Laure R. (Fresno, CA)
The Barrios of East L.A., where poverty, drugs, violence and gangs are the norm, serves as the backdrop of this chilling fast paced mystery. The people here are primarily Latino, as is Lola, the protagonist.
The writer skillfully brings Lola to life, complete with her complex family relationships and her horrendous life experiences. Her brilliant ability to lead her small gang while hiding her role as leader is necessary, sadly, due to the extremely rigid gender roles of the culture in which she is a part. I also was fascinated with the many other characters contained in this story. . I will note that violence and profanity are a part of this great read.
Days after I finished this book I still find myself thinking of her. That is unusual for me. The mystery itself was first rate and complex enough to make it difficult for me to put down. This is the author's first novel and I'm more than ready to see the next. Hopefully, there will be one soon. I will strongly recommend this book to others.
Mary G. (Purcellville, VA)
Lucrezia Borgia of the barrio
This debut novel is a fascinating look at a world that exists a few miles from where many of us live, but of which we are only vaguely aware. The title character, Lola, runs a small drug gang, but has to stay in the background--frustrated and constrained by societal expectations--and pretend to be a submissive girlfriend. Love does a great job of making Lola a complex, even sympathetic, character. She shoots a woman between the eyes, then makes empanadas for her gang. She takes in an abused child, yet cuts off her brother's finger for screwing up a job. She hates her mother, but cleans her place every week. With her little gang caught between rival drug lords, and her life on the line, it takes all of Lola's wit, intelligence, and courage just to survive. But clever Lola isn't satisfied with survival, she has bigger ideas....
Kenneth T. (Plano, TX)
Lola is good.
First: She is a terrific character. Second: This is a gritty, unidealized novel of life in a dangerous, vulgar world. She is no more Lisbeth Salander than South Central L.A. is Stockholm. Forget that hype, but be prepared, be ready for the package that is Lola. She is a hell of a woman.
If this is Ms. Love's first novel, I can't wait to see what she does when she "matures."
Marie D. (Coxsackie, NY)
Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love
Readers who like intricately plotted crime novels and complex characters will love this one. Lola, the protagonist, can kill without remorse. She views the world from near the bottom of society. Her ambition is to be the boss of her drug dealing gang. Although she is ruthless and ambitious, she becomes a sympathetic character, and the reader begins to understand her world.
As the plot unfolds, questions about the effects of environment on character, the nature of prejudice, the role of women in society, sexism, justice, and social structures in general are explored.
This is a thought provoking and riveting novel that members of book clubs will enjoy discussing . It is not a book for the faint-hearted.
Viqui G. (State College, PA)
I have read a lot of books and come across many protagonists, but I have never read a book quite as compelling as "Lola" or met a protagonist as exciting, believable and yet scary as Lola. The story arc was a little confusing at times, but the author quickly cleared up any confusion with extra details. Lola's life as the leader of a drug gang was almost like science fiction to me since I have no knowledge of that life. However, it all seemed believable and quite fascinating! The writing was fast paced and the dialogue flowed effortlessly. I strongly recommend this novel to adventuresome readers.
Julie G. (West Hartford, CT)
Absolutely Blown Away
Melissa Scrivener Love has introduced a new heroine to cheer for. Lola is a total badass, but also whipsmart, and with an amazing head on her shoulders. I was torn between reading the book in one sitting and savoring it over a few days. Savoring won - now I just hope the author follows up with a second book.
Cheryl K. (Naples, FL)
Lola: Extraordinary protagonist
Reading the novel, Lola by Melissa Scribner Love, was a very rewarding experience. Lola is a character who is ruthless, yet deeply emotional. Facing every imaginable horror living amidst gang members in Los Angeles, she displays strength, loyalty, honor, and vulnerability.
This young woman has a soft, protective side when dealing with a very damaged young girl, as well as a rescued pit bull dog. In the next breath she can kill an enemy or someone who has betrayed her without blinking.
Ms. Love writes delightful prose, and brings life to each character.
Reading this book, I became enthralled with the beauty, tragedy and, ultimately, redemption of Lola. I highly recommend this experience.