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A Short History of the Girl Next Door
Cover of A Short History of the Girl Next Door
A Short History of the Girl Next Door
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Get your tissues ready for this unrequited love story that's equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking and will appeal to fans of Jennifer Niven, John Green, and Jesse Andrews. Seriously, how can you...
Get your tissues ready for this unrequited love story that's equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking and will appeal to fans of Jennifer Niven, John Green, and Jesse Andrews. Seriously, how can you...
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Description-

  • Get your tissues ready for this unrequited love story that's equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking and 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. 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.
    "This story broke my heart and made me laugh and gave me hope—and really, what more can you ask of a book than that?" —Jennifer E. Smith, author of Windfall and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
    "In the blink of an eye, A Short History of the Girl Next Door goes from hilarious to haunting to harrowing to heartbreaking to hopeful and back." —Jeff Zentner, award-winning author of The Serpent King and Goodbye Days
    "Pair this with . . . Jeff Zetner's Goodbye Days or Adam Silvera's History is All You Left Me."—Booklist
    "Recommend this to readers who enjoyed Steven Levenson's Dear Evan Hansen."—VOYA

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    Chapter One

    The Moment I Know It's Over

    I know it's over when Liam Branson's black Accord pulls in front of Tabby's house before school.

    I'm shooting free throws in my driveway, like I do every morning, waiting for the bus to deliver me to another memorable day as a freshman at Franklin High. It's late October, which means the weather is perfect for my before-school shootaround ritual. Warm enough that I don't have to shove my fingers into my armpits, panini-style, after every few shots to prevent frostbite, and cold enough that I'm not a sweaty mess when the bus pulls up.

    I'm about fifty free throws in when Branson's car rolls into our circle, going around and stopping in front of Tabby's house, straight across from mine. I try not to stare too much between shots. But what is a senior guy—one of the senior guys, varsity starter on our Black Bears football and basketball teams—doing picking up a freshman girl before school?

    He beeps his horn, and an instant later Tabby's front door flies open. Tabby throws her book bag over her shoulder and jogs across her front lawn, beaming, looking amazing in that not-even-trying way that Tabby has—worn jeans and a T-shirt, her red hair pulled back into a sloppy bun. It's perfect.

    When Tabby reaches the car, she opens the back door—I didn't notice Liam's sister sitting in the front seat—and throws her bag inside. She looks at me over the top of Branson's car and waves.

    "Hi, Matty! See you at school!"

    I give a weak smile and wave back as she hops into the car. Naturally, I brick my next shot off the side of the rim and have to chase the ball to the end of my driveway. I grab it just before it bounces into the circle as Liam Branson pulls away, giving me a lame peace sign with the hand resting on top of his steering wheel.

    Shit.

    What's my move here? Mirror back his peace sign? Smile and wave like a little kid? Stare him down so he loses focus and crashes into a mailbox? In my head, I give him a little nod as I turn and trot in for a casual power dunk, everyone in that car knowing who the man is.

    Of course, I manage none of these. I stand there, holding my ball, staring like an idiot as Branson—and Tabby—pulls away.

    When Branson's car is out of sight, I dribble back and sink my next ten in a row before I hear my bus pulling up at the end of the street.

    Shit.

    Chapter Two

    A Short History of the Girl Next Door

    Okay, so technically she lives across the street, but whatever. And really, since we live on a cul-de-sac, it's kind of across the street and next door. See how that works?

    Right.

    "No Tabby today?" Miss Edna asks as I climb the steps to board the bus.

    "I guess not," I say with a fake smile, heading down the aisle to my seat. Let her think that Tabby's just absent.

    Out of habit, I slide in against the window of seat eighteen and prop my knees up on the seat back in front of me. Then, feeling stupid, I set my book bag on the empty space next to me.

    It's not that I have anything against riding the bus. I really don't, other than that, at my height, I don't really fit into the seats anymore. I can't drive yet, and I don't see how I improve my image in high school by having my mom drop me off.

    Honestly, I've always kind of loved riding the bus. There are no delinquent assholes on my route, so it's usually pretty peaceful, especially in...

