I have to confess that I was a little apprehensive to read Lola and the Boy Next Door. Why you ask? Because Anna and the French Kiss is hands down one of my favorite books EVER. Thus, I rationalized that Ms. Perkins couldn’t possibly write anything better than Anna. I was, (as I often are) wrong. There are several similarities between the two books, like great characters and an amazing romance, but there are enough differences that made reading Lola a unique experience for me.
Lola is quirky, exceptional, original, funny and a little snarky and this makes her a great character to read about. She is a loving daughter and a loyal friend. And she has a “thing” for the boy next door. How can I start to describe Cricket Bell? He is insecure, nerdy, trendy, also loyal, observant, and has the patience of a saint. I really loved Cricket (even if that sounds disloyal to St. Clair) even tough he lacks the same innate charm and charisma, he makes up for it in other ways.
Another aspect of the story that I loved is that Anna and St. Clair are Lola’s friends. This is not a sequel for Anna, but rather we take a peek at what their lives together are now and it adds a layer of depth to the story. I enjoyed Lola’s dads, their dynamics were different and they were extremely overprotective. I did not like Max, he is one of the biggest jerks ever to grace the pages of a book. Calliope didn’t warm my heart either.
The story is flawless, the descriptions of San Francisco make the setting another character to enjoy and get acquainted with. The plot is simple and expertly executed. I adore Ms. Perkins writing, she takes romance and character building to a whole new level. My only issue with the story (as well as with Anna) is that in a romantic relationship three is a multitude. Why must there always be “cheating” involved? I wished that Lola would have ended things with Max as soon as she realized that she still had feelings for Cricket.
Ms. Perkins next book, Isla and the Happily Ever After (BTW, Isla means "island" in Spanish) will be published next year and I am already pinning for it.
About the cover: I like the cover of the book. It portraits Cricket and Lola with San Francisco in the background and it is colorful and unique.