Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lola and the Boy Next Door

After reading Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss in Spanish, I knew I wanted to read her writing in English to appreciate her turn of phrase. Almost as soon as finishing that book, I fired up my kindle to download its companion novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door. There is some character overlap (Anna and St. Clair work with Lola) and Perkins' voice is distinctive, but this is a very different novel.

Lola lives with her two dads in San Francisco, dressing in wild clothing and dating Max, an older rebel from a rock band. She thought she had completely moved past her crush on her former neighbor, Cricket Bell, until his family moves back in. Suddenly, all the old feelings have returned: her love, Cricket's twin sister's dislike of Lola, and Lola's parents desire for her to be with someone kind and age-appropriate. While there is never a doubt as to how the novel will end, Perkins takes the reader on an entertaining ride through the hills of San Francisco to get there.

Lola is a complex character who is far from perfect, and that is exactly what I liked about her. One of the most interesting aspects of the novel is when she realizes that Cricket is a better person than she is, and that she must earn his love and respect. This isn't presented in a way that slights Lola's character, but rather that everyone deserves to be with someone who brings out the best in them, and that she needs to do a little work to get there.

I was excited to learn that there will be a third companion novel, Isla and the Happily Ever After, to be released some time in 2013. Until then, I will get my Perkins fix by reading Anna and the French Kiss in English. 

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