Book 1: Anna and the French Kiss
Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2) blurb:
I have three wishes. The first is to attend the winter formal dressed like Marie Antoinette. The second is for my parents to approve of my boyfriend. And my third wish? To never ever ever see the Bell twins ever again. Ever.
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.
This was a hugely character driven novel, so I’ll probably spend more time on characters than I usually would! Apologies in advance.
Meet Lola, the girl who rocks different coloured wigs and outrageous fashion on a day to day basis. She’s got a hot older boyfriend who is the lead singer in a band, and life is pretty awesome. Until her old neighbours come back.
Lola’s old neighbours just happen to be international star figure skater, Calliope Bell, and her twin brother, Cricket. Cricket, in particular, was Lola’s first love, and it didn’t end well.
I was willing to overlook the teens ‘almost cheating’ trope in AatFK, but instead of being a trope in this one, it’s become the new normal. And I didn’t like that. In fact, it makes me quite uneasy as I don’t agree with the concept of cheating. If you don’t love your partner, or you think you love someone else more, then have a conversation with the involved parties. Don’t just run off and do something rash or stupid. A conversation will be uncomfortable, but it’ll hurt everyone less in the long run.
Despite all this ‘almost cheating’ the book was cute. The characters were wonderful, and I liked the story behind the story of being true to yourself.
Lola was nice. A little naïve about life, but wants to do what’s best. She is absolutely a seventeen year old, and I think Perkins nailed what it’s like to be 17 and discovering who you are and who you want to be. I loved her sense of fashion (even though it’s totally not my style), and I loved how you could tell how passionate and talented she is.
Max came across as sweet to begin with, but also sketchy. Like, he was too nice and the book was setting him up to be the nice guy, and Cricket was the bad guy. But it felt too forced. I just didn’t buy it.
Cricket was really sweet. I mean, he was set up to be jerk, but this façade is quickly disproven as soon as you meet him. Cricket is basically a golden retriever in human form. And then there’s Calliope, Cricket’s twin, who was rather interesting. I think the grueling stress of her life has had more of an impact on her psyche than she likes to let on.
Andy and Nathan are Lola’s parents. I really liked them, they were super cute, and you have to love a man who bake pies for a living. I love that you could tell how much they cared about Lola, and that you could see how the mistakes of the past haunted Nathan and made him so over-protective. I also loved how Lola stood up for her dads and said that neither of them was the ‘woman’ of the relationship. We don’t have to accept heteronormative beliefs!!
I also loved that Anna and St Clair were in the story and you got to see glimpses of them and their adorableness throughout.
Lola’s bestie, Lindsay, is obsessed with Nancy Drew, and that’s the greatest thing ever. If you guys haven’t read an old school Nancy Drew book, I really encourage that you do. I read my library’s entire collection of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries when I was young.
Lola’s biological mother was probably the most interesting character of the book. She singularly caused the most grief to nearly everyone, but she also allowed Lola the space to go on her own journey and figure things out for herself, despite appearing to hinder this process.
I really liked the book. Not as much as the first one, but it was still sweet and exactly what I needed. Perkins writes a really fun love story.
Apologies this is late!! I am trying to type with a cat standing on my keyboard and it’s not going well. And if you’ve ever met my cats you’ll know it’s just too hard to lock them out of a room!! The scratching at the door would drive me insane!!