Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighbourhood.
When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.
A few months ago I took the plunge and started reading Anna and the French Kiss. Cue a lack of sleep, compulsive reading and a babbling review later and Anna became my favourite ever YA romance book. I eagerly anticipated Lola but I was a little wary too – would it live up to the high, high standards set by Anna?
Not quite. The best way to describe Lola is that it's like Anna's little sister and indeed, Anna and Etienne do turn up quite a bit in the book and Anna is like an older sister to only child Lola. The storyline almost becomes brilliant but due to some rather annoying characters and a rushed ending it just didn't quite do it for me.
Lola is a brilliant character, she's flamboyant, wacky, funny and smart. I loved her bizarre outfits and her mad ideas and I grew to love her more and more throughout the book. She did have her moments of childishness but that's just Lola. Howeverthe constant mention of how young she was really grated with me – I'm English, so 17 is perfectly legal over here and even in America, she really wasn't that young. It wasn't like she was a total slut or anything...
I liked the idea of two gay parents- Andy and Nathan - but it just sank into stereotypical over-protectiveness (forcing Lola's boyfriend over for Sunday brunch, assuming she's got a ton of STI's and NEVER listening to her) that bored me to death and made me want to out the book down in a few places. I wish there were some cool gay parents in a book for once.
Moving on. Cricket is the natural star of the show here for me and I wish I could have seen the story for his point of view for a couple of chapters. He's the perfect companion for Lola, he's sweet and caring and loves who she is, instead of expecting her to be something she's not. Plus he's got the whole gadget making thing going on which is pretty awesome!
On the over hand, I spent a whole lot of time trying to work Lola's boyfriend out. I think he was just slightly mentally ill, to be quite honest and I did not like him ONE BIT.
Back to happy things. I loved that Cricket lived next door to Lola (as it says, of course) but I also love that they share adjacent windows too! It was fun reading about them talking to each other etc; and even better to learn of their history. My only disappointment with the storyline was that the ending felt very rushed and I felt a bit cheated as I'd followed these characters until the end and I wanted at leats a couple of more days with them.
All in all, a rather frustrating book that still left me wanting to sob like a baby at the end of it, although not for the same reasons as Anna, unfortunately.
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