I really, really, really liked Anna and the French Kiss. Despite the fact that I still like to blame it for the fire in my house. And I was afraid I wouldn’t like Lola and the Boy Next Door nearly as much. I was afraid it follow the same sort of template, just with different characters. That Stephanie Perkins would have a “style.” The way all Nora Roberts books follow the same template. Though it should be noted that Nora Roberts has done very well for herself.
But I have to say, I liked Lola better than Anna. And that sentences pretty much sums up why. I just loved, loved, loved all the characters in Lola in a way I didn’t with Anna.
Now don’t get me wrong, I liked the characters in Anna, a lot. But I didn’t find them very easy to relate to. I do not have this problem at all with the characters in Lola.
Lola herself is so quirky and determined and fun. And more than anything she loves her family. Even the parts of the family that she’d sometimes rather be swept under the rug. Over the course of the story her value for family is tested and there’s this small, quiet, almost nothing scene near the end that made me so proud of Lola. And so happy to have gotten to share her journey.
And then there’s Cricket. Who has my absolutely most favourite line in the entire book. As it’s near the beginning, I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to share.
“Go out with me tonight. Tomorrow night, every ni-” He gets cut off but it doesn’t matter. The words that follow and everything that happens in this scene…I just..I can feel how much he likes Lola, and how desperate and sad this scene is. My heartstrings ached for him.
There’s so much about this book I could talk about. So much that I loved. Lola’s two dads, and how being gay is just what they are, and it wasn’t an ISSUE. Cricket’s big complicated family that revolves around his sister and has trouble expressing itself. Â Lola’s best friend, Lindsey who is just the right amount of support-best-friend versus, long-suffering-best-friend. But what the book really comes down to, why I loved it as much as I did, is because of Cricket and Lola, and their long journey to find each other. Oh, and because of the fabulousness of a really big dress.
It is absolutely clear through every single word that Cricket says, every move he makes, every step he takes, (heh) that he is head over heels about Lola. Lola who is mad at him for something that happened years ago. Lola who has a boyfriend.
The way they come together was perfect and I have not one complaint about it. I loved their beginning, when, as children Cricket built Lola a doll house that had a working elevator and Lola kissed him in thanks. And I loved their ending. Which I”m not going to detail here, but it was perfect.
The only thing I didn’t really like about this book was Max. Lola’s boyfriend. Obviously, with the way these stories work, he isn’t going to be the one riding off into the sunset at the end. But then he sticks around for so long and I just didn’t care about him at all. I wish he had been gotten rid of earlier. Lola and Cricket still had plenty of issues to work out.
But, oh well. Still loved the book and the journey the characters went on together.