Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
"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."- summary from Amazon
I was really excited for this book because I loved Perkins' debut Anna and the French Kiss (as did pretty much most of the YA community). While it was really good, for me at least, it didn't measure up to the awesomeness of Anna. It took me a little bit of time to get into the book and I did enjoy the characters, especially Lola's gay dads and of course Lola and Cricket, but I didn't feel the same spark as quickly as I did with Anna. To put it in perspective, I thought Anna was 5 stars and Lola was 4.5 stars, so still amazingly good but just slightly not as good as her debut.
Speaking of characters, Perkins continues to put some wonderful ones in this book. Like I said before, Lola's gay dads were fantastic side characters and I loved reading scenes with them. Lola was a great main character too with quite a bit of flaws and was really relatable. Perkins also does a good job with the romantic male leads- Cricket is pretty damn amazing and sounds very hot. I liked seeing his and Lola's friendship develop into a relationship, which really makes the romance more realistic. Also, I knew Anna would be mentioned in Lola (like how Sarah Dessen mentions previous characters in her books) but it was much more than I had anticipated- Anna and St. Clair are both pretty major side characters. I loved seeing them again!
Overall, this is a very good follow-up novel and I can't wait to read Isla next year as well as anything else Perkins writes! She's just an amazing writer and I usually like to call these books "romantic comedies with substance".
FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.