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.
Any type of charm and appeal I found in Anna and the French Kiss was completely absent in this addition to the companion novel/series/whatever you would call this. Where I found, Anna entertaining and relatable, Lola was ridiculous and annoying. Her senior year drama was uninteresting and overdone, her character lackluster, and her love interests questionable. But let’s start with one thing at a time here.
First of all, the entire plot was dull, unremarkable, and rather commonplace when compared to Anna’s French adventures. Lola was an immature protagonist, which is to be expected from YA focusing on high schoolers. However, I have only found myself this aggravated with a protagonist once before, which is a review for another time. Lola somehow manages to put all her self-worth into the opinions of other characters, while simultaneously doing everything she can to distance herself from them. While featuring Lola in an abusive relationship with WHOEVER was an interesting dichotomy in a YA novel, Perkins missed a golden opportunity to show exactly how abusive he was. There is never a good example of an older man dating a girl who is underage, it only showcases a desperately disgusting need for control over something/one, since often these girls become objects to the men in question. WHOEVER is no exception, reacting in ways to Lola spending time with other male characters with increasing hostility and accusations of cheating. Let it be said that usually the person accusing others of cheating without proof or due cause are voicing their own guilt. I half expected it to be revealed that he was sleeping around behind Lola’s back, but instead Perkins saved him some unneeded dignity and had him find a rebound girl.
My second qualm was with Lola, the “I’m not like other girls” (actual quote) I’m a self-made manic pixie dream girl who enjoys sacrificing any kind of character development I may have had for the men peppering my story and ignoring everyone around me because I’m so caught up in my own ridiculousness, herself. Need I say more?
Thirdly, I also found myself at a loss to why Lola was so upset with Crickets treatment of her before he moved away, and her infatuation with him throughout the book. She is distraught that he does not invite her to a party his sister threw for him, despite it being without his permission and a surprise party. This thorn in her side makes every interaction with Cricket afterwards painfully awkward, annoying, and wrought with eye rolls. To me, he was a flat character who only appeared to add some strife to Lola’s ridiculous relationship with WHOEVER. I escaped this television soap opera with my hair mostly intact, and annoyed, which boded so poorly for the following novel that I’ve decided to cross it off my TBR list and not even bother. Someone recommend me a well written love story without the useless love triangle and an interesting cast please?