What I Loved:
EVERYTHING. I loved absolutely every single word and sentiment expressed in this book. A Short History of the Girl Next Door had me laughing from page one and falling in love with every character introduced. I wish I could just step into these pages and hang, if just for a few minutes, with Matt and Tabby, as well as Matt's lovable family.
Gosh, there are so many things to love about this book. Supportive family, loving friendship, great teacher guidance, self-discipline. And it's not a book that showcases a perfect life or about leading a perfect life, it's a book that is ultimately about appreciating what you have. The little things. The big things. Enjoying the moments that make you happy and appreciating the people who are part of those moments.
I feel grateful for the opportunity to read Matt's unrequited love story. This boy is as sweet as they can get and there were a million times that I wished I could be there for him. Matt is a great human being and a great brother, the kind that takes the time to play Candy Land almost every night while making funny voices for his brother's stuffed animals. He's also a talented basketball player who strives to improve every day with admirable discipline. Seriously, he's a fantastic character. How can you not love him?!?!
I also adored the way he speaks about Tabby, the girl next door. He truly loves and respects this fierce but gentle girl whose company is precious throughout the novel. However, what I most admired about Matt is how, even if it would break his heart to see Tabby with another guy, he'd hope and wish for her well-being. That doesn't mean that he would not often hope that she'd realize HE is the one for her!
Being inside Matt's head was hands down the best thing about this book. His internal monologue was often hilarious, creating scenarios for how he wishes things to play out and mocking his own imaginary romantic movie, while comparing it to how things actually turn out. His thoughts are exactly how I imagine a sweet 15-year-old teenager to be and I enjoyed being privy to them. (Even with the constant use of swear words.)
I have to say that this book caught me off guard and before I knew it, I was a sobbing mess in the middle of the night. Even now I feel like breaking down. How does one go from laughing out loud just a few seconds ago to crying your heart out in the next few? How can one NOT feel when everything is easily relatable which makes it a 100 times more real? I FELT it. I felt every emotion that Matt goes through. His shock. His anger. The resentment. The unbearable pain. The unfairness of it all.
This book shook me to my core. I was not expecting such a plot twist right in the middle, but I cannot deny that it's splendidly executed. Author Jared Reck did a great job writing this novel that balances life's beautiful moments with heart-wrenching realities.
A Short History of the Girl Next Door now belongs in my top favorite reads of 2017 list. It is beautifully painful and it certainly leaves a lasting impression. Grab some tissues and go read this book!