Monday, 26 January 2009

The Boys Next Door / Jennifer Echols

Summary - Lori has spent every summer on the lake, swimming and wakeboarding with the three boys next door, and working at the boys’ family marina. Lori is close to Adam, the “baby” of the family, who's her age. But secretly, she’s always had a thing for the middle brother, Sean. And this summer, Sean actually seems to be—dare she think it—flirting with her. She figures he’s only being nice because they're like family, since he’s not into younger girls. Until he steals Adam's (even younger) girlfriend. Lori and Adam team up to get Adam’s girlfriend back, and to get Sean for Lori.

But then Lori begins to notice ADAM. He’s grown taller. More mature. And Lori thinks Adam is interested in her, too. And that’s when their ploy finally works. Adam gets his girlfriend back, and Lori gets Sean. The right couples are finally in place, and everything should be smooth sailing. So what’s with all the waves?

Review - I bought this book based upon an older review of Steph's and that one of my podcast listeners had recommended Echols as someone to check out. I'll admit right here that I am a bit of a softie when it comes to romantic comedy storylines that don't insult the intelligence. This is one of those and now I have to figure out where to get more. Echols is the YA equivalent of crack (except without all the obvious pitfalls).

I loved the protagonist's voice, Lori is the inner dialogue that runs through every female's brain in their teen years. Not only that but she'd got some moxie, a healthy sense of humour and a love of Laguna Beach (it's so bad it's good). I loved Lori, loved the use of pop culture mentions in a sparing way. I loved the brothers and the description of how they interact with one another, so much like many of the boys I grew up with. I loved Adam - he's the kind of guy I always thought would eventually come along for me.

I adored the setting; the lake. I grew up visiting my grandparents and skiing on Lake Bonney in Barmera, Australia. My dad and uncle were state level water skiiers and I think it's one of the great disappointments of my father's life that all of his children sucked. The descriptions of being on the lake, of performing tricks and the spray of the water brought back the summer for me. I can still remember standing on my dad's trick skis as he held my middle when I was three years old. I thought I hated water skiing but this book made me remember what I loved about it. (The bryozoa, one of the things for the hate column.) For that I will remain grateful to Jennifer Echols as it made me incredibly nostalgic.

The best element of this book is the interaction between Lori and Adam. When they were on their faux date at the mud field (someone might need to explain what this is exactly as I didn't have a sphere of reference) I felt in the scene. The playfulness, the tension, the embarrassment, the nervouseness were perfectly captured. I felt like eleven years of my life had melted away. I am curious to know if a prodcution company had bought the right to this novel as I think it's ripe for a film version.

Published: 2007
Format: Paperback, 317 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Origin: USA
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Jennifer Echols' website
Jennifer Echols' blog

** If there is a Simon Pulse representative reading this, I would love copies of everything Jenn's written. Unfortunately, Adelaide doesn't have a wide range of YA literature!! I need my fix (I hope that didn't sound too desperate.)

1 comment:

Alea said...

I too bought this one on Steph's recommendation!