Author: Jolene B. Perry
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Release Date: October 4 2011
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from November 29 to December 3, 2011
Summary: With her body still recovering from last year's cancer treatments, Leigh Tressman is determined to be independent. Despite the interference from her overprotective brother, physical frustrations, and spiritual dilemmas— not to mention the ever expanding line of young men ready to fall in love with her— Leigh discovers what it actually means to stand on her own and learns that love can be found in unexpected but delightful places.
I was really excited to start it because The Next Door Boys has such pretty cover and I'm that kind of person who judges a book by its cover. And though I've been disappointed by my judgement many times, I haven't yet learned, and that's also the way it is with this book.
I really wish I had liked it better. At first I gave it 3 stars and then I spent the night thinking about it, and decided that 3 stars was too generous. Therefore, 2 stars. And I feel really weird because most of the readers seemed to have liked this book. At first I decided not to review it, because it didn't really make me feel anything, and I didn't think I had anything worth saying. But then I changed my mind and am now giving it a try.
Leigh Tressman is a cancer survivor. She had to take a year off to be in the hospital because of ovarian cancer, and when she was released from the hospital, she couldn't wait to live independently. She starts college, and moves away from her parents to live in the basement of a house next to where her protective brother, Jaron, lives. That's where our boy next door, Brian, lives too. Leigh has two roommates, Kim and Megan.
The story started off so slowly, and continued to progress really slowly, that I lost my patience a lot of times. I think it's also partly because it's an e-book. I have much less tolerance with e-books unless they are really good. And sadly that's where this book falls short. I don't feel anything about Leigh at all. I know that she's a cancer survivor, that she has a good personality, and that she should make me feel sympathetic and all, but no, I didn't feel any of that. I didn't feel anything at all. And that's also the way it was with every character. I really don't know if it's because of the writing or because of myself that I didn't like this book. I also had no idea how it can be improved to become better. I just didn't feel very connected to it. And then there's Brian. I can't really say that I like this character, because as I said, I didn't feel anything. Brian is a much older guy who's been there and done that. He's divorced and already has a 5-year-old son. He has tattoos and they represent where he has been in his life, and he works at night in a bar to earn extra money. Jaron admires Brian so much and talks about him in a really affectionate way. And at first I thought Jaron was in love with Brian, so it really took me by surprise when Jaron starts dating a girl.
Despite the blank feeling towards every character, I did feel something about the writing. I didn't like it much. The story jumps from scene to scene too often. It's like it stays in the same scene for a couple of pages, and then jumps. It was really frustrating because just as when I got into that scene, it suddenly moved on, and I didn't get to feel anything. This is what I thought the problem was that caused my apathy, it didn't allow me to sink into the story enough to feel. Another thing I didn't like is Leigh's cluelessness about the boys liking her. Someone has to point it out to her, and she would be all no no no. I found it a bit annoying.
I guess that's all I have to say about this book. As I said earlier, I didn't think I have anything worth saying. When you don't feel very connected to the main character(s) or the story, it's hard to find something to say. However, I'm glad I'm telling you why. I don't feel so guilty about not liking it very much anymore. Still, I wish I could've liked it better.
This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.