- Theme: A mature first-love YA/NA contemporary romance with a mysteriously dangerous edge, comparable to Abbi Glines or Erin Watt.
- Nature of Review: An ARC was provided by Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.
- Release Date: I Spy the Boy Next Door was released May 25, 2019! You can buy it on Amazon in paperback or kindle format.
- Warnings: Some cliches (but I know I love them), some violence and teen angst, talk of grieving, self-harm, mental health issues, domestic violence and criminal activity.
“That’s what a crush is, right? Someone you madly fall for but have no chance of getting.”
Mallory Taylor has been home-schooled and sheltered by her overprotective parents, but that doesn’t stop her from spying on her hot neighbor, Troy Parker, everyday. Deadly hot, full of tattoos and tortured secrets, Troy is a gift Mallory wants to unravel layer by layer. But when her parents finally agree to send her to public school, and Mallory confronts Troy, he proves to be more troubled and confusing than Mallory hoped.
As Mallory navigates the new world of high school, and boys, she can’t seem to stay away from the one next door. And Troy doesn’t want to stay away from her, either. But high school is nothing if not dramatic, and soon Mallory and Troy are testing the limits of their relationship- and the secrets they never wanted to share.
“The part that overwhelms me the most is that I could have quite possibly been swirling around his mind for just as long.”
When I was reading the first half of this novel, it was full of tender cliches and super-awkward experiences. Sheltered, good-two shoes: check. Hot, troubled boy: check. Insta-love romance: check. Bad boy has deep dark secrets: check. Comic relief best friends: check. At one point, I made a judgement and wrote in my notes: A hilarious recipe for a romantic catastrophe, with a dash of mystery and many heartwarming elements blended in (it was a cooking scene! 😂). But I loved every second of this lively novel anyways.
“We kiss like there’s no one and nothing else, just each other and eternity.”
Little did I know, the last 30% ish, shit really hit the fan. By this point, we already explored the characters and revealed some secrets that allowed them to bond, and Mallory really seemed to grow as a character and was coming into her prime. But no one could have prepared me for the bomb-dropping that occurred. Looking back, there were clues that lead up to this, so it was well planned if you ask me. It turned this beautiful, cliche romance to the next level. I was so shocked, confused, and completely absorbed into the ending of the book.
I don’t want to just define this novel by the ending, because I absolutely loved the whole story. But if you take anything away from this review, know it’s more than a romantic comedy. It has so many deeper levels and so many good reveals that keep it interesting. I absolutely LIVED for this story, and I wish I could go back in time and experience this all over again.
“I don’t wish for anything more than the life I have, no matter how difficult the path to get here or the journey in front of me, because it’s mine and it’s real.”