Published by Dutton
Series: Companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss
Source: Purchased myself
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 neighborhood.
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.
I am going to apologise in advance. This review will probably feature fan girl gushing which I will not be able to help in any way shape or form because I loved this book as much as Stephanie Perkin's first book Anna.
From the first page Lola is one of those characters you want to love entirely. She is quirky and crazy but also a really good girl. She does her homework, loves her parents and doesn't stay out later drinking or smoking. The girl has her own sense of style dressing in wonderfully quirky and crazy outfits featuring a variety of bright colours, wigs and her own unique modifications.
Lola's family is a quirky as she is. She was raised by two dad's who both are fiercely protective of her. She has limited contact with her actual parents who gave her up when she was born. What I loved about her family is that despite the fact that from the outside they would appear to be extremely dysfunctional and odd they are in fact a solid and loving family unit who provide Lola on a daily basis with all the support she needs to go out into the world and be the person she wants to be.
The main storyline follows Lola as she goes about her daily life which revolves around school, her boyfriend and the Boy Next Door who, after a gap of several years, has just returned to the neighbourhood and into Lola's life. This development throws Lola completely off balance and makes her question herself.
Now Lola has a boyfriend. An older boyfriend who is a rock god. He is 22 and gorgeous and Lola loves him completely and I must say I was also completely taken in by him. He plays in a band and did I mention he is gorgeous? However when Cricket Bell turns up on the scene Lola starts to doubt her relationship with Max if only in the very back of her minds but continues to dismiss it. I for one loved Max and thought that Lola was crazy to even be questioning her feelings for him and spent a lot of time hoping Cricket would just clear off. However as the book continues you start to see the bad side of Max and start to fall in love with the gorgeous side of Cricket just as Lola does and become torn between the two without knowing which way you (or Lola) should go.
I won't tell you how the story plays out but I will tell you that I loved it and am continue to marvel at Stephanie Perkins's ability to make you fall utterly in love with characters. I was very very pleased to see that both Anna and St Clair make several cameos in this book which make me stupidly happy as I simply couldn't get enough of them in the earlier book.
The final section of the book is just gorgeous. Lola is both put through so much but also ends up with a perfectly wonderful and gorgeous outcome which was so awesomely perfect that it will be left with you for ages. Definitely a book I would recommend whether you have read Anna or not.