Friday, January 13, 2012

Book Review: The Next Door Boys

by Shelly Brown

Oh. My. Cute.
and I'm not just talking about the cover.

Back Cover:

Leigh Tressman has been known as a lot of things- the girl who sings, the girl who sews, Jaron's little sister, and, last year, the girl with cancer. With her body still recovering from the cancer treatments, she's determined to be independent and convinces her parents to let her follow her overprotective brother to BYU.

With an ever-expanding line of young men ready to be in love with her-not to mention physical frustrations and spiritual dilemmas-Leigh almost misses the opportunity to be with the one person who has been quietly falling in love with her since they first met. The Next Door Boys proves that even with (or maybe in spite of) independence, love can be found in unexpected but delightful places.

I just finished reading Jolene Perry's The Next Door Boys and I feel like I should share a secret with you; I don't usually read contemporary romance...or LDS fiction...and this is both of those...and I LOVED it.

I don't read contemporary romance because I blush WAY too easily. I try to keep my romance to Victorian era propriety. Am I obscenely archaic? Perhaps. But knowing that this was published by an LDS publisher probably meant that the romance would be kept to my absurdly high standards (necklines up to the ears, skirts to the ankle, no eye contact, arranged marriages...just kidding ;) But the problem then becomes the fact that I have read some terrible LDS fiction in the past and nearly gave up on the genre.

I should thank Becca Wilhite and My Ridiculous Romanic Obsession for opening the gate for me. Jolene did a wonderful job of keeping it wide open. I recommend both books for a fun, clean, romantic, happy-ending, contemporary LDS story.

I loved reading Jolene's book about Leigh and her battle with cancer, herself, men, school, roommates, family, and her sewing machine. (Actually Leigh does pretty well mastering the sewing machine, it's me who can't seem to tame the beast.)

Jolene did a good job of writing characters without the feeling of stereotyping. They were people with their strengths and their weaknesses. They were trying to be good, the best thems they could be, and yet were capable of slipping into bad habits, saying things they would regret, and struggling with anxieties and complex emotions. They were relatable.

The story was well crafted (despite the occasional typo -but I blame those on the publisher.) It was thoroughly enjoyable. If I didn't live in a home full of little distractions I would have read it all in one sitting. 

I look forward to seeing what else Jolene Perry comes up with. Perhaps I will have to throw her on my couch and find out what she's writing right now.

So if I had to give it a grade based on an A thru F scale, I would give it a strong B+. Adorable, wonderful, and worth your time and money.

So dig out that gift card your mom gave you and pick up a great little read.

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc. (October 8, 2011)


  1. This is on my list to read. Angie loved it and I also blush WAY too easily! I'll give it a go! Thanks!

  2. I've never read any LDS fiction, but the story sounds intriguing. I might have to check it out.

  3. Interesting review. I like how you don't forfeit your standards. While not an LDS myself, I'm not opposed to their standards. In fact, I have a very dear and long time friend who is LDS. I may not enjoy romance, but the the story sounds engaging. I like writers who reveiw too. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I don't believe that I've ever read any LDS fiction but I do like romance novels ... pretty much any kind. So this does sounds interesting.

    Must admit though, when I first read the description of Leigh I found it kind of creepy almost because it was sort of like it was describing me a little bit. I used to sing, I used to sew, and I was diagnosed with cancer (skin cancer, thankfully the curable kind) in 2010.

    Well anyway, thank you for the review! :)


  5. Love your review Shelley! So true! I really enjoyed Jo's book too. TOO.CUTE! I don't normal do contemp, or LDS books either, so I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy this one so much! :) Put her on the couch! Put her on the couch!

  6. I feel like a SUPERSTAR!!!!!!


    Yeah. You and I went back and forth already on the editing.

    There will be more writing news very, very soon . . .

  7. I've read half of this and absolutely loved it, then my daughter took it to her dad's without realising I hadn't finished it, and keeps forgetting to bring it back. Believe me, it's frustrating!


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