Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Girl Next Door by Selene Castrovilla

While most seniors at her high school are worrying about prom and final exams, seventeen-year-old Sam is desperately trying to save her best friend Jesse’s life. He has a rare, treatment-resistant form of cancer, and his odds of survival aren’t good; he may have only ten months left to live. Through every bit of his pain and anguish, Sam has been by his side—through the grueling, aggressive treatments and their awful aftermath, to sleeping in his room when he’s afraid to be alone. Best friends and neighbors since preschool, Jesse and Sam’s friendship is changing. Now they’re falling in love, and the bond between them grows stronger even as Jesse weakens. Will they have a happy ending...or will their story end in heartbreak? 
Though the concept of the story in The Girl Next Door was genuine and heartwarming, I did not enjoy reading it. There was something that was blocking my metal capacity to even concentrate on what was going on. Even when I did finally pay attention, the plot was–to put it bluntly–boring and uneventful. 
Sam, the main character and narrator of the book, is trying to "save" her friend (and later more) from dying. Although Jessie might have accepted his future, Sam is unwilling to give him up. It was a touching, sad story, and the ending was probably the best thing that ever happened in the book, but I couldn't help but feel there was a lot missing. There was no in-between things happening with the climax. Everything revolved around Jessie's illness and Sam's life did too. The entire plot went in circles and followed a pattern of events; you never got to really hear about Jessie and Sam's life before his illness. I also did not like the fact that the author kept throwing in religion but never really got anywhere with it. What is the use of mentioning something if all you do is ride the fence. In short, that part of it was rather confusing. 
Overall, the idea of the story was good; I just felt like there was something was missing, perhaps the characters were a bit too incomplete. 

➲Recommendation: It's okay to read a story of loss once in awhile but The Girl Next Door might not be the one to choose first. Because it wasn't a terribly unenjoyable book (it just didn't suit my tastes), I must take in consideration of those who just might enjoy this book. My suggestion would be to borrow and skim through it. It's a very short book and the whole plot is pretty much presented in the first couple of chapters. I wouldn't recommend purchasing it at all until you've read it. Please note, I would not recommend to young teens as it deals with mature situations, sexual scenes, and language. Ages 16+ (PG-13).

This Book is For: Older teens who like stories of loss.
This Book is Not For: Younger teens or others who are not interested in its themes.

Content: For a book that suppose to be about love, loss, and life, it sure had a lot of things that weren't very "touching". The language for instance was on the verge of being explicit, there was more than one sexual scene, and a ton of sexual remarks.

The Last Straw:  If an author wants to write a story of love, why can't it be appropriate for all ages to enjoy?

|Pages: 237|Publisher: WestSide |Published: April 2010|Price: Hard. $16.95|
|Genre: Contemporary fiction, romance, drama, loss|
|Age Group: YA, ages 16+|Content: PG-13|
|Enjoyed It: 2/5|Content: 1/5|Cover: 3/5|
|Overall: 2/5|

This review is copyrighted ©2010 by Books and Literature for Teens.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Hmm, I might have to think twice about checking this out. Great, honest review.

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