First off, I LOVED Anna and the French Kiss. It has a great plot, great location, great boarding school, fun characters, a great boy, but most importantly Anna is a great character. I could easily put myself into her shoes even though she was in Paris. Perkins is cute so she created a cute book that's fun to read. I was so excited about Lola and couldn't wait to get my hands on it!
However, I was disappointed with Lola and the Boy Next Door.My main problem with this book is its namesake, Lola. She is a flat out liar. She lied to her parents, her friend Lindsey, both boys in her life, and to herself. Also, I seriously love fashion and think it's fun to change your style. I just felt Lola's fashion sense is forced throughout the book. It's there to show that she's different and quirky. However, it made her appear shallow and attention-seeking.
My second problem with this books is how fixated these girls are with their boyfriends. Trust me, I LOVE romance and I married my high school sweetheart. However, we never lost sight that life exists outside of our relationship. It's healthy and normal NOT to see each other every waking moment and to have separate interests. It shows independence and security in your relationship. But, in this book it appears that to be a happy couple you can't leave each other's side. You must be around 24/7 and talk about your love interest ALL the time to EVERYONE around you. I saw glimpses of this in Anna but it was easier to overlook than it is in Lola. I didn't even like Anna and St. Clair as much in this book because they are so ridiculously stuck on each other. I just worry that this reinforces the idea that if you are girl without a boyfriend life just isn't worth it. Friendships are important things to build as a teenager and they teach you so much about relationships. Friends are all but forgotten in both Anna and Lola actually. Your boyfriend is way more important.
Also, I really liked Cricket Bell. I didn't think what he "did" to Lola was that horrible. Sure, I understand why she was hurt but the utter devastation on Lola's part was a little extreme. He is obviously a nice guy and had reasons for doing what he did. I loved that he was an inventor and had awesome taste in clothes. Sometimes I felt he was a little to good for Lola.
Overall, there are some things that I liked. I liked Cricket, Lola's dads, and Lindsey. I thought Perkins did a nice job of capturing the essence of San Francisco. I just couldn't overlook my disappointment in Lola and her relationships with Max and Cricket. She is just not a person I would want to be around. I actually hate to say this because I really like Perkins. I will read her next book, and I hope the relationships are more realistic.