Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review: The Boys Next Door by Jennifer Echols

Pages: 339
Genre: Teenage Fiction, Contemporary
First Published:  26/06/07
Publisher: Simon Pulse
I bought this for my kindle.

Cute, available, and one cabin over....

Lori lives for summertime on the lake. She spends all season wakeboarding, swimming, and hanging with her friends — including the two hotties in the house next door. With the Vader brothers, Lori's always been one of the guys. 

But while Lori and the "baby" brother, Adam, are inseparable friends, she can't deny a secret crush on Sean, the older Vader boy. This year Sean's been paying Lori a lot of attention, and not in a brotherly way.

But just as Lori decides to prove to Sean she's girlfriend material, she realizes that her role as girl friend to Adam may be even more important. And by trying so hard for the perfect summer romance, she could be going way overboard...


If you haven't already noticed; lately I've been in the mood for some contemporary fiction. Something that reaches out for, but does not quite touch cheesy. Something that includes the themes of friendship, romance and self-discovery. And, something  that really makes me laugh. 'The Boys Next Door' is a book that appealed to me because it seemed like it would be really summery and fun. The whole brothers next door fighting over their friend's little sister seemed pretty interesting too...

Lori was an interesting main character. At first I wasn't sure that I wanted to like her. She seemed a little bratty, a little scheming and a little tarty to be honest. Then I found out that her mother had passed on when she was young and I instantly rethought all the judgments that I had made. Actually, if you read on further you will discover that her mother is the reason for a few of the transformations Lori has planned for the summer. Lori was like a younger sister type character that I wanted to boss around and say "no, don't do that", "choose him!" etc to.

I found the relationships between Lori, her brother and the brothers next store to be very interesting. I really appreciated this little unit of people that Echols created in the story and by the end of it I almost felt like I was one of them (except for the fact that I don't know anything about wake boarding). It was cool to learn about the different jobs that the characters took on in their summer position at the Vader's and to understand the politics of the boys' (and one girl) social circle.

'The Boys Next Door' didn't feel like an overly complex novel. Language-wise it seemed kind of immature and as far as themes went it was pretty tame. The most adult things mentioned in this book in terms of sex were cleavage and cleavage revealing tops. The most adult things mentioned in regards to social issues were going to see a "shrink", taking medication and the loss of a parent. These things weren't discussed in much depth, but were rather a part of passing speech (if that is the expression?). So, I felt like a young person (a twelve or eleven year old) could read this book. Having said that if I were to start explaining the story-line to someone who hadn't read it I might really confuse  them with the who-was-with-who-to-make-who-jealous, because there is a lot of that. I think the story-line made up for a lot of things.

I thought this book was a lot of fun and was very humorous. I had to tell myself to put it down late at night and "go to sleep already" because it was simply addictive. And, Lori wasn't vague. She started figuring out more than what most characters usually figure out earlier in the book. And, the book did include the theme/concept of change which is kind of deep...

What didn't I like? I didn't like that the book ended and my kindle still said "80%" like there was more book to go, but it was all just previews and stuff. It had a good ending, but I wanted more because I thought 80% meant that there was more...

I also didn't like a lot of the wake boarding jargon. I know the character likes wake boarding, but hello! glossary please?! I don't understand what half of it meant and most of that stuff just went over my head. After a while I found myself skimming those bits.

Overall 4.5/5 stars. I know that may seem like a high score for a book that wasn't the most sophisticated, but I liked the characters I felt what I was supposed to feel and I had a good laugh reading the funny bits. For me that's enough. And, I can't wait to read the other Jennifer Echols Book I bought!

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Jenn said...

I read this one last summer and really enjoyed it. I was very pleasantly surprised by it actually! I wasn't sure if this was in the previews or not, but there is a 2nd book too. I read it in the double book "Endless Summer" so I'm not sure if it's available separate or not. But you should check it out, it's just as good as the first imho. :)

Natalie_vintage_girl said...

Unfortunately endless summer does not come seperate so looks like i will be buying the double book :( oh well. more for the author right :)