Published: June 2014
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn't believe in fashion... she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit – the more sparkly, more wild – the better. And life is pretty close to perfect for Lola, especially with her hot rocker boyfriend.
That is, until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket return to the neighbourhood and unearth a past of hurt that Lola thought was long buried. So when talented inventor Cricket steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally face up to a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. Could the boy from Lola's past be the love of her future?
Lola and the Boy Next Door, like Anna and the French Kiss, is heart squelchingly adorable. It’s a quick, easy read that touches on a themes that are slightly more serious than just teenage love and heartbreak, and I feel like the characters are more realistic and the plot is more rounded than in Anna. Perkins is definitely not suffering from second-album-syndrome and the series seems to be improving with each book!
The main character Lola is one of my favourite aspects of the book. Lola is a budding costume designer(She doesn’t believe in fashion, she believes in COSTUME!), and I’ve never really read about a character like her before. Once again, it’s nice for the main character to have a passion that isn’t writing, like they seem to have in most YA novels.
Cricket, the love interest, is another of Perkins’ attempts to give the love interests in her books the worst names ever. But other than that I loved him. Cricket is an inventor, and possibly the sweetest guy in the entire world. Cricket’s main physical attribute, like Etienne’s, is his height, but he is also quite well-dressed which Lola is super into. In my opinion he’s less annoying than Etienne, and less of a cliché.
Through Lola and Cricket Perkins explores the whole “what happens if you fall in love with someone while you’re already with someone else” theme, except this time it’s the main character that is in the relationship. Lola and Cricket are childhood sweethearts, but when Cricket comes back to San Francisco after touring with his sister, it’s clear that there are some residual feelings between them. However Lola is already dating her boyfriend Max, who is a twenty-something year-old rocker, and we know from the get go that that one isn’t going to end well.
However the aspect I found most interesting is Lola’s relationship with her parents. This is the first book I’ve read in which the main character has gay parents, and I found reading about this relationship really interesting. In the lead up to the gay marriage referendum in Ireland, there was a lot of debate about whether or not gay couples should be allowed raise children, and if they did would the children turn out ok. As I suspected, if the children who are raised by gay parents in real life are like Lola, they will turn out totally normal and absolutely fine, and that there’s nothing to worry about. However Lola’s relationship with her birth mother is a lot more complex, and it was interesting and a little heartbreaking to watch their relationship unfold and develop.
Overall I really loved this book. If you’re looking for a cutesy romcom read with a bit of bite this is definitely worth checking out. And the cute cameos by Anna and St. Clair mean that fans of Anna will get to reconnect with it’s protagonists.
Five Stars *****