I’ve been putting off writing this review for so long.
I think it’s because I was expecting to be all ZOMG THIS WAS THE GREATEST BOOK EVERRRRR, like I was with Perkins' first book, Anna and the French Kiss. I had, really, really high expectations of Lola and the Boy Next Door. So that’s why it's so hard to say… I was kinda disappointed.
Eep! Did I really just write that? See, this is why I didn’t want to write this review. Everybody seems to love this book so much – some even said it was BETTER THAN Anna, which is a massive call. I’m almost embarrassed that I don’t feel the same. Don’t get me wrong, I did really like it. I just didn’t love it - no matter how much I wanted to.
It was a really cute story, about a dramatic teen named Lola, who lives in San Francisco with her two gay dads, adores her older boyfriend Max and has big plans for her formal costume (yes, costume). Then her next door neighbours, the Bell twins, come back to town after a few years away, and her complicated history with them messes up her life big-time.
I think the let down for me with this book were the characters. One of the things I adored about Anna was that the two main characters and the supporting cast were all really well drawn, realistic and likable. With Lola, I appreciated that she was unique and liked her well enough, but I couldn’t quite relate to her or the way she acted in certain situations. I felt that Max was almost too likable for the first half, and then did too much of a turnaround. Calliope Bell fell a bit flat – she was a bit of a cardboard cutout mean girl – and Cricket… well, he was pretty adorable, but he just didn’t do it for me. I know a lot of people love him (please don’t hurt me!), but from the way he dresses to what he says and how he acts around Lola, I just found him a bit, erm, campy. Not that campy is a bad thing - I just saw him as being more awesome as a friend than a boyfriend. I didn’t feel any chemistry or sexual tension between him and Lola, which I think was the most disappointing part of all.
One thing I did really love was Lola’s parents. I liked how Perkins portrayed their sexuality as incidental, not some Big Thing, and showed them as a normal, loving family. I also enjoyed her best friend Lindsay, who kinda reminded me of Lane in Gilmore Girls, and anything that reminds me of Gilmore Girls gets automatic bonus points.
Overall, and all gripes aside, I had a lot of fun reading Lola. Once I started, I found it hard to put down. Perkins is a fantastic writer and with just two books she’s cemented herself as one of my favourite authors. I’d definitely recommend it for fans of contemporary fiction, YA romance and, of course, Anna.
There wasn't a lot of description about Lola herself (the focus was more on her OTT outfits), but I pictured Lucy Hale when I started reading and she seemed to fit. Cricket was kinda hard to "cast" - he's meant to be tall, with crazy hair that sticks up all over the place and "startling" bright blue eyes. I couldn't think of any actor who looks remotely close to that (can you?), but the description of Cricket's style brought to mind the way Darren Criss dresses - at least in Glee and in photo shoots. And we all know how much I love DCriss, so he became my Cricket.
Genre: Young Adult
Published: 2011 by Dutton
Get It: Fishpond