I hate opening up blog posts with apologies. It feels like such a negative way to start a post, especially a post about a book you didn't actually like. But...
My school has this production thing that's kind of a Big Deal. It involves A Lot of Practice. And one of my house computers broke. And I've been pushing myself to finally finish my first draft, after three years.
All in all, I'm a bad
BUT, today I have a review for you.
And on Thursday I have a new meme planned, and I really hope this one works out.
Let's get to the review, shall we?
Add Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins on Goodreads!
Bonus: Even though, as you're about to see, I didn't like the book, I have something extra-special and Lola related coming on Thursday!
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.
Preface: I'm not someone who went into Lola expecting a bad book. And my expectations weren't through the roof. But I know that Stephanie can write really well, and I expected this book to nearly live up to the standards set with Anna. This isn't a review by someone who hates/loves anything and everything Stephanie Perkins.
Anna and the French Kiss was one of the best contemporary romances I read in 2011. The characters were all real, hysterical, adorable, and the chemistry between Anna and Etienne was amazing. I was scared to touch their names with my fingertips, in case touching both at the same time would electrocute me. Perkins even had one of Anna's cutest lines in this book, as well, as a treat for fans, I guess. :)
Unfortunately, Anna and Etienne were the best part of this sequel.
I wasn't feeling the romance in this one. I didn't even like the love interest. And both boys were really poorly written.
But I'm jumping ahead a bit.
San Francisco. Awesome setting, definitely.
Lola. Cute, spunky, quirky, and original. Great main character, though sometimes annoying.
Parents. Well, Dads. I have absolutely no problem with Lola being brought up by two gay men. I think it's a pretty interesting twist and, being a Gleek, it's very Berry-esque. And Stephanie Perkins, as Lola of course, keeps on saying that just because they're gay doesn't mean one of them is the "woman." Lola/Stephanie says that they're very equal.
Except: Nathan is the lawyer, who "brings home the bacon" and cracks down on Lola about rules, the "bad cop." Meanwhile, Andy bakes pie, and is always on Lola's side, telling her he'll go talk to Nathan when something happens. He calls Nathan "honey." Although Lola is trying to phrase it not in a negative light, with a really frank view ("and I don't use this expression lightly") she admits that ice-skating is "the gayest thing about him."
You want equality? Make Nathan the one who likes figure-skating. I've met gay men; some are gayer than others. I know someone who looks and acts like a completely normal, decent person (no, I'm NOT saying that gay people aren't "decent") who could be straight.
Perkins took a perfectly nice trope and messed it up royally.
I really like Max at first. He started out sweet and sensitive. Perkins deliberately changed his character in middle of the book. If how he acted in the beginning is anything to go by, he's a good person. He must have hit his head, or become bipolar or something... And you know me, I always root for the underdog.
Cricket really, really annoyed me at first. As much as I liked Max I disliked Cricket. And then, like Max, he underwent a completely change into a less-annoying person. And yes, I understand that he was smitten, but he was such a push-over. There was ZERO chemistry.
(And notice how I just used a sentence in all-caps? The book has that too. Sure, it's a writing style, but it comes across as incredibly unprofessional.)
Besides for Max (at first) and Anna-Etienne, the only good part was...
Wait. Scratch that. Anna-Etienne was the only good part that lasted the entire book. They're just cuteness times infinity.
Rating: 2 stars It was a bad book. I don't recommend it.
If you've read Anna and/or Lola, what did you think of them?