“When you’re no longer afraid of death, there are a lot of things you’re not afraid of anymore”
– Jolene B. Perry, The Next Door Boys
I received Jolene B. Perry’s Next Door Boys from NetGalley. I choose it because the name jumped out at me and the cover art reminded me of a Sarah Dessen novel. Within a few minutes of reading the book, I realized this is a LDS novel. Something I didn’t quite expect
As someone not raised Mormon, I don’t know much about the Mormon Church except, that my 10th grade English/theatre teacher was a member and of course . . . Napolen Dynamite. With that in mind, there were some concepts I didn’t get and traditions I didn’t quite understand–like the importance of missions and going to temple.
The story follows Leigh Tressman, a 19 year old girl headed to Birmingham Young University with her brother, Jaron, after spending a year fighting ovarian cancer. The novel follows Leigh’s first year at college, along with the trial and tribulations she goes through in love and life.
Leigh is fiercely independent almost to a fault. She wants so much to not be the sick girl that she doesn’t listen to her doctor or family. This struggle plays off most of the plot in the novel.
That said she is a bit of a Mary Sue at times. Every guy loves her and she can do everything. She sings beautifully, is a master sewer and everyone loves her.
There is a religious aesop that doesn’t show up until middle and I felt like that was the best part of the story. It showed many more dynamics of all the characters. I also think this book attempts to do away with sterotypes associated with the LDS church. It was like ; I date guys, I eat fast food, I watch TV and . . . I’m a mormon (you’ve seen those ads, right?)
Overall, I did like this novel, though I found it a llittle too sacchrine sweet at times. Leigh and her brother have a nauseatingly kind relationship combined with the other perfect characters. I like the concept and the overall story. I would suggest this to anyone looking for an inspy novel to read.
According to Jolene Perry’s website there will be a sequel and I am actually pretty excited
Pros : Good story, interesting supporting characters, inspirational
Cons: Predictable, too saccharine sweet, some slow parts
Thank You Cedar Fort Publishing for the e-galley !
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.