Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 338 Pages
Publication: September 2011
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Two years ago Lola's heart was broken by Cricket, the boy next door. Then Cricket disappeared and she hasn't seen or talked to him since. And she's happy. She's seventeen and has Max, the best boyfriend ever. She's in love. He is the one. She knows he is. They will run away together someday. She'll be a designer by day and at night his band will play for packed stadiums.
Then Cricket moves back in next door and Lola is torn, her old feelings begin to resurface, and Max becomes distant. Lola finds herself constantly drawn to Cricket-who seems to accept her for who she is-but doesn't want to let Max go. She loves him. Doesn't she?
This novel follows Anna and the French Kiss. They are not actually a series, but the three novels, (these two and the conclusion), are all connected in some way. Anna and Etienne are actually quite a prevalent presence in this novel. I expected them to appear briefly and was surprised by how much time they were actually in the novel.
I enjoyed this novel a great deal more than I enjoyed Anna. I found Anna to be a faster read, but Lola to be much more enjoyable. Both only took a few hours to read. So, let's get to the main points I liked and didn't like.
The characters were easy to relate to in this novel and I often felt like they were people I might know. Lola, while quirky, is easy to understand and relate with. My main problem with Lola as a character is that her strengths and weaknesses seemed to contradict each other occasionally. Overall she was likable. Cricket was great (much better than Etienne, in my opinion). He's the kind of boy every girl dreams of having next door. Maybe not as bold as most girls would dream of, but cute and fun either way.
Lola's parents (her dads and even Norah) played important roles in this novel, which was a nice change from Anna, where the parents were pretty nonexistent. Lola complained about her dads making her check in with them while she was with Max, but honestly, he was twenty-two. I'm pretty sure it was normal for them to want her to check in with them. That was one of the things that made it real seeming I guess.
Which brings me to Max. I actually kind of liked his character. I think he was rather poorly written, but would have been very interesting otherwise. I think this is the spot where Perkins' writing and technique fall somewhat flat. She introduces these characters with lots of potential, as obstacles that the main love story must cross, but then just throws the characters away after a while. And by throws them away I mean that they stop showing the same development they had in the beginning. Yeah, the situation with Max, Lola, and Cricket was awkward, but this character was all over the place after only a few chapters. I felt like I had a good handle on him and then he just started morphing into something else that was never really explained and didn't feel right. The Max situation could have definitely been better.
Lola's struggles and insecurities were more understandable than I felt Anna's were in the first novel. While I don't like the entire progression of the story with Max, I do enjoy this love story more than Anna and Etienne's. One thing that improves this one is that we're in Lola's head and Lola is the one with two guys, not one of two girls. I also loved that Cricket kept pushing her away when she would get too close. Read my review of Anna for more thoughts on that story and you might see why I prefer this one.
Overall this story was very enjoyable. I'm not a huge fan of contemporary romances in general, but this one was cute and while over the top in portions, wasn't nauseatingly irksome. Worth a read, even if you didn't enjoy Anna that much.
Your book loving friend,