The Girl Next Door by Selene Castrovilla [Review]

Book Cover of The Girl Next Door by Selene CastrovillaI know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but there was something about this one that instantly called out to me and I knew it was a book I wanted to read.

Sam and Jessie have been best of friends ever since they first met as toddlers, and when Jessie is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Sam is the only one he allows in.

Sleeping in his room (separate beds) at night, she sees and comforts him at his weakest moments and as the already strong bonds of friendship strengthen, they fall in love (or discover they are in love already) and must somehow build a relationship with the time they have left.

I think it was the melancholy of the cover that really attracted me to this one, and it is a feeling that is carried through the book to some extent. What ever they are feeling and building between them, there is always the specter of his illness in the background, whether it is the prospect of his death or contending with difficulties his treatment causes.

Like a lot of teenagers (and let’s face it, adults) would do in their situation, they end up having sex. A lot. A real lot. Sometimes it is purely an expression of their love, other times it’s a crutch to help them cope, and others it’s because despite whatever else is going on, they’re randy teenagers! 😉

It’s not explicit or anything, lots of “going to the bathroom,” mentioning events after the fact, etc, but probably something to be aware of anyway, and while it didn’t overly bother me, I think the book would have been even better it it had covered more of the issues this may cause as well as his illness and her coping issues. I do understand that, doing so may have been one thing to many to cover though.

But as having sex for the first time, is the “crack in the wall” that allows them to recognise their feelings for each other, something would have been nice.

I really liked the characters though, and like I said in my IMM vlog a few weeks back, if an author “nails’ a friendship, I can accept all sorts of of other faults in a book without blinking an eye. So, while I would have liked a little more of their being “just friends” as well as lovers, I felt the friendship worked very well.

There’s enough there to see why they have been friends all these years, and when it becomes clear that things aren’t going to get any better soon, your heart does break for them. Yet you’re also grateful that they get to find what happiness they can.

Not quite as good as I was expecting, but still a very good read, (and I like the cover even more “in person” than on the screen! ;))

Buy: The Girl Next Door by Selene Castrovilla

10 thoughts on “The Girl Next Door by Selene Castrovilla [Review]

  • Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: January 15, 2011 | Semicolon

  • January 12 at 2:16 am

    *adds to wishlist* Thanks for the great review, Darren 🙂

    • January 12 at 10:06 pm

      No problem. I think you might like this one.

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  • January 10 at 12:34 pm

    I’m usually attracted to the melancholy covers as well. This one sounds interesting, I could imagine having some of the same issues with the book if I were to read it. Might still do just that 🙂

    • January 10 at 9:36 pm

      It’s nowhere near a bad book, I really enjoyed it, Just thought it could have been even better…

  • January 10 at 4:39 am

    I can definitely see how the cover would appeal to you. It’s so (as you said) melancholy.

    • January 10 at 9:34 pm

      It’s even more lovely in person, the raindrops on the glass are even more clear, it just works as an image somehow!

  • January 10 at 12:06 am

    That’s about what I felt about this one too. I’m glad it mostly worked for you!

    • January 10 at 9:31 pm

      Yeah I really liked the characters, the sex issue wasn’t unrealistic, just would have liked to have seen a little bit more of the emotional effects, good or bad.

      But then there are plenty of relationships built on less so…

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