Lola at Last

HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Feb. 2023. 400p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063060180.
Gr 8 Up–Lola Barnes used to have it all: popularity, a hot guy, and an inseparable relationship with her twin sister, Kat. But when it gets out that she and the aforementioned guy have been cheating on his girlfriend, Lola is sent away to boarding school, and when she returns to the Bay Area a year later, everything has changed. Lost without her social status and confused by Kat’s new frosty attitude toward her, Lola accidentally sets fire to a boat during a party. She is sent to a highly competitive intensive hiking program intended to teach her responsibility and give her a new attitude toward life. Everyone around her assumes that this will be one more thing Lola will fail at, but can she prove them all wrong? This is marketed not as a sequel, but rather as a companion novel to Peterson’s debut, Being Mary Bennet. While it does stand mostly on its own, it is helpful to have met the extended cast of Lola’s family prior to reading this. Fans seeking a similarly playful Pride and Prejudice adaptation might be slightly disappointed with this story, but readers who enjoy well-written character development and personal growth narratives will be in for a treat. Peterson’s writing is solid and characterizations are again very well done, and there’s enough drama to go around.
VERDICT A good purchase for any YA collection. This has a little something for everyone: romance, drama, character growth, and beautiful descriptions of nature abound.

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