Lola and the Boy Next Door
Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Penguin Group
Number of Pages: 384 (hard cover)
Advertised Age Level: Ages 14 and up
Age and Grade of Main Character(s): 17/18 – seniors in high school/freshman in college
Language: limited profanity, limited use of the “f” word
Sex: kissing, main character has sex with boyfriend but never graphically described
Drug/Alcohol Use: one adult character drinks and smokes marijuana, Lola’s mother is a substance abuser
Social Issues: first love, dating an older person, gay parents, being yourself, dysfunctional parent
Suggested Movie Grade: PG-13
Lola considers herself a unique individual, determined that as a future costume designer, she’ll never look the same two days in a row. She lives a mostly happy life with her two dads even though they are not happy at all that she – a 17 year old – is currently dating a guy who is 22. Lola can handle it – after all, she loves Max and he loves her. But when Lola’s former next door neighbor Cricket Bell moves back into the house his family owns, Lola can’t ignore the old attraction she felt for him. Now things are very confusing, because if she loves Max so much, why can’t she stop thinking about Cricket? And to add more drama to her life, Lola’s dysfunctional birth mother, Nora, has arrived on their doorstep, the very last person Lola wants to see.
Potential Points of Concern:
Lola is 17 and in high school and she is dating Max who is 22 years old. Her parents do not approve of her boyfriend but she doesn’t see any problem with this age difference.
Lola lost her virginity to Max and has sex with him, although nothing is ever graphically described.
Max is in a band. He drinks and smokes marijuana although Lola never does.
Lola’s birth mother, Nora, has a history of substance abuse and homelessness. When Lola was born, Nora’s brother, Nathan, and his partner, Andy, adopted her and she has spent a happy life with her two fathers. Nora re-appears on the scene when she is evicted from her apartment.
Cricket’s twin sister Calliope is very jealous of the attention that Cricket gives to Lola and engages in lies and other manipulative behaviour to keep Lola and Cricket apart.
Calliope is a world-champion level figure skater, and the Bell family’s life is centered around Calliope. Through his life, Cricket was often forced to move for Calliope’s needs.
Age Appropriateness: 14 +