Lola and the Boy Next Door, by Stephanie Perkins

lolaThis is another young-adult romance by the author of Anna and the French Kiss, and much of what I said about that book applies to this one too. Smart, fun, well-written, content maybe a little more “adult” than the parents of some young teens may expect, though there’s certainly nothing explicit. Lola is a very appealing character — a girl with a strong sense of fun and individuality who likes to design funky costumes to wear to school. Lola is close to her two gay dads but embarrassed by her biological mom, who makes occasional incursions into their family life. Lola’s generally a good kid, but her dads are worried that she’s only 17 and dating 22-year-old Max, a would-be rock star. Lola is convinced that Max is the love of her life — until Cricket, the guy she had a crush on a few years earlier, moves back into the house his family owns right next door to Lola.

Despite some romance cliches this is a fresh, fun and highly readable book, though not as memorable as Anna and the French Kiss. Readers who enjoyed the earlier book will be entertained to see the two main characters of that novel appear as minor characters in this one, and will certainly find it worth spending time with another likable, funny, utterly believable Stephanie Perkins heroine.

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