The Next Door Boys
by Jolene B. Perry
My Rating: 5 stars
One of my favorite quote's from the book because it speaks to me on several levels:
“When I realized I had no control… that was when everything changed. There are a lot of things I have control over, but there are a lot more things that I have no control over. When you’re no longer afraid of death, there are a lot of things you’re not afraid of anymore.”
I was drawn to this book, not just because it sounds good in the summary, but for a personal connection I felt to Leigh. I’ve had too many family and friends who have had to deal with cancer and reading a story where someone was able to fight it and continue with life after cancer without losing her faith in the process really spoke to me. Now, onto The Next Door Boys.
I love how the characters all have their own little faults, but work to overcome them. You can’t help but root for Leigh from page one. She is finally able to go off to college, a year later than planned due to being diagnosed with ovarian cancer the previous year. Luckily, the surgery and chemo were successful and now she is working on getting her strength back and anxious to get on with her life. Leigh gets her parents to agree to let her go to college as long as she lives next door to her brother, Jaron, so he can keep an eye on her. Leigh is excited to get started to class and to meet Jaron’s friends, including his roommate Brian who her brother has talked highly of.
Leigh tries to keep her past illness a secret because she doesn’t want to be known as “Jaron’s sister” or “the sick girl”, but is not successful after the stress of college takes it’s toll on her. I really enjoyed reading about her loving of sewing as my grandma was a wonderful seamstress and it reminded me of her. Leigh soon fits in with her roommates and “The Next Door Boys” and begins to learn more about Brian and his past. Of course after seeing the cover, you had to know there would be a love interest or two. Leigh is determined not to date and doesn’t notice when a couple guys try to ask her out. Of course, she is swept off her feet by Noah, a guy she met while sewing costumes for the theater group on campus.
In an effort to not give away too many details, Leigh goes through trials with her health and learning to love. She has to figure out what is right for her long term and not just what seems fun at the time. I really enjoyed the use of scripture and how Leigh struggled with being still and really listening with her heart and head; because this is something can be difficult when swept up in a fun relationship. The relationships that are developed in this story are beautiful to watch as they blossom.
If you are looking for a great faith based contemporary that involves a girl who is thrilled to be alive, a tattooed Mormon, and a few funny and tense moments sprinkled throughout then give The Next Door Boys a try, I am quite certain that you will fall in love with Leigh’s story and a few others as I did.
*Bonus: There will be another book!! Left to Love with a release date to be reveled soon.