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?