The Boys Next Door by Jennifer Echols

The Boys Next Door (Simon Romantic Comedies)From the author's website "Lori lives for summertime at her family's lake house. She spends all season wakeboarding, swimming, and hanging with her friends--including the two hotties in the cabin next door. With the Vader brothers, Lori's always been one of the guys.

But while Lori and the "baby" brother, Adam, are inseparable friends, she can't deny a secret crush on Sean, the older Vader boy. This year Sean's been paying Lori a lot of attention, and not in a brotherly way.

But just as Lori decides to prove to Sean she's girlfriend material, she realizes that her role as girl friend to Adam may be even more important. And by trying so hard for the perfect summer romance, she could be going way overboard..."

I started this book highly suspicious of it. I've heard numerous wonderful praise for Echols and her writing, and the covers look nice enough at the book store, but most of the summaries of her books have made me snooze or say to myself, "boring". When I read what Wondrous Reads thought of The Boys Next Door, I was intrigued. Here was a concept that I could get behind. As I told my husband later, I'm always a huge fan of friends turned romantic interests in my fiction. (Almost as much as I love hateful enemies turned epic romantic lovers, in fact!)

However, with the book in hand, with its vaguely silly cartoonish cover, I was prepare to be underwhelmed. Well, you all know what is said about judging books by their covers. I started the book with disinterest, but only a few chapters later, I was more than into the story. In fact, I read the book twice in a row because I loved it so much. What did I love? Lori, Adam, McGillicuddy, and the relationships between this long time group of friends! Lori and Adam felt real. They had real flaws, but real passions. I hate reading a book and being told what the main character is passionate about or what their flaws are but then never seeing these flaws or passions put into action in the book. Here, you get the feel for the characters' adoration of wakeboarding, Adam's ADHD, the main romance, Lori's need for female friends.

Also, this romance is smoking. I mentally cheered whenever Adam and Lori hooked up, and whenever Lori thought about the brothers. I knew I was a goner when it ended and I was like, "But I want to know more!"

The only, only, only quibble I have with the whole book is how quickly it wrapped up at the end. I think I was so angry at certain characters that Lori's willingness to forgive drove me a little mad. Perhaps I just don't want characters I find understandable to be better than me, though. (I say with a smile!)

Verdict:  9.  I am so so happy that book bloggers love Jennifer Echols because now I know about her and I've read this book.

Thoughts: This book has a sequel! I've already ordered it from my library.

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