Thursday, 19 September 2013

[Blog Tour] Review & Giveaway: The Girl Next Door by Selene Castrovilla

The Girl Next Door Tour

 Today I'm excited to be hosting a stop on The Girl Next Door blog tour hosted by A Book and A Latte PR . Read on for my review of the book plus an awesome giveaway!

The Girl Next Door by Selene Castrovilla

Author: Selene Castrovilla Website|Twitter
Published: 24 May 2013 (ASD Publishing)
Format: Kindle e-book
Buy the paperback: Amazon US|BookDepository|Barnes & Noble
Buy the e-book: Kindle US|Kindle UK|Kobo|iTunes

Source: Received free copy in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour. Thanks to the author and A Book and a Latte tours!

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Two teens are forced to make some very grown-up decisions when one of them is diagnosed with terminal cancer, twisting them into an unpredictable nightmare. Best friends since toddlerhood, Samantha and Jesse grapple with the realization that they are actually in love. What now? Beautifully written while handling a very heavy topic, Castrovilla addresses the universal question: In a world where the worst can strike at any time, how can we ever feel safe?

My Review:
The Girl Next Door tells the story of Sam, whose best friend Jesse is dying of cancer. With time ticking away, the two of them must tackle their feelings for each other and make the best of the time they have together.

Now I'll admit, I love a sad book. I know some people can be put off about books which are going to tug at your heartstrings and turn you into an emotional wreck, but books that move me and tackle real, dark subjects are always high on my list. And The Girl Next Door is a sad book. The opening few chapters are quite bleak, and once I read that the main character Sam's dad is a 9/11 victim on top of the fact that her best friend is dying of cancer I was nervous. I knew this was going to be a tough book to read, but instantly I felt for the characters and the situation they're in and was able to get wrapped up in a powerful, emotional and heartwarming read.

The book is told from Sam's point of view, so we get to see how she deals with the prospect of losing her best friend. I liked that nothing was sugar-coated, and that we get to see the real low points of Sam's struggle. As well as tackling Jesse's cancer, the author has also taken on the issue of depression with Sam getting help to deal with her feelings about Jess dying. I was really glad to see that subject approached, and it made me really sympathise with Sam and what she is going through as well. I think it proved that sometimes you have to look after yourself and be selfish! I could relate personally to that situations, as I've been ill myself (although thankfully nothing as serious as cancer) and those around me have also felt the blow of having to live with and care for someone with a chronic illness. It's something that affects everyone.

But the book definitely isn't all bleak! At the end of the day it's a love story, and Sam and Jess have some incredibly sweet moments. I loved their little heart-to-hearts as they discuss their feelings for each other and the future, and their "seize the moment" attitude was something that really resonated with me. I always love a good friends to more-than-friends story. You can tell that Sam and Jess already have this amazing chemistry and trust between them. Plus there's some steamy scenes between the two of them. Jess is scared of dying a virgin, and so there's a fair few sex references/scenes in there. I thought they were really well done and it was so sweet seeing their relationship develop and the two of them really making the most of the time they have together.

One of the book's real strengths was definitely the characters. I loved Sam's mum who's a writer, and Maria, Jess's crazy housekeeper. Plus Sam's little brother Ted was adorable! He dresses up in his sister's clothes and plays with dolls. I want to see more characters like Ted who break the mold and are accepted for who they are.  I also thought the strained relationship between Jess and his mum Gwen was a great plot line. She's really struggling to cope with Jesse's cancer and the two of them have never really been close. Seeing them facing some challenging circumstances really allowed the two characters to develop.

The Girl Next Door is quite a quick read, but the story and the characters really root themselves in your brain. I think you really come away from the story with an appreciation of life and those around you, and it makes you want to seize the moment and look out for yourself. Yes, it's sad, but there are some lovely uplifting scenes to balance it out. The writing was brilliant, and I'd definitely be interested in reading more by this author.

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Saved by the Music by Selene Castrovilla
Books like this: Before I Die by Jenny Downham, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

About Selene Castrovilla

Selene Castrovilla is an award-winning teen and children’s author who believes that through all trends, humanity remains at the core of literature. She is the author of Saved By the Music and The Girl Next Door, teen novels originally published by WestSide Books and now available digitally through ASD Publishing. Her third children’s book with Calkins Creek Books, Revolutionary Friends, was released in April. She is also a contributing author to UncommonYA.  Selene holds an MFA in creative writing from New School University and a BA in English from New York University. She lives on Long Island with her two sons. Visit her website for book excerpts and more information!
Author links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads

Selene Castrovilla teams up with The AVM Foundation

Selene is pleased to team with the Anthony V. Mannino Foundation helping young adults in their fight against cancer. She will donate $1 for each book ordered during THE GIRL NEXT DOOR's Blog Tour!

Selene will send a free autographed copy of THE GIRL NEXT DOOR to anyone who donates $25 or more to the foundation (click here to donate!). For your purchase to count and/or to show proof of donation, just send a screenshot or receipt of your order or donation, along with your shipping address if necessary, through "Drop me a line" in the "Latest News" section of her website,

The AVM Foundation Mission:
The Mission of The Anthony V. Mannino Foundation is to financially assist young adults in the age group of 18-26 while they are undergoing their cancer treatment.  We also want to help development support programs to aid this unique age group, with their special needs, as they battle cancer. 

We found that Anthony's age group of 18 plus, doesn't have the emotional or financial support that other age groups do. We are also aware of the unique situations that this age group faces and want to help those adolescents and their families.


Grand prize is a  Kindle Fire + THE GIRL NEXT DOOR ebook (US only), and 10 second prize winners will receive an ebook copy of THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (International). 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Follow the tour!  

September 9th
Katie's Books (Interview & Review)
A Book and a Latte (Excerpt)

September 10th
Books Over Boys (Feature) 

September 11th
Dear Teen Me (Feature)

September 12th
Books, Authors, Blogs (Guest Post )

September 13th
alwaysjoart (Review)

September 16th
Writer's Alley (Interview)

September 17th 

September 18th
YA Reads (Interview) 

September 19th

September 20th
Mythical Books (Review)

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