A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck

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Matt Wainwright is constantly sabotaged by the overdramatic movie director in his head. He can’t tell his best friend, Tabby, how he really feels about her. He implodes on the basketball court, even though no one cares about the JV team. And the only place he feels normal is in Mr. Ellis’s English class, discussing the greatest fart scenes in literature and writing poems about cantankerous candy-cane lumberjacks.

If this were a movie, everything would work out perfectly. Tabby would discover that Matt’s madly in love with her, be overcome with emotion, and fall into his arms. Maybe in the rain.

But that’s not how it works. Matt watches Tabby get swept away by senior basketball star and all-around great guy Liam Branson. Losing Tabby to Branson is bad enough, but screwing up and losing her as a friend is even worse.

After a tragic accident, Matt finds himself left on the sidelines, spiraling out of control and in danger of losing everything that matters to him. From debut author Jared Reck comes a fiercely funny and heart-wrenching novel about love, longing, and what happens when life as you know it changes in an instant.

Even though this book came out in September 2017, the copy I read was an ARC I had on my TBR pile since Book Con 2017.

I was so surprised by how much I really loved it. I thought it would just be another YA novel about unrequited love and it would get put in the donate pile when I was done.

At first I thought it was ok, and the basketball lingo went over my head, but I really grew to like the characters. Especially Tabby, Matt’s mom and his grandpa. Oh, and I love that Matt, his dad and Tabby love Star Wars.

Jared Reck is an 8th grade teacher and that really helped with setting the tone of what teenagers are like. I felt like I was thrown back into high school.

The book takes a dramatic turn and I found myself unexpectedly bawling my eyes out. But the story ends with hope and I really liked the message.

So, I am not going to put this in the donate pile. It’s book with a lot of heart, some humor, and it’s got short chapters (which was a relief after the last book I read). It’s a quick 2-3 day read.

5 out of 5 Nerds.

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