Series: Anna and the French Kiss #2
And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the 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.
3 Drink Me Potions
I came in really wanting to love-love-love it like I did with Anna and the French Kiss, but I just…couldn’t. I’m not saying I didn’t like it, it just wasn’t as great.
Lola is a VERY unique protagonist. She never wears the same thing twice, always having on a different costume each day. They’re wracked with bright colours, wigs of all shapes and sizes, and combined in such interesting ways. She’s not afraid to be who she is. And for Cricket, her love interest, he sounded very sweet and cute. He’s that kind of nice guy who would do anything for the girl he loves. But Stephanie Perkins didn’t leave him that boring sounding. He’s extremely tall, at 6’4″, and invents little automatons for fun. Oh, and he has a great sense of style. Not your typical boy with T-shirt and shorts/jeans. No, siree. His wardrobe includes wearing (tight) pinstripe pants.
Anyway, with these 2 very interesting characters, why couldn’t I love it? The pacing just wasn’t right for me. I hated Lola’s relationship with her rocker boyfriend, Max. He was a total tool. Yeah, he never cheated on her or anything, and he seemingly cared, but he was so jealous and possessive. We all knew he was totally wrong for her, but no! The story had to drag on with him in it. I couldn’t wait until the page they broke up. Honestly. Second best page ever.
I guess I wished there was more to their romance. Cricket and Lola’s, I mean. I just didn’t feel the chemistry between them as strongly as I did with Etienne and Anna. For most of the book, Lola was practically dragging her feet into admitting that she still had feelings for Cricket. Like, come on! Stop going back to Max and get your head together! I really wanted to scream that at her sometimes. It was frustrating, to say the least.
The ending was nicely wrapped up, of course. I felt that I had just finally gotten to the good stuff…and then it had to end. Sigh. At least Anna and Etienne were amazing secondary characters here. It did feel a little weird seeing them from a 3rd person perspective, though. All in all, it wasn’t a bad read. The chemistry was just lacking, and I wanted to slap Lola awake occasionally. But it was still romantic! (for the last twenty pages or so)
Lola and the Boy Next Door seemed to lack the essential parts of its predecessor, Anna and the French Kiss that made it so successful. Both protagonists were defined and unique in character, but the book felt like it was dragging its feet through the mud, waiting it out for Lola to figure out who was the right person for her. It sounds a lot like the underlying plot for the first book, but it was executed way better there.
This isn’t to say it sucked as the romance still had that Perkins touch, but I guess it could’ve been better. Having an amazing predecessor to live up to sets a high standard.