Lola and the Boy Next Door is a companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, which I LOVED. It was 5 stars and then some, so I was excited to see that Anna and Étienne were a part of this story as well. They are not the main focus like they were in the first book, but their presence was a plus for me.
Lola is a seventeen year old high school girl living in San Francisco. She has a non-traditional family and is very eccentric in her own right. She wants to become a costume designer, which greatly influences her personal style. She wears different colored wigs and tries not to wear the same outfit twice.
She has had a love/hate relationship with Calliope and Cricket Bell, the twins who have lived next door to her growing up. Specifically...she hates Calliope, but loves Cricket. This all changed when their family moved away and rented out their house. A couple of years later, the Bells move back and Lola is conflicted. She hates Cricket for the way things ended between them two years prior, but she still has feelings for him. She has a boyfriend, so she tries to push her thoughts of Cricket aside...BUT...Cricket is now, after all of this time, openly expressing an interest in her.
Cricket is 6 foot 4, thin, wears tight pants, rubber bands on his arm and is always writing messages on his hand. He has always been interested in inventing things and has been extremely talented at it since a very young age. His great, great, great grandfather is none other than Alexander Graham Bell, so he comes by it honestly. He is one of the sweetest, most polite, and caring character I have come across in quite some time.
In contrast...Lola's boyfriend Max can only be described in one way. He is 22 years old (five years older than Lola), has tattoos, is the lead singer in a band, and has NO personality what so ever. He treats Lola's friends like crap and to top things off...he gave Étienne the brush off. That was the icing on the cake for me. Every time I read about him a quote from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer crept into my head. I think Mara sums Max up with the following:
Asscrown," I muttered under my breath as I headed to my next class. I wasn't proud of swearing at a complete stranger, no. but he started it.
Noah matched my pace. "Don't you mean 'assclown'?" He looked amused.
"No," I said, louder this time. "I mean asscrown. The crown on top of the asshat that covers the asshole of the assclown. The very zenith in the hierarchy of asses," I said, as though I was reading from a dictionary of modern profanity.
Yes...That is Max for you. By the time Lola finally sees through him and comes to terms with her feelings for Cricket, I was SO done with Max.
Lola and Cricket are perfect together. She appreciates his inventions and he understands her style. They both need emotional support throughout the book and they are always there for each other. How many guys would actually help a friend design and create a dress? Not many.
There will be one additional companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, which will be titled Isla and the Happily Ever After. It is scheduled to be released May 7, 2013. I hope that Stephanie will include ALL of our favorite characters....Anna, Etienne, Lola, and Cricket. She can even include Calliope since I started to like her towards the end of this book. I will not be at a loss if Max is omitted.
Overall, I felt this was an excellent companion novel. It wasn't quite as good as Anna, but it was easily 4 stars.
Flo and I met Stephanie Perkins at the RT Convention in Chicago last year. She was super nice and, as you can see, may have lent some of her fashion sense to Lola.