Lola and the Boy Next Door
Why do I keep doing this to myself? I find out about these contemporary young adult novels that have a semi-cult following and I read them with a ferocity that can only be described as piggish. I stuff my face full of characters like Lola, Cricket, and Max and immediately do a shot of bourbon to man up.
I wish. Oh I wish I could grow a mullet and wear camo and drive a pickup truck. Instead I drive a Honda, wear tartan button downs, and read too many contemporary YA novels.
I also wish I could relate to Lola: a fashion queen with a penchant for dressing in costumes instead of outfits. Or relate to Cricket: the boy next door who is a genius (who also wears a lot of tartan button downs). I wish I could stand up and shout "Rah rah rah!" for these two characters to hook-up. After all, I routed for St. Clair and Anna in Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss.*
I can't explain my lack of enthusiasm for Lola and Cricket to hook-up. Only that the tension between the two characters to get together is much different than Anna and St. Clair's. With those two characters we knew there was a chance they might not end up together. With Lola and Cricket? There's never a doubt (spoiler alert: they end up together).
I'm even skipping a general plot outline because that's all that really happens in the entire book. Except for the parts about fashion and dresses and wigs (I kept having to Google things I didn't know about--what the fuck is a Bakelite bracelet?).
I just couldn't connect to Cricket and Lola. I couldn't make myself give a crap about their relationship or friendship or "it's complicated" BS. The only character I could connect to is Lola's 22-year-old boyfriend Max. Max with his garage band, his multiple tattoos, and his teenage girlfriend.
I can relate to Max. I've got tattoos. I've dated a girl that's four years younger than me: heck, I've got a garage blog instead of a garage band. I think Stephanie Perkins should write a crossover novel about Max. He's a far more interesting character than Lola or Cricket and he's not even in the book that much.
The romance is okay, the writing is neat, but the characters are so... plain. The only thing interesting about Lola is that she has "dads" instead of "parents". The only thing interesting about Cricket is that his name is Cricket.**
Don't get me wrong. This is a cute book. This is a nice companion novel to Anna. But there's a romance here that only a girl could appreciate, and a lot of fashion talk that only a Project Runway fan could enjoy. A heavily tattooed guy who shoots bourbon? He's better off reading something else.
Full Disclosure: I bought and read this on my Kindle.
*I was glad to see that these two characters show up in this book. I'm glad both were still happy and in love.
**Stupid names in books really piss me off. And this name in particular angered me. I mean, really? Cricket?