My Rating: 4 out of 5
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.
This was a whole lot different from Anna and the French Kiss, and almost a role reversal to that story. Lola is a gifted designer with a rock star wannabe boyfriend, two dads, no significant mother figure in her life and a fantastic best friend. Life is complicated enough with her boyfriend being so much older than her (her fathers don't approve wholeheartedly), but she expresses herself through her clothes and the costumes she wears, and she never wears the same outfit twice!
Everything's hunky-dory and not so different from any other teenagers life. But when the Bell twins move back next door, Lolas life begins to unravel, like the seams of her creations and everything changes.
What I loved about this book is my wrong preconceptions. When I first started it I thought Lola dressed the way she did becaue her mother was a non-existent entity in her life and she was brought up by two loving fathers. Possibly a reaching hand to empower the woman inside her and show off her feminine side. But a little way into the story we find out that Lola has always been this way. Wanting to create beautiful designs and wear them with pride. It's part of who she is - Lady Gaga style.
Another preconception was that the Bell twins were almost perfect. As we examine the story we realise that Calliope as insecure as Lola despite her perfect skin and perfect body. Her achievements as a figure skater have diminished Cricket's significance in the family, he goes where she goes, and because of this I feel even more sorry for him as he really is a genuine nice guy.
Max started off as a great character, going through all the right motions of being a great older boyfriend while staying sensitive enough that family-life is important to Lola and abiding by her father' rules. But gradually his shine wears off and we see his rebellious side peeking through that can only drag Lola down. When he started taking time away from her and revealed his nasty side to her friends he showed his true face.
Lola's fathers, Nathan and Andy, were what held this book together. Being brought up by two fathers is nothing new these days and I loved that Lola was a really happy person from a loving home. This isn't something you see very often in YA books and made a nice break. Norah also proved to be exactly what we envisaged from the beginning. But Lola gave her hope, and for people who are in unfortunate circumstances, she really gave us a glimpse of her maturity.
Overall, there are so many little stories going on within this book. All of the characters have their weaknesses and troubles and I loved how everything, through the heartache and the pain, finally came together at the end. Stephanie Perkins is now one of my favourite authors and I can't wait to read more from her.
You can reach Stephanie Perkins here: