Maddy Spier has been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner she spends time in his arms every day. But she’s also seen his arms around other girls—lots of other girls.
Gabe can’t imagine skating with anyone but Maddy, and together they have a real chance at winning some serious gold medals. So, he’s de
But when their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy’s been hoping for or the big breakup that Gabe has always feared?
Guys, warning: this is a book crack book – by which I mean, I could NOT. STOP. READING once I started. I read on transit. I read at lunch. I read late, late into the night. It’s not even that it has that many twists and turns, it’s that the yearning I felt for Maddy and Gabe to get together – that feeling was so strong with this book.
Gabe and Maddy have been skating together practically since they were born. They also live next door to one another, and Maddy has been in love with Gabe her whole life. She’s always hoped something would happen, but Gabe is a known player and kind of a womanizer. But as Maddy and Gabe advance in their skating, they are forced to start playing more romantic roles on the ice – and that starts to translate off the ice, too. Problem is, Gabe has never had a girlfriend, and he’s afraid of ruining their partnership, even though he feels the same way.
The story is told in the alternating voices of Gabe and Maddy, which I really liked. Actually, I’m quite sure I liked Gabe’s voice more than I liked Maddy’s – because he wanted so much to do the right thing and he kept screwing up, but even though he is SUCH a bad boy and a jerk…in this book, I understood it and I still liked him for it. That is a major success on the part of Katie Van Ark because I am NOT a bad boy lover.
The thing that made this book a success for me is that the characters and their home lives were very well developed – we know a ton about the people in their lives and there’s just as much drama with their friends and family as there is in the romance. This isn’t just a rollercoaster in terms of the love story – there’s a lot happening in Gabe and Maddy’s lives, and you really want them AND their friends and family to succeed.
That said, this is, of course, a book that is very focused on romance, and I can’t even tell you the desperation I felt for Gabe and Maddy to just get it together and BE together. I definitely had a lot of feels during this book. The one thing I will say that I didn’t love was the ending. I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say that I might be a little too old and a little too jaded to find this ending believable. It didn’t totally detract from the book or seem out of place, it just didn’t seem real to me.
Still, this is definitely a romance you root for, and I can see why Swoon Reads first readers voted this one for publication (if you don’t know about them, Swoon Reads is a reader-voted YA publishing imprint! Go check them out!). For you fans of contemporary YA, this is one that you should add to your TBR when you want a really addictive, unputdownable romance.
Sexytimes: What I was most surprised by was that this was a more mature YA than I expected. There are some steamy scenes, and man, Katie Van Ark does these well. Every time Maddy and Gabe got together…*fans self*.
The Final Word:
For me, The Boy Next Door was a classic case of right book at the right time. I was desperate to get to this book after many failed attempts to finish an anthology – don’t get me wrong, I like short stories here and there, but after awhile, I was craving a long-form novel. And this one is such a roller coaster ride. If you’re looking for a mature YA romance with a lot of action and drama, The Boy Next Door is your book.
THE BOY NEXT DOOR comes out next week on Tues, Jan 6th! Will you be picking it up? Is roller-coaster romance your scene, or do you prefer something a bit more staid? Are you obsessed with figure skating like me? Let me know in the comments!