A Short History of the Girl Next Door - Jared Reck

This book is worth reading, so go read it, but stop reading reviews because they'll probably spoil something. Don't read the description; it'll spoil something. (Those author comparisons… come on, whoever did jacket copy!) If you like YA, go read it.


Okay, that being said, now I will talk about this book in ambiguous terms that jump around the major event that happens a third of the way or so through. No apologies if you're intelligent enough to guess what happens. Here's the blurb:


Equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, this unrequited love story will appeal to fans of Jennifer Niven, John Green, and Jesse Andrews. 
Seriously, how can you see a person nearly every day of your life and never think a thing of it, then all of a sudden, one day, it’s different? You see that goofy grin a thousand times and just laugh. But goofy grin #1,001 nearly stops your heart? 
Right. That sounds like a bad movie already.
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 JV basketball 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 pissed-off 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 would 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, on the verge of spiraling out of control and 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.


So this ends up being a premise I've totally thought about in a different fashion--the idea of who is important to you, but how many other people even know that you're important to them? Who has the right to grieve? Who has the agency to speak after certain events? (I told you there'd be spoilers. There's no way to do this.)


Matt is lovely and so very real and such a great boy character! Am I the only one who feels like boy characters are often one-dimensional in YA lit? I loved the way he interacted with all of his friends and especially with Tabby, and I loved the way that he dealt with the circumstances and lashed out and was vulnerable and real.


While a lot more YA deals with this than proportionally is realistic, I felt like I could see this community reacting and I could see the events playing out. From Matt's parents and family to the way he plays basketball and looks up to his teammates, I felt like Reck had really delved into the personality of every character.


This is so much better than All the Bright Places, and I highly recommend it for those who love tragic YA romances.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.