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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Boy Next Door ~Review

"It's not about falling, 
it's about what you do after the fall." 

I am sad yet pleased to inform you all that this has become my new favorite book. Yes, this has pushed into first place, leaving Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry as very very close second.

Back of Book:
Maddy Spier's been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner, she spends time in his arms every day. But she's also seen his arms around other girls-lots of other girls. How can she make him realize that they can be partners off the ice as well?

Gabe's relationship with Maddy is vital. he can't imagine skating with anyone else, and together, they have a real chance at greatness-maybe even making it to the Olympics someday. So he's decided to think of her as a sister. After all, family is forever, and he's never dated anyone for more than two weeks. 

Then their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, and everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy's been hoping for or the big breakup that gave has always feared?

Find out, as this intensely romantic novel sweeps you off your skates!

Okay, now, I know that I am a gently critic. I focus very much on the positive and not the negative. I promise from now on to even it out, to have good and bad things to say about books to come. 

BUUUUUTTTTTTT.... I only have good things to say about this one. When I picked up this book, I thought I was getting into another sappy romance story, I mean the title is The Boy Next Door for goodness sakes! We all can pretty much speculate the plot line to a book with a title like that. 

Honestly, it wasn't what I expected. Of course there was the definite romance theme throughout the book, and Maddy and Gabe's relationship was an extremely large portion of the book, but it was so much more. Van Ark had so many other things in the novel, family, friends, misunderstandings, skating, she did an incredible job of not making the entire book only the romance. A good book always has that balance, to keep you lusting for more of each element. 

Fact: I know absolutely nothing about skating! Nada, none, nothing. 
Fact: I still know nothing about skating
Fact: Van Ark wrote the entire book in a way that, I didn't need to know what all the terms meant, I didn't need to understand exactly what Gabe and Maddy were doing. She made the skating terms, literally skate through the story and it didn't make the reader struggle. She described everything in a way that made the reader understand, made the reader see the entire routine in their mind. It was amazing.
Fact: I know what a triple axel is and the quad throw thing. 

Maddy and Gabe live next door, they've been skating since they were six and ever Saturday their families do dinner, games and movies. Maddy's dad is the Senator for Kansas and he has a secret. There is so much of the family element in this book, that at times it felt like two separate books. She kept the balance nicely and didn't flood the book with only romance. It had the scandalous drama of having a senator as a father. It had the strictness of the skating instructor. It had the anxiety of a skating competition. It had the monotonous lull of high school. It had everything there to surround the romance. 

But boy did she build the sexual tension between Maddy and Gabe through the entire book, even after they got together (Spoiler alert! but if you didn't see that coming, clearly you need to read more.) I think what my favorite thing Van Ark did in this book, was she let us read about the actual relationship, we got to see them AS a couple. 

One of the most annoying things to me, is that more often than not, authors will spend the entire book having the character's chasing after each other to get to that relationship and as soon as they are a couple, the book ends. Not in The Boy Next Door, Maddy and Gabe got together towards the middle of the book and then the rest of the time we got to read about them AS a couple. It was great, it quenched the thirst for sure. 

Another problem with most romance novels, is the couples are too perfect, they don't make any mistakes, the boys are exactly what every girl dreams of and the the girls are just as perfect, never misunderstanding, or getting jealous. Maddy and Gabe are REAL they have the same hormones, feelings, emotions, misunderstandings, and clumsiness as real high schoolers do. Cause lets be honest, a relationship is never easy, EVER, and most books make it seem effortless, when really that isn't the truth. Real couples make mistakes, get jealous and embarrassed, fight, misunderstand the other, and sometimes get a bit naughty ;) 

Something else that made me smile about this book was that it is told from Maddy and Gabe's viewpoints. Each chapter switches between who's mind we are in. It gives us more drama to know what the other character doesn't, it's like a little secret between the character and the reader, and it is a good secret. 

For the longest of time, four years now, Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry has been my favorite book, read my review to understand why. But today, January 12, 2016, The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark, has pushed it's way to my #1 favorite book, and I highly highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. 


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