The Girl Next Door

The Girl Next Door

4.6 11
by Selene Castrovilla
     
 

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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… See more details below

Overview

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?

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Barbara Allen
Sam and Jesse were your typical pair of best-friends-since-the-stroller teenagers. Jesse was a popular jock, dating only the most beautiful girls in school while being the star baseball player. Sam was his cute little misfit side-kick that was always fed up with whatever good looking, shallow creature Jesse was dating. But then the world comes apart at the seams when Jesse is diagnosed with a form of cancer that most likely will kill him and is given maybe a year to live. Jesse cuts off everyone from his former life except Sam. Sam begins to focus on Jesse and nothing else. She sleeps in his room because he is scared to die alone. She goes to Jesse's treatments since his mom can't be bothered. She lets her grades slip. She doesn't seem to care about anything but Jesse. He seems to be wasting away right in front of her and she is not about to let him go. Jesse has given up and Sam must convince him to keep trying for both their sakes. Jesse and Sam realize that they are in love and probably have been for a long time. Can Jesse find the strength to try for Sam? Can Sam live without him when the time comes? Can she deal with and continue her own life? Death is never an easy subject to relate to teenagers who believe that they are invincible. It is extremely difficult for an adult to channel the inner feelings of teenagers in this case, but Castrovilla captures the mind and soul of a teenage girl dealing with the loss of the greatest friend she has ever had and the love of her young life. Love, sex, and raw emotion come into play as Castrovilla sets the stage for a heartbreaking love story. Reviewer: Barbara Allen
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Jess should be enjoying his senior year of high school as class president, baseball star, and newspaper editor. Instead, he faces grim survival odds in his battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Narrator Sam, the girl next door in their Manhattan building, is his best friend and constant companion. She seduces him so that he won't die a virgin, and they fall in love and cling to each moment together. Sam's devotion to Jess wreaks havoc on the rest of her life. She isolates herself from other friends, ditches school to accompany him to the hospital, and lets her grades plummet. When she talks Jess into trying an experimental treatment, his health briefly improves and he begins spending more time with his buddies and with an ex-girlfriend, which sparks Sam's intense jealousy. As if to prove his love, Jess proposes to Sam and, after bringing his mother around to the idea, the teens marry. Though there is never much hope for a happy ending, they learn some poignant lessons about faith, acceptance, and love. A subplot about Sam's grief for her father, who died on 9/11, adds depth to her character, but Jess's cold mother is much less believable and their wise housekeeper seems stereotypical. Gayle Forman's If I Stay (Dutton, 2009) and Lurlene McDaniel's Breathless (Delacorte, 2009) offer more nuanced depictions of both grief and illness, but this novel will hook reluctant readers with its emotional intensity and quick pacing.—Amy Pickett, Ridley High School, Folsom, PA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781934813591
Publisher:
Westside Books
Publication date:
05/28/2011
Pages:
239
Sales rank:
898,543
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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