FICTION
The Boy Next Story: A Bookish Boyfriends Novel
Abrams/Amulet. (Bookish Boyfriends: Bk. 2). May 2019. 448p. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781419734366.
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Gr 7 Up–In the second book of this series, Rory takes center stage. She is deeply infatuated with Toby, the boy next door and her older sister Merri’s best friend. When Rory’s new friends Huck and Clara offer to help her get Toby’s attention, Rory decides it’s worth a try. At the same time, they’re reading The Great Gatsby in English class. Seeing parallels between her life and Gatsby’s, Rory decides to change her course and give up on Toby. She struggles with all her classes except art, which is the one good thing about transferring to Hero High. Toby offers to help her with math and the more time they spend together, the more Rory realizes she never really knew the boy next door at all. Rory is a relatable narrator. She faces struggles with school, meeting new people, and the anxiety of feeling not good enough. The story is easy to follow even if it changes halfway through from a loose retelling of The Great Gatsby to Little Women. There are several laugh-out-loud moments and the secondary characters are developed.

VERDICT Recommend to fans of the first novel and fans of realistic romance.

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