Here's the thing. I think Stephanie Perkins is in my head. Or at least my daydreams. How else could she consistently write characters that seem to be tailor-made to hit my flutter buttons? Etienne for my anglophilia, Max for my tattooed, Buddy Holly glasses wearing messed up, misdirectedly (I know that's not a word) angry, kind of douchebaggy rocker boy, and Cricket. Cricket for everything I've ever wanted in a real boy. Because that's the beauty of Lola and the Boy Next Door. It's real. As much as I loved Anna and the French Kiss (and I looooooooooooooooooooove Anna), Lola was better on nearly every level because it felt real. Anna was by no means a fairy tale without the struggle of realism, but there were some elements that took it to daydream level. Paris. Beautiful, charming British boy. The big, dramatic (incredibly swoontastic) ending.Lola is different. They aren't in Paris, and Cricket isn't a dashing, gorgeous Brit. He's just a normal boy. A normal, awkward, amazingly sweet boy who I can't even find words to describe. (Except for, you know, those...) I won't say anything about the story itself, except Stephanie Perkins manages to surprise me with the depth she gives her characters and their circumstances. Lola made me ache; I went through each moment of impulse, confusion, and agonizing indecision with her. I laughed with her, I certainly cried with her more than I expected to, and I swooned so hard that by the last section I was literally reading standing up because I was FEELING TOO MANY FEELINGS to sit. Lola and the Boy Next Door is everything first love should be--painful, awkward, desperate, tender and so, so sweet. And as I read Perkins' acknowledgements at the end, I found myself tearing up again at her note to her husband. I realized why she is able to write such amazingly real and heartfelt love stories. It's because she's lived it.Lola and the Boy Next Door comes out in September. I can't wait to swoon with you!