Lola & the Boy Next Door: disgruntling my inner-romantic one page at a time.

Lola and the Boy Next DoorLola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: ★

It’s fun to write a review if you hate the movie.

Switch “movie” to “book” and the quote says it all, only I don’t exactly hate Lola and the Boy Next Door. Suffice it to say that my (repressed) inner romantic was dragged through a 338-page dullfest journey about teenage idealism of romance and true love. In other words: “boredom” is a more suitable word than “hate.” For a living definition of the ‘aromantic’ that I am, somewhere deep inside resides this uncharacteristic inner girly-girl, which is exactly how I found my nose stuffed in a book like this. Unfortunately for the half of me that pines for dramatic cheese ball novels, it was equally disappointed as my inner-critic upon reaching the end of Lola’s story.

I first read Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss. Likable book, I’ll say, that accomplishes exactly what it should for its genre, but I was not expecting Anna and her own boyfriend to play a part in Lola’s life. And really! I, as a reader, could have done without images of their post high school relationship. Anna, Lola’s favorite co-worker (naturally, of course—who would have guessed?!), is never to be seen without our magnifique St. Clair. As if the aforementioned couple’s own novel wasn’t enough, I was witness to such behavior:

Anna smiles. “We keep missing each other in the dorm. It’s nice to finally meet you.”

“Likewise,” Cricket says. “I’ve heard nothing but good things. In fact, if I weren’t standing next to your boyfriend, I’d be tempted to ask you out myself.”

She blushes, and St. Clair bounds inside the box office and wrestles her into a hug. “Miiiiiiiiine!” he says.

Gross. Mental disgust manifested into physical unease as my body wrenched. There are few things on this planet that I hate more than being stuck in a room with clingy couples who feel it necessary to (consistently) express their non-cute tendencies. This passage (among others, particularly those between the ever-so inseparable Anna & St. Clair) clutched my cynic, my overbearing hag-like quirks—whatever you want to deem it—and ripped it out in full force. I could not stand it and thus often found myself snorting… scornfully, and not in a bitter way. In a way that says, “Please, stop. You are not going to die if your mouth separates from your partner’s for longer than two seconds.” But no worries—Anna and St. Clair weren’t present just to have me almost keel over from the bat held by said Super!Duo’s nauseating relationship. They were there to help guide (among others) clueless Lola in a proper direction toward “the one.” I mean, I understand dear Lo’s predicament: the super sexy (and slightly super older) but boorish asshat Max or the somewhat confusing yet sweet neighbor boy Cricket? Tough choice, Lola; I feel your agony.

Okay, in all fairness to this character and actual people alike: I am not like Lola, and I can’t find a compassionate response to such a problem that does not involve eye-rolling on my behalf. I’m sorry (kind of, but mostly sorry that I made myself read through this entire book). This is exactly why I will most likely be found—years from now—living in small apartment, my only companions being that of five cats, or perhaps I will find that a parrot will do nicely instead. I expect all chick lit lovers to dislike me now.

There are no spoilers to dangle in the eyes of prospective readers, either, because the title alone should give it away. Lola—seventeen year old Lola—and her twenty-two year old boyfriend (who is not “the boy next door,” ahem)… Well, what to say? Starting on page one, anyone with a quarter of a brain can guess that Rock God Max teeters, totters, and eventually falls out of the plot due to Lola’s affection for Cricket—the boy next door. See, I told you. The title says it all.

You can guarantee, however, that I will undoubtedly read Perkins’ next YA chick lit novel. I learn no lessons here. I only ask not to find Lola taking role in the next main character’s life—or worse, Lola and Anna. Enough said.

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