Publication Date: 09/29/2011
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.Note: I've removed the last paragraph of the goodreads synopsis as I feel that's something better discovered while reading.
Lola Nolan has grown up amidst the colorful and personable background of San Francisco. Each day brings a new outfit, and new possibility. She has everything a 17 year-old could possibly need: supportive parents, a sassy and smart best friend, and a handsome, older rocker boyfriend. Very little could upset the balance, until her childhood neighbors move back in next door. Lola is left to reconcile the past with her present, and well as a journey to find which of her outfits is truly herself.
I have absolutely no idea how Stephanie Perkins does it. Every single one of her books is perfect and effortless, evoking such depth of feeling that each page is practically bursting with honesty and hope. My heart is continually broken with such bittersweet poignancy, and then picked up with delicate fingers and pieced back together like puzzle pieces that shouldn't fit in that way but do, and better. I can relate to Anna and the French Kiss on a situational level much better, but there's just something niggling about this story that feels more relatable and closer as a reader. And that's where the magic really lies.
Not everyone has as plentiful a wardrobe as Lola, but I think most people can understand what it is to assemble an outfit that makes you feel like you can do anything or be anyone. A carpe diem outfit. Lola lives every day not like it could be her last, but like each day should be her best. I loved Lola. And I loved with Lola. I lived vicariously with her through each page, working through my beginning confusion as I pieced everything together, to hoping with Lola as she did the same in order to figure out what choices she should make.
The choices weren't easy. They should never by easy. But they were so well described that I ended this book with tears in my eyes because that's how it really is. Cricket is the sort of boy that every girl wishes they could have: smart, sweet, incredibly kind, and with just enough awkward geekiness that sets him on a level where you have to crack a smile when you see him. Except for the fact that Cricket thinks nothing of that about himself, and instead loves to help and please others more than anything else. The development and realisation of their friendship over the course of the story is more than worth the amount of bookstores I went to in order to find this book.
I cannot recommend this book enough. If you like to read, then you should read this. If you like a book that perfectly encapsulates that fluttery feeling of first love, then this book is for you. If you like boys named Cricket, well, you've hit the jackpot. Stephanie Perkins has outdone herself in the best manner possible.