Skip to main content

Spotlight New Release: The Short History of the Girl Next Door

Hello, everyone! Today I have a very special early look at A Short History of The Girl Next Door  by Jared Reck for you. I'm so excited that I had the chance to read this awesome book early thanks to Random House and NetGalley. It's available for preorder now, and it officially comes out on September 26.





A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck
Overview: Matt is starting his freshman year of high school with his sights set on two things: working his butt off at basketball to make it on varsity for his sophomore year and possibly developing his lifelong friendship with his neighbor Tabby into something more. As the world of high school starts to pull them further apart, Matt and Tabby always have each other to return to even when Tabby starts dating senior, Liam Branson, and Matt starts to put up defensive walls. That is, until, they don't, and Matt must grapple with grief and putting a world that has become miserably blurry back in focus. Overall: 5 

General Thoughts: When I read the synopsis of this book, something in me said that I had to get my hands on this book, and I was right. While I know very little and care very little about basketball, there was something about this book that made me fall for it. Reck drew me in and made me deeply care about things that I had otherwise no attachment to. He created an impactful depth that made this book so special. I also loved the chapter titles. They are all so Matt and so hilarious.
 I love seeing books with great male protagonists, which we don't see enough of in YA, and it also showed a more balanced portrayal of real life by including Matt's family so much in the plot.

Characters: 5 Matt is a great character, and one that made a great narrator. Through the ups and down life throws at him, he stays an authentic character who has strong motivation and justification for his actions. I also love that Matt is a freshman. I find that most YA books are centered on the senior year of high school. This sets it apart from other books as the perspective is slightly different without sacrificing the seriousness or level of the writing. I loved getting to read about Matt and greatly enjoyed his sarcasm and grounded self-deprecation.
Tabby is the other main character of the story and really the catalyst for almost every action in the book, though never in a cheesy, worn out YA cliche way. She is a bright, shining light in Matt's life, and, aside from Trip, one of his few friends. She's known him all his life, and even though they've drifted apart in high school, his constant. This does create conflict where Tabby seems to view their relationship as brother/sister like with his little brother Murray instead of romantic like Matt hopes  it will become. I did wonder, though, about Tabby and what else went on in her life and in her head, as we only get to see her through Matt's perspective. I would definitely read this book again from Tabby's perspective.

Plot: 5 The plot is telling the story of a piece of Matt's life, and it does that very well. It encoumpaces all the different facets that make up Matt and is engaging. While I never found anything terribly suspenseful, I enjoyed experiencing their world so much that it prodded me to continue reading. Even over the course of normal actions, there is no dull moment, no filler.

Writing: Reck does a great job with this story. The writing invites the reader into the world and Matt's head, letting him walk around in their shoes without interruption. I found the writing style to feel much like Jennifer Niven's where it is unobstructive, and the beauty come from this story they've managed to create in your mind. This is a strong storytelling method as it is so immersive for the reader. It allowed me to fully understand Matt and his motivations. I also loved how Reck portrayed the stages of grief. It never seemed stilted or like he was following a chart of how people should respond. Numbness spilled into anger then resignation in a beautifully heartbreaking and organic way. I can't wait to see more of what Reck writes in the future.

If You Liked This Book:
I would recommend Eleanor and Park, especially if you loved Tabby's character. You can learn more about this book here http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/05/weekly-reviews-and-recommendations-week.html


If you liked this article, please share it with your friends and check out our other articles ranging from book reviews to poetry and short stories to editorials. To get updates about new posts and extras, please follow us on Instagram (@readingwritingandme), Twitter (@readwriteandme), and Facebook or sign up for email alerts by clicking the subscribe button at the top of the sight. Also, please leave comments or email us (readingwritingandme@gmail.com) with your thoughts or review requests. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Top Reads of 2018