About the Author-

  • Jared Reck is a debut author. He received a BA in English from Clemson University, a Master's in Educational Leadership, and recently completed graduate coursework in McDaniel College's Writing for Children & Young Adults program. He lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, where he's an eighth-grade Language Arts teacher. Learn more about Jared on Twitter at @ReckJ.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 3, 2017
    Reck debuts with a moving story about a sensitive and talented basketball player. High school freshman Matt Wainwright has been in love with his neighbor and longtime friend Tabby for years, but he can’t work up the guts to tell her, especially now that she has caught the eye of the most popular senior on his basketball team. Through Matt’s funny and reflective narration, the story builds to become a powerful novel about first love, the intimacy of childhood friendships, and moving forward from loss, after unexpected tragedy strikes. In the same way that Matt tamps down his feelings for Tabby, Reck writes subtly about Matt’s surging emotions, keeping them just below the surface but strongly felt (during a car ride together, “We don’t talk. A few times I see her typing in her phone, and I wonder how she can share two different experiences at the same time with such ease”). Reck’s novel is sure to provoke reflection about finding meaning amid life’s unforeseeable tragedies. Ages 12–up. Agent: Laura Crocket, Triada U.S. Literary.

  • Kirkus

    June 15, 2017
    A young man loses the love of his life. Matt Wainwright has pined for his best friend, Tabby Laughlin, for years but has never struck up the nerve to tell her how he feels. Instead he seethes with jealousy when Tabby begins to date the big man on campus, Liam Branson. There's friction between the two best friends for a bit, but just when things are starting to look up, tragedy strikes. The novel is startlingly similar to John Green's Looking for Alaska, with lost loves, car crashes, and wise teachers. Even more startling is the novels' mirrored structures: both take place over a school year and end with an essay written by the young man for a class taught by an inspiring teacher. The cherry on top of this comparable sundae is the fact that both books feature paragraphs in which the protagonist contemplates how long an instant death feels. Reck's debut is competently written, but the ruminations don't run as deep as Green's. The tertiary characters don't sparkle, spouting serviceable but unremarkable dialogue, and there's little attempt to introduce diversity to the largely white cast. In the end, readers will have the feeling they've read this story before, and it was much better the first time around. (Fiction. 12-16)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    July 1, 2017

    Gr 9 Up-Awkward high school freshman Matt Wainwright has two goals in life. He wants to join the varsity basketball team as a sophomore (he's already on JV) and get the girl: his longtime next-door neighbor and best friend Tabby. Unfortunately, Matt's life refuses to follow the script, with his inner monologue personified as an incompetent movie director who causes him to choke under pressure. This results in error after error during Matt's JV games and prevents him from telling Tabby how he really feels. It's not just here that his life-as-a-movie veers away from a picture-perfect script: a school tragedy leaves Matt reeling as he risks losing everything important to him. While this title doesn't pack the same emotional punch as a John Green novel, or contain Green's artistic turn of phrase, it is heartrending in its emotional authenticity, and its portrayal of loss and heartbreak in the second half is particularly poignant. In exploring Matt's grief-induced selfishness, self-pity, and occasional outright cruelty, Reck takes the story to sarcastic and bitingly dark places without plunging into the abyss. Matt's warm relationship with his grandfather and the surprisingly in-depth descriptions of basketball further enhance the book. Although the ending hits an anticlimactic note, it offers readers reason to believe that Matt will rebound. VERDICT The informal writing style, short chapters, and connections to basketball will help this tragi-romance find appeal with reluctant readers. A strong purchase for YA collections.-Alea Perez, Westmont Public Library, IL

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Jennifer E. Smith, author of Windfall and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight "This story broke my heart and made me laugh and gave me hope--and really, what more can you ask of a book than that? I loved it, and I have a feeling you will too."
  • Jeff Zentner, award-winning author of The Serpent King and Goodbye Days "In the blink of an eye, A Short History of the Girl Next Door goes from hilarious to haunting to harrowing to heartbreaking to hopeful and back. You'll never be sure exactly what kind of tears you're crying. The riotously funny and achingly authentic voice of this gorgeous coming-of-age story will break your heart, but have no fear: it will piece it back together with the glue of love, hope, and humor, and it will be stronger than before."
  • Kate Hattemer, critically acclaimed author of The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy and The Land of 10,000 Madonnas "A Short History of the Girl Next Door is a study in paradoxes. It's laced with both sarcasm and yearning; it's spit-out-your-drink funny and empty-the-tissue-box sad. Sharp, smart, and unforgettable, this book will make you want to drive down the court, basketball thudding from your hand, both glad and heartbroken to be alive."
  • Publishers Weekly "A powerful novel about first love, the intimacy of childhood friendships, and moving forward from loss, after unexpected tragedy strikes. Reck's novel is sure to provoke reflection about finding meaning amid life's unforeseeable tragedies."

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    Random House Children's Books
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