“It’s our memories that make us who we are – those moments that for whatever reason, big or small, stick in our brains, that make up our stories.”
Well, that was a bit disappointing. I was excited for this book because it has all the makings of things I love in contemporaries: friendship, crushes, lots of cute moments, but this just did not work out for me. A Short History of the Girl Next Door follows basketball obsessed freshman Matty as he deals with secretly loving his best friend Tabby, as she catches the eye of Liam Branson, a senior star basketball player and all around good guy.
Things I Liked
These are small and irrelevant to the overall story, but I love the cover – it’s beautiful and is what drew me to this book, and I really liked the chapter titles. I feel like chapter titles are underappreciated, but it’s always something extra that I like.
I also appreciated the short chapters, it made the story really easy to read even after I started losing interest.
I liked Matty as a narrator. It was easy to connect with him and see things from his point-of-view, which is important.
Things I Didn’t Like
I had a big problem with the romance between Tabby and Liam. I don’t like the age difference at all. A senior and a freshman are in such different places in their lives and maturity levels and shouldn’t be idealized.
I didn’t like the locker room scene. I didn’t like that neither Liam or Matty shut down what those guys were saying about Tabby. In the next scene Matty thinks about what he could have done differently, but those guy’s actions weren’t called out on the page. Pretty poor response from a best friend, and a potential love interest.
Tabby was completely fridged to cause Matty man pain. She became a plot device, not a person, and it really bothered me.
I also didn’t like how grief was dealt with in the story. Everyone, from his parents, to teachers, to his other friends, really ignored Matty’s grief in losing his best friend. He was angry and hurt and in pain, acting out and minimizing the grief in those around him. While that is definitely wrong, I just didn’t like how everything was handled. Everyone at school propping Liam up and ignoring a lifelong friendship that Matty lost pissed me off. I also kinda hated how Matty’s mom told him to “fake it till you make it” until he gets happy again, because he’s not the only one who lost someone. Yes he shouldn’t lash out and be mean to those around him, but telling him to pretend to be happy until he gets over it, is awful.
There was just so many things that I didn’t like that kept adding up and made the overall experience a pretty big let down. I’m just kinda sad because I really wanted to like this. Hopefully this doesn’t put me in a reading slump.