This year's best of 2018 list has tons of new categories to fit all of the amazing books I read this year. I've had the chance to read so many advanced books and recent releases, so most of what I read were books that came out in 2018. I mostly choose contemporary, so I've started with my favorite debut as well as the best books in other genres I've ventured into. After that, I have smaller categories in the contemporary genre. I hope you find new books to love and give to your friends and family for the holidays. If you're interested in learning more about the books on the list, click their titles to go to my reviews. Let me know if these are some of your favorites in the comments, and tell me your favorite books!
Best In Genre Top Debut
Nothing Left To Burn by Heather Ezell Nothing Left To Burn gave me the craziest book hangover. I was so immersed in the story, and I couldn't stop reading to do anything that I actually needed to be doing. There is a toxic relat…

Weekly Book Reviews and Recommendations: Week 5

This week has been a bit crazy. With a four day weekend because of Easter, I thought I'd get some extra reading done. Lo and behold, that's not exactly what happened. I was way busier than I thought I'd be, but better late than never, I guess. Anyway, I read three great books this week that were all very different but also very good in their own rights.


1) Girl In Pieces  by Kathleen Glasgow (406 pages) 
This book was so beautiful and amazing that I had to write a Standout Review for it. I published that earlier in the week, and you can check it out here: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/04/standout-book-girl-in-pieces.html


P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (337 pages)
Overview:P.S. I Still Love You is the second installment of Jenny Han's YA series. (You can check out my review of the first book To All The Boys I've Loved Before here: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/03/reading-reviews-and-recommendations.html ) In this book, we catch up with Laura Je…

What If It's Us

What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (448 pages)
Overview: Ben and Arthur meet at the post office during a flashmob. Well, Arthur followed Ben into the post office because he thought he was and, and, just as they started talking, in true form with Arthur's New York fantasy, a flash mob erupted. When the boys and split up, Arthur loses his chance at connecting with Ben, but when he can't stop thinking about him, he explores ways to reconnect even in a city of a million empty faces like New York. Even if they can find each other, with Arthur going back to Georgia at the end of the summer, will it even be worth it? Overall: 4/5

Characters: 4.5 I'm not sure what to say about the characters. I liked them enough, but I didn't feel any real attachment to any of them. I liked the cast of friends, but they all lacked a certain weight that would give them a stronger sense of reality. My favorite relationship in the book was the friendship between Dylan and Ben.…

Serious Moonlight

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett (April 16) To Buy From Your Local Bookstore
Overview: There's a mystery to be solved. Actually, quite a few. There's the mystery of the boy from Moonlight Diner and the subject of a random hook up Birdie still doesn't understand. And then there's the mysterious author, Raymond Darke who comes into the hotel where she works the graveyard shift. Birdie loves mystery books, movies, and television shows, and they're her escape from her overly sheltered life. But, now, Birdie is eighteen, finished homeschooling, and braving Seattle for herself. Overall: 4

Characters: 4 Birdie is a lot of fun. She's quiet, mixed up, curious, and open. Originally, she lived with her young mom and her Aunt Mona, but, after her mom's untimely death, she moved in with her grandparents on Bainbridge Island. Her grandmother was overly sheltering after her conflict with Birdie's mother, and she homeschooled her to keep her confined. Since her grandmot…

Guest Post Claire Bartlett: Unpacking Fairytales

This week I want to welcome author Claire Bartlett to the blog to talk about the fascinating history of fairy tales throughout culture and how they play a role in her new book, The Winter Duke (out March 3). I've been a huge fan of fairy tales my entire life (I even wrote a giant paper on the Brothers Grimm for a school project once), so it was so much fun to read about the history of a couple tales that Claire uncovered in her research. If you missed the last time Claire was on the blog to promote her debut, you can find that post here.


