Friday, September 1, 2017

This is the Story of a Boy • A Short History of the Girl Next Door

A Short History of the Girl Next Door book cover
A Short History of the Girl Next Door is might sound like it's centered on a romance, but it's actually the story of a boy. Matt Wainwright is trying to make sense of a lot of things - his skills in basketball being compromised by his attitude on the court, and his growing appreciation of his English class being a place where he can express himself. But one of his current dilemmas revolves around his neighbor and best friend Tabby, who he happens to be in love with but who, unfortunately, is dating one of the popular seniors at their school. The story explores Matt's experiences as he makes sense of his feelings, his relationships and the circumstances that surround both - and I thought it made for a really interesting read.

I was pleasantly surprised by A Short History of the Girl Next Door. It has a lot of recognizable contemporary YA fiction tropes in it, for sure, but it somehow managed to take these things and make them different from my usual experiences. While I'm not much for basketball, and while there were certain moments that had me raising an eyebrow, and while I didn't necessarily come to connect to Matt at all as a character, I still found the narrative to be a thoughtful take on a teen boy's experiences. The chapters are short, and the time jumps quickly between memories, but it worked in terms of the narrative to make it feel like a memoir (which is relevant, but you'll only know why if you read it!). I thought it was tasteful, and a quick read with a slight 'life lessons' vibe by the end of it. While it may not necessarily be everyone's cup of tea, I'd encourage you to check it out if the summary sounds at all appealing.



Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers | Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thanks!)

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