Published: July 2013
Genre: young adult, romance
Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the negihborhood. 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.
Lola doesn’t wear clothes — she wears costumes. Fashion is a form of artistic expression, and Lola takes it very seriously. And although she’s a quirky San Francisco individual, she’s quite mature for her age and tries to persuades her fathers that her older rockstar boyfriend Max is perfect for her. But her world is shaken when long-time crush Cricket returns next door with his twin Olympic figure skater sister Calliope. The twins and Lola go way back, and she struggles to reconcile with the past and envision a different future.
With her outrageous outfits and fun personality, Lola was an easy character to like. Her fathers were endearing and strong, and their belief that Max is too old for her seeps through the pages of the book. And while it sometimes made me feel old (I’m older than Max!), I would’ve had to agree with them. 17 and 23 is different from 23 and 29 — there’s that huge period in one’s life in the early twenties one needs to experience first. But apart from the age, I was okay with Max. Soon enough his true colors show, and I wanted to throttle Lola to make her see sense. She’s the friend you love and adore and hope never wanders down the wrong path.
That said, Cricket was almost too perfect. He’s a very good guy, extremely smart and passionate, and most certainly the Good Boy Next Door. I liked him well enough, but there was something about his relationship with Lola that seemed a little forced too. Honestly, this may come from the fact I’m still on an Anna-and-Étienne high (having related to Anna so much), and couldn’t connect with this particular couple. But I still thoroughly enjoyed this book for what it was: another romance, in another wonderful city.
Also, Anna and Étienne were central characters in this story as well. Not mentioned in passing, not forced into situations, but genuine secondary characters. Anna is Lola’s manager at the movie theater, so of course her boyfriend is always around. It is convenient though that he and Cricket both attend Berkeley. Even still, it was beautiful to watch those two from a third party observer.
Isla and the Happily Ever After is out this week!