I always wanted to write a fairy tale retelling, and it only makes sense to me now that I'd combine fairy tale, history and fantasy to create The Winter Duke. Fairy tales have long been intertwined with history, and in fact it's now estimated that fairy tale tropes go back thousands of years, being retold and reworked to fit audiences. Many of them were somewhat cemented in the public mind after being written down by the Grimms, among oth…

Nothing Left To Burn

Nothing Left To Burn by Heatger Ezell (322 pages)
Overview: There's a fire burning Orange County to the ground, and Audrey knows what started it. She's woken up to an evacuation notice and then learns that her sister collapsed at her ballet audition about an hour away. Audrey is scared the cancer has come back to take her sister. She also has her firefighter boyfriend, Brooks, to worry about, though the fire seems to be the high point of his life. Throughout the day and in flashback chapters of the summer, Audrey must figure out how to piece together what's left of what the fire burnt to the ground. Overall: 5++++++++++++

Characters: 5 Wow. I think that I love and identify with Audrey more than any character I've ever read. She's a bit trapped in her own head and stuck between intensities, a devout dancer till she walked out of the audition of her ballet career at fourteen. A controlled, quiet impulsiveness courses under his skin, and, though it doesn't show ofte…

Past Perfect Life

Past Perfect Life  by Elizabeth Eulberg (July 9)
Overview: Ally Smith has lived for almost her entire life in Wisconsin. She briefly remembers living in Chicago, but it's always been just her and her dad. She's made a life in the town and become almost family with the Gleasons who basically own the town. Her perfect life is shattered, though, when an error with her social security number on her college applications alerts the FBI that she's actually a missing person. Overall: 4.5 

Characters: 5 Ally is an awesome main character. Her voice and handling of emotions is so relatable, and I love how articulate she is. The emotional hurdles she jumps through are so shocking, but she makes them make sense. It's almost like a reverse savior situation she finds herself in as she's taken from her "perfect" life and dropped into one that looks much more "perfect" from the outside.
The Gleasons are great additions too. They're her best friends and protect…

Heroine

Heroine by Mindy McGinnis (417 pages) To Purchase From Your Local Bookstore (Affiliate Link)
TW: Depiction of opioid addiction 
Overview: Mickey has it all. She's on the best softball team in the county, she has a supportive best friend, and, even though her parents have recently gone through a divorce, they both want to support her. And then she and Carolina get into a car accident on the way home to watch Netflix and eat pizza, a regular Friday night. Mickey's leg is all but torn out of her body, and her hip has to be put together with screws. Carolina, the school's near famous pitcher, nearly destroys her arm. As the girls fight to be ready in time to play their senior softball season, Mickey falls down a dangerous road, slowly upping her intake of pain pills to get through the day and to quicken her pace through physical therapy. Even as she tells herself that it's just for softball, just for her team, just for her parents, as she gets further in and her dependency i…

Waiting For Fitz

Waiting For Fitz by Spencer Hyde (March 5) Click to Purchase
Overview: Addie is in the hospital for inpatient OCD treatment. She's not thrilled, particularly because her mom might watch The Great British Bake Off without her, but, overall, she's ready to try whatever it takes to get better. And it turns out that most of the orderlies are nice and her fellow patients are great company, especially Fitz, who's been there for two years battling schizophrenia. Inside, she makes major strides toward recovery, but Fitz comes to her and asks for help breaking out. Against her better judgement, she can't refuse to help him. Overall: 4 

Characters: 5 I enjoyed reading from Addie's prospective. I thought that Hyde did an awesome job portraying OCD and the compulsions and obsessions that come with it. Addie is sarcastic and sensible. She has a wonderful, supportive mom and a team behind her that's determined to help. I love how she is both reasonable, and takes time to quest…

One of Us Is Next Review

One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus
Overview: Bayview was rocked by Simon's death and his gossip app, but everyone thinks that things might be going back to normal until Truth or Dare gets texted to everyone's phones. The game offers players two choices- pick truth and have a secret of yours texted to the entire school or pick dare and be told what prank you have to pull. Pick dare because none of them are worse than the truths the anonymous texter possesses. He also seems to be targeting specific people at Bayview, Phoebe who is kind of a golden girl and is hooking up with the star football player on the down low, Brandon, that football player, Jules, Phoebe's best friend, Sean, Brandon's best friend, and Maeve, Bronwyn's younger sister who was involved in cracking the Simon case. When the game starts to move from extremely annoying to actually threatening, everyone involved is locked in a stand-still about how to confront the issue. And when Phoebe ends up with …