Even though Lola and the Boy Next Door is the second book in Stephanie Perkins' trilogy, I read it third. It doesn't really matter as each book rather stands alone, but the characters we've met before do show up in subsequent books. And, I think it's wise to have read Anna and the French Kiss prior to Lola and the Boy Next Door because Anna and St. Clair do have rolls here, but they are all so minor in Isla and the Happily Ever After that it doesn't really mess anything up to have read that one out of order. And, in fact, it was reading Isla and the Happily Ever After that made me hesitant to pick up Lola and the Boy Next Door. Lola and Cricket make a brief appearance in Isla's book and I didn't like them. So, I wasn't sure I wanted to read their story. But, I finally overcame my reluctance and read it. Or, rather, listened to the audio book.
Lola is 17, is dating a 22 year old member of a rock band, is being raised by two dads in San Francisco and has a highly unique fashion style. Enter Cricket, the boy next door who moved away, but is now back. They have history. I think it's not a spoiler to say that this is their story. Sure, Max is in the picture to start, but let's be serious. This is a romance and it's fairly clear that Max isn't Lola's soul mate from the start.
I have a bit of mixed feelings about this book. I think Stephanie Perkins is a good author. I love her writing style. Because of that, this book flowed just fine for me and I did want to listen. However, I still didn't so much like Lola. I liked her better in her own book than in the glimpse of her we say in Isla's book, but not as much as I've liked Stephanie's other protagonists. I found her to be really juvenile in a way the others weren't. I never fully understood Cricket's sister, Calliope, and didn't get the sort of push pull Lola has toward friendship or not with her. Also, I kept expecting to learn that Cricket was a nickname for something else, but that never did happen. The fact that Cricket was this guy's name was a bit of a strange thing. Lola lies to her boyfriend as well as to her parents, which I didn't like. I felt like Lola was overly dramatic about several things ranging from her reaction to the neighbors moving back to her birth mom. On occasion, I thought Lola took her unique fashion sense a little too far, but mostly I ended up thinking it was an interesting aspect of her personality.
Even with all those complaints, I actually liked the book okay. I attribute it to Stephanie's writing style, which goes a long way with me. At the same time, Lola and the Boy Next Door is my least favorite of Stephanie's books thus far.