The Crenshaw Six are a small but up-and-coming gang in South Central LA who have recently been drawn into an escalating war between rival drug cartels. To outsiders, the Crenshaw Six appear to be led by a man named Garcia . . . but what no one has figured out is that the gang’s real leader (and secret weapon) is Garcia’s girlfriend, a brilliant young woman named Lola.
Lola has mastered playing the role of submissive girlfriend, and in the man’s world she inhabits she is consistently underestimated. But in truth she is much, much smarter–and in many ways tougher and more ruthless–than any of the men around her, and as the gang is increasingly sucked into a world of high-stakes betrayal and brutal violence, her skills and leadership become their only hope of survival.
Lola is a novel unlike anything I have read before, it is a special, unique, quaint novel which packs a hearty punch. It is full of important messages and filled with important subject matters but ultimately it is a novel which holds your heart and compels you to think about this world and the disadvantaged people who live in it. A truly powerful and provocative read from an incredible debut author; a read which I enjoyed immensely!
Lola follows the story of well, Lola! It is an epic tale of one woman’s rise to power in Southern Los Angeles gang territory. People know Lola as the submissive girlfriend of Garcia; the vicious leader of the Crenshaw Six gang – a gang that controls a small area of south LA. What the people of Los Angeles do not know is that Lola is actually the cold-hearted leader of the small gang and everything that happens is down to her and her alone, she is the boss and ruthless in a cunning manipulative way. Everything is going swimmingly for Lola until the Crenshaw Six are tasked to help a dangerous cartel take out a rival gang and Lola knows that she is facing an impossible situation and that she will die if she does not succeed. However Lola is a survivor, she has survived her whole life… she has survived abuse, her heroin addicted mother and she will do what it takes to survive the cartel, no matter the consequences.
The premise and subsequent story of Lola is incredible. Never have I read such a powerful, compelling novel. The premise of this novel being about one woman’s tale coming out from behind the shadows of men and exerting her power in order to survive fascinated me. How often is it that we come across books such as this? Never in my opinion. It is so refreshing to read a book which focuses on crime and gangs and not to have the story run by men but rather a woman…This is just wonderful to me!
Now the character of Lola is what makes this novel so brilliantly amazing and without her this novel would fall flat. Upon first page you will immediately fall in love with Lola, it is impossible not to when you learn all about the hardships she has endured all her life. She may be a criminal but you learn why she has turned to this life and you feel sorry for her because she is not a bad person, she really isn’t. She is deeply caring and has been through a lot so immediately as a reader you sympathise with her and adore her.
Lola is tough and she does incredibly brutal things to strike terror into the hearts of men, she is strong and dominant and lets not forget clever. She may be calculating and cunning but as I mentioned earlier she is also loving and fiercely protective, especially of younger women who have tragically been abused by older men. This is made apparent when she meets a little girl named Lucy whose horrible mother sells her to men for drug money – it makes me sick that such horrible people exist in this world, but the relationship between Lola and Lucy is a heartwarming one and they are an oasis of cuteness in the midst of all the violence of LA. I loved Love’s creation of Lola and how she made her believable and extremely realistic, I adored the fact that although Lola is doing bad things, the reader knows that she is not a bad person and that she is morally good, it takes real talent to create a diverse character like this.
It is hard to believe that this novel is a debut novel because Love’s writing is well accomplished and beautifully written. I have to admit that Love writes with such poignancy that sometimes this novel can be a very hard read as some of the scenes are terribly upsetting. However I did not mind this too much because I think it is important (especially in this day and age) to know about the heinous side to this world and that it is not all full of roses and lovely, beautiful things. People are suffering and crime is amongst us so I really admire Love for writing such a poignant story about our times and how it affects the people caught up in the chaos. Overall Love did an impeccable job of staying true to the setting of the story and the characters all whilst doing an amazing job at painting a realistic picture of a lifestyle that is so foreign to a lot of the people in the world; all whilst having an empowering lead female character at the heart of the story and how she was stuck in a mans world with all of its limitations but still managed to overcome the odds and be badass and awesome!
To summarise my review I would say that Melissa Scrivner Love is a beautiful writer who brings fresh perspective and focus to such important matters we face in this world. She has created a novel that is a fast-paced, entertaining read all whilst being important at the same time and I cant wait for what she writes next! This brilliant novel gets four stars from me!
Thank you so much for reading as always book lovers! I appreciate you all so much! Please do comment below as always and let me know all of those wonderful thoughts swimming around your head. Do you like the sounds of this novel? Could you see yourself reading it? Let me know, I would love to talk to you all! Thank you so much again for reading!
P.S. Here is a preview of the book for all of you to enjoy! If you love what you have read you can click the buy me button and it will take you straight to Amazon U.K. and if you are international then click the Book Depository link below it! Thank you so much again!
Goodbye for now book lovers,