. He is so blindingly perfect that it's almost disgusting.
Things I Loved:
- Cricket. Obviously! See above.
- San Francisco. The setting of the novel. The gorgeous architecture, the Victorian houses all in different pastel colours, the hilly terrain. I love that city.
- "The Boy Next Door" aspect. Cricket and Lola are next door neighbours, they are in love and what's more is their bedroom windows perfectly align so they can creep on each other (or in their case, have late night moonlit conversations) through their windows. It's unrealistic, but it's one of those fairytale situations I wish I could be in. A cute boy who is in love with me, and who I'm in love with, climbing across a makeshift bridge from his window to reach my bedroom, yes, I'll take one, thanks.
Things I didn't love:
- The book cover. I don't like having real people's faces replacing the imaginary faces I form in my head from what the book describes. The cover bothers me because the girl and guy on the front are so pose-y and obvious. I thought the guy was Max at first! Not Cricket. Because the book said Max had a tattoo of a star on his hand. And then it said Cricket had all those wristbands which then made me think the guy on the front was an amalgam of both the characters (which is kinda ridiculous I know). So there was much questioning going on which I think is so completely unnecessary and takes away from story itself. And we're all here for a good ol' storytime, not to get confused by the models on the front cover.
- Lola, but I explained this already. :)