The Next Door Boys by Jolene b. Perry

My Review:    The Next Door Boys


By
Jolene Perry

This is a beautifully written story about faith, love, hope, family, uncertainty, overcoming adversity and accepting the life god has given you.

Leigh, the nineteen year old protagonist has ovarian cancer and is in remission when the story begins.  She is still very weak from all of the treatments, but she is determined to go to college and live the life of a normal coed despite the apprehension of her protective parents.

Leigh is happy to be out from under the protective eyes of her parents. She moves in next door to her brother Jaron who keeps his eye on her thus alleviating some of their parents concern and worry. School is not as easy as Leigh hoped it would be as she is still recovering and gets weak easily. She finds herself overwhelmed with her studies and has trouble sleeping. Leigh wants to concentrate on school and her faith, but she makes time for sewing which is her passion.  She doesn't have the strength for much more, especially a boyfriend.

Jaron's best friend and roommate, Brian is drawn to Leigh. He is not your typical college boy- at the age of twenty five, Brian is divorced and has a son. He struggles with his own inner demons as he has already experienced his fair share of life's difficulties. Everything about Leigh is special to Brian. He hopes it is time for his life to start working out for him. Brian sees so much goodness and light inside of Leigh. He is scared to let her know too much about his turbulent past so he keeps most of it a secret. 

Can the two of them come together before it is too late? Will Leigh miss the opportunity to share love with the one person who has been falling in love with her since they met? Will they be doomed to another fated life?

This is a truly inspirational story of a girl accepting the life that she refused to come to terms with in the beginning. I really loved watching this friendship blossom over time into love. Jolene did an excellent job of building the romance between Leigh and Brian.  This heartfelt story made me cry at times.

This is a very clean, refreshing story. This is not the type of story I usually read. I read mostly crime fiction, suspense and thrillers. I bought this book back in October, when it first came out, but I had so much going on in my life that I did not read it immediately. I have to admit not knowing that this was a Mormon or LDS fiction. If you like Christian fiction you will love this story, but even if that is not your genre preference, this book will surprise you. Don't be put off by the amount of religion in the first chapter. I almost was and I am so glad that I continued reading. This story would not have been the same without Leigh's powerful and unshakeable faith.   Jolene Perry's story far exceeded my expectations. I am Jewish, but I enjoyed learning about this religion. One of my only complaints is that as a reader I did not have a good enough understanding of the Mormon faith to follow much of the terminology.

While on this subject, I have only two other problems with this otherwise excellent book. Some of the dialogue was weak.  My only other issue deals with the character, Noah. For the most part, Jolene did an outstanding job of creating very believable, real , multi layered characters.  Noah's actions concerning the breakup did not feel real to me. The way he handled this just seemed completely out of character with the character I felt I knew.

I absolutely loved Perry's creation of  Leigh, who really evolves throughout the story and specifically when she comes to term with and accepts things that she refused to accept early on. At the end of the novel and the end of Leigh's character arc, she is at peace with her life. This is when I realized that this story could not have been told as poignantly without Leigh's true and unabiding devotion to her faith.

The plot was majestic. It was not too fast nor too slow. I especially liked the ending even though a fairytale happily ever after is not promised. I normally do not care for ambiguous endings where the author leaves it to the reader to draw their own conclusion.  Jolene Perry's story is that rare exception. It takes a talented author in my opinion to effectivley pull this off. I like how Perry left the reader with just enough information to go on to allow us to reasonably conclude a happy ending. What is so spectacular is the reader's realization that there is more than one way to achieve a happy ending. When we accept the life that god has prepared for us, with any restrictions that may surface we can truly find peace and happiness. Faith and prayer give Leigh the ability to move forward with the life she has rather than living in the past, dwelling on what she cannot have.

