This book was amazing! I preferred it to Anna And The French Kiss (#1) because it seemed far more grown up. This surprised me as on YouTube I had heard that Lola was worse than Anna as a book.
As this is a companion trilogy Anna and Etienne (St Clair) from book 1 (Anna And The French Kiss) do feature. Anna and Lola work at the same cinema and Etienne (St Clair) and Cricket go to the same college. We don't see too much of Anna or Etienne (St Clair) so the story is still Lola's.
There are minor spoilers below.
Lola And The Boy Next Door tells the story of Delores (Lola) and her growing up through seeing her make mistakes and try to correct them. For example, at the beginning of the book we see her and her boyfriend Max (she's seventeen years old and he's twenty two years old). Her parents aren't exactly happy about this relationship. Max is portrayed as a man who is more concerned about his band and where they're playing next than Lola. Lola and Max ultimately want different things out of life.
Lola is a costume designer. She's very much "out there" in the way she dresses.
Then there's Cricket Bell. He and Lola have known each other their whole lives but Cricket has moved house a few times (because of his twin sister's ice skating career) so they've lost each other on multiple occasions before. His sister Calliope doesn't like Lola because she "stole" Cricket's attention from her. Lola and Cricket had feelings towards each other before this book starts and they are developed further throughout the course of Lola And The Boy Next Door. As they are next door neighbours they can speak to each other from their bedrooms. I thought these moments were sweet and meaningful.
Lola has a different family set up to most teenagers her age in the book. She has two dads because her mum just couldn't look after her. Her mother gave Lola to her gay brother and his partner to bring up. Her mother does feature in this story but she's referred to as her name and not "mom".
This book is really based on family love as well as realising that hope and love can be found through whatever means.
There is a lot more to this story but those are just some of the interesting things that I found.
I gave this book a 5 stars because I just loved the characters and how entertaining they were. While I liked book 1, it seemed a little bit more "kiddy" as it wasn't dealing with as many grown up issues i.e figuring out who you are. That's what I believe Lola was doing throughout the novel. I think that Anna knew who she was in the first book and she didn't need to change to have St Clair in her life. If anything St Clair changed for Anna. Here, Lola changes for Cricket.
I look forward to reading my 100th book of the year, Isla And The Happily Ever After, and completing my Goodreads goal for the year next.