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.First Sentence: "I have three simple wishes."
It's not a book about genies. It's actually a very straightforward way to start the book, but Lola's voice immediately shines through. And here's what I mean by that: if you mix a bunch of first pages together, anyone who has an inkling of an idea who Lola is, will not mistake the first page for another character. Here's more of the first page to give you an idea.
"I have three simple wishes. That's really not too much to ask.
The first is to attend the winter formal dressed like Marie Antoinette. I want a wig so elaborate it could cage a bird and a dress so wide I'll only be able to enter the dance through a set of double doors. But I'll hold my dress high as I arrive to reveal a pair of platform combat boots, so everyone can see that, under the frills, I'm punk-rock tough."
The next two wishes briefly touch on the two major conflicts of the novel (her neighbors and her boyfriend). The first page is very successful in laying out voice and conflict, being just enough in-your-face to emulate Lola and get the plot rolling, without being Telling.
Brownie Points: Well, the entire book. Besides that?
Lola's parents. They're gay. But here's what I love about this. It's not a novel about having gay parents. She just happens to have loving parents who don't always agree with her choices but allow her to live her own life--and they just happen to be two men. Plus, she lives in San Francisco (just like in Anna, Lola is very successful with setting as a character), which was a great choice for setting. If it'd been set in a small town, not only would Lola be seen as more eccentric, but her parents might have been an issue. It's done beautifully.
Recommendation: Everyone should read it. If you like YA even a little bit, or Adult contemporary for that matter, you should read it. It's a highly successful novel with a highly successful character. I suggest you start with Anna, it's a fabulous read, then Lola, then anything else Perkins ever produces.
Would I represent it? Yes, yes, yes! What have I been talking about? Character. Plot. Setting. It's all golden.