I also enjoyed Jolene's beautiul and descriptive words. The imagery was powerful. This book left me thinking about how I would be-act-react if something this devistating happened to me. Would I have Leigh's faith and courage? Perry's work of fiction is incredible thought provoking.  I thought to myself often through this book, "this could happen to me, my daughter, to any of us". Leigh has strong family support and her faith never waivered. I admired this character.

Jolene Perry wrote a fascinating story with an equally fascinating protagonist. This book is an enjoyable read with a powerful message that at times will pull your hearstrings. Leigh Tessman will impress you and she will work her way into your heart.

This was a refreshing break from YA paranormals.

 THE NEXT DOOR BOYS, is well written, uplifting, rewarding and inspirational experience.

I highly recommend this novel to all young adult or adult contemporary fiction fans.


To purchase your own copy click here or here.

And be sure to visit Jolene Perry's blog Been Writing.


                                          

28 comments:

  1. I've heard a lot of great things about this book. I've been considering reading it for a while and it looks like I'll just have to get it. Thanks for sharing :)

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  2. This reminds me of a little of The Fault In Our Stars which I have heard is also an amazing books. I will have to check The Next Door Boys out too. Thanks for sharing :)

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  3. Ooooh! This sounds like a great read! I am off to check it out right now,

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  4. I've read it and reviewed it as well. I agree that it was a totally refreshing break from the heavy paranormals.

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  5. I love this book! Jolene could have written an index for Mormon lingo at the back. I got it all, but I could see how if you aren't LDS, you'd be confused. : )

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  6. Fun to read your review! I've wanted to read this one too.

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  7. Has to be really good if it made you cry more than once. I'll have to check this one out.

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  8. Totally unrelated to this post but surfed in from the Critique My Blog thing. Just wanted to say that I like the look of this blog a lot as the design has so much personality and it fits! And I can't get enough fleur de lis so this is great!

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  9. It's too bad the dialogue is just so-so. Other than that, it looks like a great book. Love the cover.

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  10. Thanks for the honest review. I have this on my TBR list. :)

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  11. Wow, what a real and thorough review. It sounds like a good book. I always find reading about other religions fascinating, especially if that is not the whole story. This sounds like an intricate plot with many levels. I might not have wanted to read this had I not read your review, but now I'm going to add it :)

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  12. wonderful story. would love to add this to my wish list

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  13. This is a very detailed review!  It honestly doesn't sound like the kind of book that I'd normally read.  I'm more into dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction.  But you do make a very strong case for it...

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  14. It really was a refreshing break from my normal genre.

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  15. I will have to check out the one you suggested. Thanks.

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  16. It is a very sweet and inspirational story.

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  17. It is nothing like what I normally read either, Stephanie. I am glad I read it. It exceeded my expectations.

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  18. Thanks for stopping by. I had it on my list for so long. When I finally started it, I finished it in a day and a half.

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  19. There were so many other postives about the book that it still gets a top rating from me.

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  20. Thanks for stopping by. I feel terrible for not getting to the "critique my blog" post yesterday. I missed a few things. I am normally a night owl (or a vampire) as my husband call me, but I was so exhausted last night. I actually fell asleep a couple of hours before my kids went to bed.

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  21. I know. I cry easily when I watch sad movies, but seldom cry when reading a novel. It really touched me.

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  22. WOW Melissa. Thank you!!! 
    This book was hard because I tried to tailer it to a Mormon audience and then wasn't told until AFTER edits that they were going to push it into the regular market. This has been a point of contention between me and my publisher, as SO many things could have been slightly altered to make more sense, and I'm glad you got past that first little bit and into the story :D

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  23. Of course, I understand completely. I am a super night owl and sometimes that just leads to crashing out at the best times -- early evening.

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  24. It sounds like such a great story, though I'll admit I'm not religious so I am not sure if that aspect would make me uncomfortable. But I have many religious friends of different faiths, and I am perfectly accepting of them. I guess the thing I don't like is when a book preaches to me. If it's just telling one person's story, then that's just fine with me.

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