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Writing, Reading, Laughing

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lola and Sarah

A while back Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins was getting a lot of love in Bloglandia.

I read it and fell in love myself.

When Sarah H., a former middle grade student of mine, who has now entered the YA realm of readership asked me for a book recommendation, I shouted LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR.

Sarah graciously agreed to share her authentic teen opinions of this wonderful book with all of you.

First, let's get to know Sarah.
I'm in 10th grade. My favorite subject is French. I love to go horseback riding, draw, and cook.
(Aside from Leslie: Sarah is one of THE most talented artists I've ever had the pleasure to teach.)
My goals for right now are to try the best at what I'm doing, and when I get back to school from summer break, I'm going to study hard in every subject so I can pass my classes.
(Aside from Leslie: Sarah is every teacher's dream student.)

Did the characters in Lola and the Boy Next Door feel authentic to you? 
Yes. Stephanie Perkins made every character come alive for me in the way she described them and talked about them. I liked every character, yes, even Calliope. I mean, sure she was mean at first, but near the end she was nicer to Lola. The only character I disliked was Max from the start. The way he treated Lola was harsh. I know he's the antagonist of the story, but I still didn't like him even if he did make the story interesting.

Lola is an artist. Do you find that kids with artistic gifts are celebrated in high school as much as students with other strengths like academics or sports?
Kids with artistic gifts should be celebrated more in high school. It is a talent that should be acknowledged.

What was your reaction to Lola's unique family of two dads?
I love Lola's two dads. They're just the best. Andy and Nathan make the best dads for Lola.

Did you feel the author respected the intelligence of her teen audience in the way she told Lola's story?
Yes. Lola had her first boyfriend and her first love right in front of her. Some teens can understand how Lola felt trying to decide between the two. When you have your first boyfriend you can be too crazy about him to see the problems that are happening between you and you can't let him go. That's what Lola's problem was. She was too crazy in love with Max that she didn't see he was the wrong guy for her.

Any other random thoughts about Lola and the Boy Next Door?
I liked that the story was in first person so you know what Lola's thoughts and feelings are throughout the story. I also love how the author squeezes in humor. I thought the book was perfect.

Okay, Sarah, wish list time. If one of the amazing authors out there was writing a book just for you, what would you want it to be about?
Write about my normal high school life because it's full of drama, friendship, crushes, heartbreak, betrayal, enemies, etc., but in the end, make it turn out better.

I agree, Sarah. I love it when authors make crazy life turn out better. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on Lola and the Boy Next Door. 

Have you read Lola? What is your take on celebrating the arts in high school on the same level as sports and academics?


  1. That's a great interview ladies! I LOVE Sarah's wishlist for a book - that would be awesome. I still haven't read this book - although it's been on my wishlist! Gotta get to it! :)

  2. Great interview! And I love Lola also. Have you read Anna too? Stephanie is also the sweetest girl ever, so I'm happy to see so much love for her books.

  3. I so need to read this book. Like now. Thanks for the fun review!

  4. I have not read Lola- but have heard good things about it. Arter reading Sarag's review I am even more curious about this book. I loved hearing the thoughts of a YA. :) I do think there should be more recognition for the arts- they are just as important as sports and academics. Thanks for this great post!

  5. Always awesome to get a teen's perspective! I haven't read LOLA yet, but I loved ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS.

  6. Man! I'm always hearing the BEST stuff about this book. I need to quit putting it off and buy it! Great review!

  7. I loved this book. I think artistic students need more recognition. They grow up to do great things and need support at a young age.

  8. I have this one, signed even, but I haven't read it yet. I've heard Stephanie Perkins speak at a signing and she is very serious about writing. I recommend Anna and the French Kiss.

    I'm a bit biased as I was great friends with the art teacher in my children's school, but yes, I think the arts should be as celebrated as sports in schools. That includes music, poetry, writing and art. They all seem to get shoved to the back for the football, soccer, baseball and basketball teams. All male centric things I'm realizing. Hmm...????

  9. That book has been quite a hit. Must be very good.

    Back in high school I wished the arts would be taken more seriously. My town was your classic all-American football-crazed town. :) The few artsy people were considered more to be "outsiders."

  10. I love Sarah and I haven't even met her! What great perspective I haven't read Lola OR Anna & the French Kiss. I must read both!!!

  11. Ooo. I loved Lola too!! And thanks so much, Leslie, for letting us know what one of your former students thought. :)

  12. What a great review from a teen!
    Happy Weekend :)

  13. Thanks for the review! I really enjoyed LOLA. I'm just amazed by the way Stephanie Perkins creates utterly real and believable characters.

  14. Exactly who should be reviewing YA books. And what a great job she did.

  15. Love this teen review. And I absolutely loved Lola and the Boy Next Door (and of course, Anna and the French Kiss.)

  16. I love the idea of a teen doing the review. I haven't read the book yet. I just read Anna and the French Kiss a month or so ago, and loved it.

    LOL on what kind of book Sarah would like to read.

  17. WHAT a FAB review! Love that you had a teen review Lola!

    And I'm so happy that Sarah would like to read more contemporary!!

  18. A great review!
    I think that more attention is given to academic students, often at the expense of the artisitic students...

  19. Who better to ask than a member of the intended reading audience. I was never athletic and went to high school where any arts programs were sadly lacking. I feel deprived in that respect.

    Tossing It Out

  20. Oh I LOVED Lola! I even loved Max. Because he was just so real and so many girls (including me) find it easy to fall for a guy like him.

    I loved the dads and the costumes, too and her mother was interesting development.

    Great to hear a teen's opinion of this too, and her plea to "make it turn out better"

  21. Thank you from Sarah and I for sharing the Lola love.