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I still remember being so excited to read Lola when it was first released back in 2011. I loved Anna and the French Kiss and needed to get my hands on more of Stephanie Perkins writing. Although I think I liked Anna a tiny bit more than Lola (the books, not the actual characters), I still really enjoyed this book. Especially Cricket! Sadly, the release of Isla and the Happily Ever After has been pushed back so many times that I won’t believe it’s out until I have an actual copy in my hands. I get that the book wasn’t ready, but from a reader’s perspective it sucks. Especially after they changed the gorgeous covers! In preparation for Isla, I wanted to listen to the audiobook of one of the previous books. Since I hate accents (sorry St. Claire), I went with Lola and the Boy Next Door. I still loved this book as much as I did 3 years ago…
Lola was such a fascinating character for me. Her mom didn’t want her and gave her up to her brother and she’s been raised by two dads. I loved how Lola was always so proud of her parents, even when she was annoyed at them. Lola’s fun and quirky but her fashion side is what really made me connect with her. I could always visually all her outfits and would love to be able to see them in real life. Lola has a pretty cool job, some great friends, awesome parents and a hot, older rocker boyfriend, Max. But when the Bell twins move back into the house next door, Lola’s life changes.
Lola and the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, were close growing up. Lola and Calliope were friends and Lola always had a crush for Cricket. Both those friendships ended on a bad note. But seeing Cricket again brings up all those old feelings of attraction and hurt all over again. Despite this, she ends up rekindling her friendship with Cricket. Even though they both obviously want more. But, Lola has a boyfriend and she’s determined to stay with him. This was always such a frustrating part of the story for me. Lola obviously has strong feelings for Cricket, no matter how much she tries to deny it. Cricket lets her know more than once that he has feelings for Lola, but Lola is so stuck with her boyfriend who is an asshole. I couldn’t see why she wanted to stay with Max and couldn’t help thinking it was only because he was older and a musician. I was so annoyed at Lola, especially towards the end for how she treated Cricket and would string him along. Luckily, there was so damn much to love about Cricket that it made it easier to overlook my annoyance with Lola.
Ah, Cricket Bell. One of the rare and few good guys that make your heart melt. I probably liked his charcater more this time around. He was always so sweet to Lola, even if I sometimes felt she didn’t deserve it. The window conversations between them were the best! It was so nice to see so many appearances from Anna and St. Claire. They are so damn adorable together, their scenes made me want to go back and reread Anna and the French Kiss. I really love Stephanie Perkins writing and her characters. I love how despite their flaws, you can’t help but love them. I’m so excited to FINALLY read Isla and the Happily Ever After!
Audiobook Comments: Being able to revisit your old favorite stories is another reason why I love audiobooks. Lola is a story I’ve been wanting to re-read for a long time but couldn’t find time to fit it in. Listening to the audio was a perfect solution, I got to re-experience the story and it didn’t cut into my actual reading time since I listen to audiobooks mostly while cook or do chores. It had been a while since I read this, (3 years!) but Shannon McManus was such a perfect Lola. She was able to pull off her quirkiness and unique personality. She was great at doing Cricket’s voice, Lola’s parent’s voice, Anna’s voice, even Cricket’s voice! I loved how her Max voice fit his ‘who cares’ attitude. Shannon doesn’t narrate Anna so I’m assuming someone else will also narrate Isla. I would buy another audiobook by this narrator
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
In Lola and the Boy Next Door, Lola “Life’s a costume party” Nolan, is in a relationship with an older musician when her old crush Cricket moves back next door after a few years absence. They departed on awkward terms, and his return brings back some old feelings. Cricket is sweet and nerdy, and with his own quirky sense of style and now that he’s back things are about to get complicated.
This book is fun to revisit in audio format and fall in love with the characters again. The tricky thing with reading the book first, though, is that I already had an idea of what I thought Lola should sound like. My impression of book-Lola is that she’s adventurous, dramatic, and a little kooky. And audio-Lola didn’t quite line up with what I had in mind. McManus’ delivery is more subdued and mature than I expected I guess. It’s almost like the narrator’s for Anna and Lola should switch places, because the Anna narrator was quite bubbly. But overall McManus does a nice job with the different characters and their personalities. Her character differentiation is subtle and not over the top, yet it is easy to tell the characters apart. She handles the voices of different genders and accents pretty well, and I thought she did a great job with Cricket, Max, and the two dads in particular.
In terms of the story itself, I think it holds up pretty well. I liked all the quirky character traits and the fun Perkins has with setting. There is a good balance of serious family stuff, romance, and friendship. And I liked that Lola has a job and we see her working at the movie theatre. As a fan of Anna it’s great to see Anna and St. Clair appear in this book so we can check in with them. But on the other hand it’s a testament to Perkins that I wished they were in the book a little less so that the focus is more on Lola, a character that holds her own. I liked all the details that make this book fun like costume design, figure skating, live bands, pie making, cute dogs, inventing, and boys next door of course. And Lola’s family is pretty awesome too.
I liked both the book and the audio versions of the book, but if I hadn’t read the book first I might have liked the audio a little more.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful