Lola and the Boy Next Door is the companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, a book I absolutely loved. Because of my love for the first book, I think my expectations for this were higher than they would have been otherwise, which unfortunately set me up for disappointment. I couldn't help but compare it to Anna and the French Kiss, and it's no contest between the two; Anna and the French Kiss wins.
The main character is Lola who is dating Max, a musician who her parents and best friend dislike. However, her neighbors move back next door at the start of the book, which means her first love, Cricket, is suddenly back in her life. And that's when she knows that she's not as over him as she had hoped.
I had a hard time connecting with Lola. She just acted very childishly throughout the book, creating pretty much every single one of her problems through her actions. The problems in her relationship with Max? Well, lying to him repeatedly does that. Problems with Cricket? Sending mixed signals of 'we can only be friends' and 'I want you right now' will do that. Parents don't trust her? Lying to them repeatedly, running out of the house to jump into your boyfriend's moving car late at night, and coming home in the early hours of the morning smelling like pot can have that effect. There were just so many moments where I kept going, "Please, think about what you're doing for just a second! No? You're going to do the thing? Fine. But I'm definitely saying I told you so when things blow up in your face. Again." It got old fast.
I found myself annoyed with both love interests for different reasons. Max annoyed me with his possessive tendencies. And I found myself exasperated with Cricket continuing to chase Lola after it became very clear she was just leading him on. I wanted him to just walk away from the situation.
I think the one character I really liked was Calliope, Cricket's twin sister, because I could understand her, even if she wasn't the nicest person in the story. She made sense to me with her insecurities and her possessiveness over her twin brother, and I could appreciate her.
The part of the book I was most excited for ended up disappointing me a lot—seeing Anna and St. Clair. I loved them in the first book, but here they had become ridiculously codependent on one another. They couldn't go a single day without one another, and St. Clair couldn't even be away from Anna while she worked, so he'd hang out at the movie theater she worked at during all of her shifts. They just didn't feel like two separate people, but rather one person in two bodies. Luckily, while they had multiple appearances throughout the story, they were absent more often than present.
This wasn't a bad book, but it just wasn't as good for me as Anna and the French Kiss. I might have liked it a bit more if it was stand-alone simply because I wouldn't have come into it with expectations.