I was not even finished with Anna and the French Kiss by the time I ordered this book. I just knew I would love it. I don’t think I would have even picked up the first book if not for all the fantastic reviews from bloggers I love. And then of course I had an opportunity to meet the author at Leaky Con and my friend, Emma, was reading these books when she was here in Chicago for the conference and she would not stop talking about how great they were! And now, I finally understand. Stephanie Perkins is just amazing. End of story.
This one is about Lola, a girl who makes her own clothes, or as she calls it, costumes. She seems to never wear the same thing twice, and views each day and experience as a new opportunity to dress in a different costume. Her most prepared for costume is the dress she plans to wear at her school’s winter formal. She dreams of going to the dance dressed as Marie Antoinette! And months in advance she plans, sews, and puts her dress together. Lola is dating someone five years older than her and her parents really don’t like him.
Lola has grown up with two dads who love her to pieces and do seem to have her best interest at heart. They just happen to call after every hour or so when she is out with her boyfriend and they make him come over for an awkward Sunday brunch every week where they can grill him about things. They are a bit overprotective of their girl.
Everything changes though when Lola’s neighbors move back in next door. Lola was originally friends with the Bell twins when she was a little kid, but eventually Calliope grew to be too cool for Lola’s weirdness. Though, as the years go by and Calliope becomes better and better at figure skating, Lola gets closer to Cricket. She falls in love with the boy next door who prefers sitting in his room inventing random machines then to doing anything else. They spend a lot of time together, and just when it finally seems like they will end up together, there is one big, giant falling out that is followed by Cricket and Calliope and their family moving away in effort to pursue Calliope’s skating career.
Any way, when Cricket comes back into Lola’s life, she doesn’t expect to still have feelings for him. She loves her musician boyfriend and she can’t wait to rub in Cricket’s face that she is dating someone. Though, nothing is as easy as it seems, and when it’s clear that Cricket still has feelings for Lola, everything gets really complicated and Lola has a lot of important decisions to make.
This book is full of family drama, fashion, dances, concerts, love triangles, ice-skating, partying, and growing up! It comes to be about doing what is best for you and realizing that life changes all the time (you’re first boyfriend does not need to be your last). I love, love, loved Lola! She is such a character. I loved her costumes. I loved her relationship with her dads. I loved her relationship with her best friend. And I love that she was flawed. Yes, she did some things I did not agree with, but what teenager doesn’t?
Also, I love, loved, loved Cricket! He’s dorky and awkward, but just so understanding and so kind. I felt so bad for all times he was overshadowed by his annoying twin! Though, I even came to really like Calliope too, or at least understand why she was so worked up all the time!
I loved that Anna and Etienne were there! I wasn’t really expecting them! They worked with Lola at the movie theater and sort of worked as the good example of what a happy couple looks like. And it was so nice seeing them again! I loved knowing they were still together and still going after what they wanted.
I am also so glad that the teenager/older man relationship did not work out! I feel like it is a major trend (at least in teen tv) for teen girls to be dating older men, and I’m always so happy to read/watch that not happen. Though, Lola’s original boyfriend did not seem that bad at first. I feel like he went from acceptable older boyfriend to complete jerk right in time for Lola to move on to someone else. Or maybe it’s just that Lola couldn’t recognize how not right her boyfriend was until she saw someone who was completely right for her.
I savored this book. It’s one where I was just dying to get to the end so I could see a happy ending that I kept hoping would happen. I can’t wait for Perkins’ third book! Really, she writes contemporary and romance so well. This story was adorable. I loved the characters. I loved the ending. It gets a 10/10.