Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release: September 29th 2011
Genre: Contemporary Romance, YA
#2 in the Anna and the French Kiss trilogy
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.
When Cricket--a gifted inventor--steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.
This reminded me of how much I loved Anna and the French Kiss. One of the best things about this novel was the fact that both Anna and St. Clair were supporting characters and we got to see where they are now.
And yes, while I do prefer Anna, I did enjoy Lola very much as well. However, I simply cannot give it the same rating as Anna, so... 3.5 it is.
What I immediately disliked about this installment was the fact that Lola was so naive and lovestruck about Max in the beginning. Talking about how she loved him so much and he was the one when it was obvious from the start that there was going to be another guy, especially if you've read the blurb. And that she was definitely going to end up with that other one. So please, stop it, Lola. You're seventeen. Just no.
And then there was the fabulous "I want to go to the winter formal in a Marie Antoinette dress, wearing combat boots" straight after that. Uhm.. I don't know, but fantasies like "He's the one" in combination with "I want to wear something really girly but spike it up with something really not-girly" just make me dislike a character right away. While I didn't immediately dislike Lola, I was a little skeptic.
Although I have to say, Lola develops a lot throughout the book and she comes to a lot of nice conclusions via a bit of monologue I quite enjoyed. I liked how her thought process went and it felt real. While her struggle was a little laughable because we all knew how it'd end, thus, there was absolutely no suspense, I did like her journey to the finish line.
Characters were meh. Max was a well crafted character, giving off just the right vibes of being a good guy and good boyfriend who really cares for Lola, and at the same time as just some older guy out to take advantage of her and not caring about her at all. Lola was an interesting character, but not as likeable or great like Anna was. She was okay, though. Cricket was a bit 2D, or so he seemed to me. Maybe it is me, but he didn't appeal to me that much. Neither did Max by the way though, but he was just a good character.
Writing was lovely, as always. I really, really adore Perkins's writing style and how she perfects the art of combining beautiful prose with sassy dialogue and modern teenager slang. I mean, it sounds really authentic. And she managed not to make Lola sound the least bit like Anna. Very impressive.
All in all, a very recommendable read if you enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss. Definitely not as good as its predecessor, but still worth reading.