The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark

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This has been a rough week.  Sometimes reading helps me to get out of my own head, and sometimes it doesn’t.  I feel like I had a really hard time concentrating whenever I tried to read this week, and as a result, it took me forever to get through this book.  I’m not sure if I’m going to even try picking up a new book anytime soon, so I apologize in advance if I’m AWOL for awhile.

That being said…I had high hopes for this book, because not only do I love figure skating, I also love boy/girl-next-door romances.  I’m also discovering that I enjoy dual POVs.  But unfortunately, this one kind of fell flat for me.  Here’s why:

1.  I had a hard time connecting with the characters.  Aside from the fact that Maddy and Gabe live next door to each other, have known each other, and been skating together for a lifetime, I couldn’t understand their romance.  There was nothing even remotely likeable about Gabe, from my perspective.  He’s a complete player and despite that, Maddy has been fawning over him for years?  I just couldn’t buy into that.

2.  So this may be a personal pet peeve of mine, as I do have such a background in figure skating.  But, Maddy’s working on and landing a TRIPLE AXEL and she’s a pairs skater?  Um, no, that’s not how it works in reality.  Figure skater girls always start out as singles skaters.  If they’ve reached a certain level of ability and sort of plateaued, and are petite and tiny enough to be tossed around by a guy, they look into starting a career in pairs.  If a girl skater was doing a triple axel, or any of the other more difficult triple jumps, there’s just NO WAY she would be a pairs skater.  And also, skaters conduct national, and sometimes even international, searches to find a pairs partner.  It’s just a little unbelievable to me that Maddy and Gabe grew up next door to each other and grew up to be this world-class pairs team.

3.  There were SO many skating references, even in places where they weren’t necessary.  Okay, we get it, this is a book about skating!  I just felt like I was being hit over the head with all of the references to it.

So, yeah.  To sum up: blah.  That’s how I felt upon closing this book, and that’s still how I feel as I’m writing about it now.

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