When someone says “she marches to the beat of her own drum” they’re probably talking about Lola. Lola thinks every day is a chance to make a statement. Her closet is overflowing and her walls are lined with mannequin heads wearing colourful wigs. Right now everything in Lola’s life is going pretty good. She has a sexy older rock-star-in-the-making boyfriend who her parents put up with, even if they don’t seem to like him all that much, and she’s almost completely forgotten about the boy who used to live next door. Then he moves back.
I won the companion book Anna and the French Kiss from Helen a year ago and immediately fell in love. (Side note, Helen is currently running a Cinder give away, which you should check out.) When I heard we would get to see more of Anna and Étienne in Perkins’s new book, I was ecstatic. What I didn’t realize was that I would love Lola and her love story just as much.
This book took me a little over four months to read because I read it in a very strange way. For the first time in my reading history, I read a book to my mother without having read the story first myself. I would only read it when we were driving together (she was driving, for obvious reasons), and because last semester was so crazy sometimes I had to study or read my class books instead of reading to her, which dragged the book out much longer than either of us wanted (MEGHAN YOU CAN MISS CLASS WE CAN’T LEAVE IT THERE). This was a really great experience because I’ve never been able to share the experience of reading with someone before. I’d read Anna to her before that, but I had already read the book myself, so it wasn’t the same experience. It really brought me and my mom closer together. (We’re keeping up the tradition, by the way. Right now we’re reading Cinder together.)
Because of how I was reading it, I really appreciated the narration. Lola’s voice was sweet and funny and descriptive. But it was the characters that really shined. I can’t decide who was my favourite. Of course Cricket was just so much perfection with his long legs and his love for his family. My mom was originally a fan of Max, possibly because she’s dated some of her own sexy-rockstars-in-the-making, but I think Cricket won her over in the end.
We both really enjoyed any scene that involved Lola’s parents. Andy and Nathan were such typical parents. I appreciated them because we almost never see parents in YA literature; almost always they’re absent, and it was just nice to have that interaction for Lola. My mom loved them because she’s a parent herself (obviously), so she could totally relate. My mom probably laughed the hardest whenever there was a description of Nathan or Andy’s reaction to one of Lola’s boy encounters and I would know she was laughing because that was exactly what she would do or how my father would react in a similar case.
And, of course, I completely freaked out the first time I read about a banana pendant. This may not have been Anna’s story, but it was a chapter in Anna and Étienne’s story. While the merge between the two wasn’t always seamless, it was enjoyed.
Perkins has announced that her third book, Isla, a companion to Anna and Lola, will take an extra year than originally expected to write. As anxious as I am to read the next chapter in the lives of these fun heroines lives, I know it will be worth the wait.
Novels with similar aspects
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Are we there yet? by David Levithan
recommended to lovers of love, fun, quirks, fashion, technology, and/or Étienne St Clair. Or, you know, if you’re a nerdfighter. Or the parent of a nerdfighter. Or if you’re made of awesome, so you think you might be a nerdfighter but you’re not really sure because you have no idea what a nerdfighter is.
not recommended to anyone made uncomfortable by homelessness or homosexuality (though maybe you should read it anyway and get over it)
Already read and reviewed Lola and the Boy Next Door? Link me and I’ll quote and link you at the bottom of my review!
No current plan to put a discussion post of Lola (it would just be me flailing about how cute Cricket is, and I doubt any of you’d be interested by that XD), but if you have some spoiler-filled comments you’d like to discuss, please let me know and I’ll make a post just because I like you.