Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins is sequel to Anna and the French Kiss. You can read my review here. I loved Anna the French Kiss as it’s a coming of age story and a romance set in Paris. This book is set in San Francisco and Anna is a secondary character. The main character is seventeen year old Delores “Lola” Nolan. Lola lives with her two dads and her dog Heavens to Betsey. She aspires to be a fashion designer and wears flamboyant costumes every day. When Lola learns that Cricket Bell, a boy she once loved is moving back into the neighborhood, it changes her life forever.
I thought this book wasn’t as good as the first book. I was swept away with the first book as it was adventure to read about Anna living in a foreign country, going to a new school and learning to be independent. Lola’s journey is not as epic but there were some good parts. I liked how Lola was an eccentric who loved to dress up. Yet, she worried about whether her costumes truly expressed her personality or if she was hiding behind it.
There is a love triangle in this book between Lola, Cricket Bell and Lola’s boyfriend Max. Speaking of dream boys, I never liked the name Cricket. I wish that it had been his nickname instead. I suppose it does suit the character since he is described as tall and angular but I found it jarring. It was obvious who Lola would end up with but the love story well written. The romance in the book is passionate but nothing too scandalous for its intended audience. There are lots of cute moments that young girls will dream about.
Another side plot is Lola’s relationship with her birth mother. Lola lives with two of her adoptive dads and her mother comes in and out of her life. Lola’s mother was a homeless junkie that her parents constantly had to rescue on occasion. Lola has an estranged relationship with her mother, resenting her life choices and burden that she puts on her family. I thought that storyline could have been explored further.
I recommend this book for anyone wanting a light read that is a coming of age story, with romance and set in a vibrant backdrop. You don’t have to have read the first book to understand this one the first novel is briefly covered in this book. Anna and Etienne from the first book are secondary characters in this one. It was not just a cameo either, they appear throughout the book. The next book in this trilogy is Isla and the Happily Ever After. I’m looking forward to reading that book and finishing off the rest of the series. The third book is from the point of view of Isla a minor character that was in book one.