Rating: 4 out of 5
Lori has always tried to be one of the guys with her older brother, McGillicuddy, and her next door neighbors Cameron, Sean, and Adam. Sweet and very ADD Adam has always been her best friend, but then again, Lori’s had a crush on the middle brother, Sean, the one that all the girls drool over. And this summer, the summer that she turns sixteen, she is determined to make Sean finally notice her. Begone, one-piece suits and cutoff boy shorts handed down from Adam—enter bikinis and revealing tank tops.
When Sean hooks up with Adam’s then-girlfriend, Rachel, Adam and Lori decide to put their plan in motion. They are going to pretend to be boyfriend and girlfriend in order to make their respective crushes jealous. But the longer they are “together,” the less it seems like just pretend. For the first time Lori is realizing how hot Adam really is, and how good his kisses are. But she’s just going along with this to win Sean…right?
The more I read Jennifer Echols, the more I’m convinced she can do no wrong in terms of fun and fast romantic comedy reads. All of the characters in this book are realistic yet quirky, endearing and fun. Adam, in particular, is my favorite, because he is not simply the perfect crush, the perfect boyfriend. Instead, he is wonderfully three-dimensional, ADD and a little spastic and a daredevil to the point of physical harm. In short, he is a giant, sweet nerd inside a hot body. Who can resist that?
Lori’s narration brings everything together; she is not merely a tomboy trying desperately to win her crush, but also a witty and cool one, despite her absolute cluelessness when it comes to the romantic feelings of those around her. The last several dozen or so pages felt the tiniest bit rushed: a million things needed to be resolved, but they were resolved in ways that involved the introduction of more plot twists and events.
All in all, however, THE BOYS NEXT DOOR was a delightful book that never pretends to be more than it is: a quick but lighthearted read about romance in the summertime.
Aimee Friedman (A Novel Idea)
Rachel Cohn (Gingerbread)
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5