Sloane Whitaker never expected to like living in Texas, but after a few months in the Lone Star State, she has to admit she likes the food, the school, and the boy next door. What she doesn’t like is the fact that half her family is still back in New York. Convincing her dad to relocate to Texas requires making their upcoming visit as perfect as possible. The perfect dinner, the perfect daughter...with the perfect boyfriend.
But when her not-so-perfect boyfriend Tru Dorsey is suddenly not-so-available, Sloane has to find another dad-impressing guy to show off at dinner. Tru himself suggests enlisting the help of a fake boyfriend, but the reality of another guy with Sloane on his arm might be more than Tru can manage. Add in a mysterious blackmailer and a divided family, and Sloane and Tru’s relationship might not be able to handle the heat.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a bad boy next door, the good girl who snags his heart, and one epically disastrous ruse-gone-wrong. Join the fun at your own risk.
The Sloane and Tru duology is best enjoyed in order.
#1: Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru
#2: Falling for the Girl Next Door
The Sloane and Tru duology is part of the larger, multi-authored Creative HeArts Series, which can be read out of order. If you loved Sloane and Tru's stories, you'll love the complete series set at Austin NextGen Academy, including:
#1 - Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru
#2 - How Willa Got Her Groove Back
#3 - Crazy, Stupid, Fauxmance
#4 - The Secret Life of a Dream Girl
#5 - Falling for the Girl Next Door
#6 - Weddings, Crushes, and Other Dramas
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Falling for the Girl Next Door
By Tera Lynn Childs, Stacy Abrams
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2016 Tera Lynn Childs
All rights reserved.
A few months ago, if someone asked me to name one good thing about Austin, Texas, I would have laughed in their face. Serious, can't control it, gut-wrenching laughter. Never in a million years.
Apparently a lot can change in a short time, because now I can name three.
1. The food. As a vegetarian, Austin is a wonderland. There is a seemingly endless array of meat-free options. Back home in New York I had my favorite haunts, but here I'm finding new places to yum practically every day. Plus, there is my new obsession: Tex-Mex. There is no such thing as too much guacamole.
2. The school. When I first saw Austin NextGen Academy, all shiny and modern, I thought it would never compare to the School of Drama and Art where I spent my first three years of high school. I was wrong. Between the advanced-level classes and the experimental teaching methods, NextGen has totally blown my mind.
3. The neighbors. Or, more specifically, the neighbor boy. Tru Dorsey. He didn't exactly make the best first impression — climbing up onto my roof to disrupt my angry solitude had not endeared him to me. And thanks to a bunch of propaganda from my mom and his parents, I'd been pre-disposed to dislike him, anyway. But the boy has definitely grown on me. So much so that he's been elevated to full-on boyfriend status.
So there it is. The three reasons why I'm not unequivocally hating my parent-enforced exile in the Lone Star state. Enough to make my sentence here more than bearable. Dare I even say enjoyable? I'm not saying I'm ready to apply for permanent Texas citizenship, but sticking it out here in weirdsville for the duration of my senior year won't be the worst thing in the world.
Cue the guilt. I feel like I'm cheating on my hometown with another city. A girl can't spend almost eighteen years as a New Yorker and then just walk away. But Austin makes me want to try.
There's also the family guilt. While Mom and I are living it up in Austin, Dad and Dylan are back in our Big Apple brownstone. Dad is a workaholic who is almost never home. It's kind of hard to miss him when I never saw him much anyway. But my baby brother is another story. He's like the missing puzzle piece in my daily grind. I know Mom feels it, too.
The guilt was bad enough when I could blame my parents for sending Mom and me away. It was me against them. I was the sane one who wanted to go home.
Now that I'm actually content to stay in Austin ... now it's kind of my fault, too.
My family is broken in two, with half a country separating us. And I'm partly to blame.
* * *
"You need more than water for breakfast," Mom says as I grab a bottle from the fridge.
I shake my head. "Tru and I are stopping for coffee."
She crosses her arms over her chest. Her brows frown into that look of disapproval that means a lecture of some sort is coming.
I'm not interested.
"You need more than coffee for breakfast," she corrects.
"It has more than coffee," I counter. "It has steamed milk, too."
I don't tell her that it also has an extra shot of espresso. That would only earn a sterner glare.
"How exactly are you paying for this caffeine habit of yours?" she asks. "You're not letting Truman pay for it all?"
I wince over the way she says his full name, which he hates.
Mom may have agreed to a general truce about Tru, but I can tell that the disapproval is right there, lurking beneath the surface. Despite the fact that he and I have been together for almost as long as we've lived here, she still doesn't trust him.
"Nope," I say, forcing a cheerful attitude that I don't feel, but is my only way of escaping without a more extensive lecture. "Bank of Dad."
After the Thanksgiving debacle, the guilt over not having seen me in months finally got to Dad and he sent me a credit card. Along with strict instructions that I use it responsibly and not abuse the privilege.
Daily lattes are pretty much my only indulgence.
"Sloane, you know I don't think —"
"Whoops, I'm late," I tell her, grateful to be called away from wherever this conversation is heading by Tru's warning honk. "Gotta go."
I give her a quick kiss on the cheek. Then I'm out the door.
Tru's bright yellow Mustang glows like a neon sign against the gloomy gray of the overcast morning.
When I think back to the night he volunteered to drive me to and from school, I have to laugh. I was beyond annoyed. Our first meeting had been somewhat irritating and, at the time, I was trying to keep my distance from him to make Mom happy.
Now I don't really care what she thinks. Tru makes me happy, and that's all that matters.
He still annoys me — frequently — but the parts I like about him (usually) far outweigh the parts I want to sucker-punch.
Our commute times, anywhere from twenty to ninety minutes each, depending on the craziness of Austin traffic, are my favorite parts of the day.
Tru leans against the driver's side door.
The diffuse morning light softens his features, rounds the chiseled cheeks and jaw that reflect the Japanese half of his genetics. Even in an artfully rumpled "Keep Austin Weird" T-shirt and thin gray hoodie, he looks better than any J-pop star I've ever seen. I've never known anyone who could make rolled-out-of-bed-and-pulled-on-whatever's-within-reach look so good. With his sleepy morning eyes and messy hair that begs for a good finger combing, I just want to spend all day in his arms.
"You wanna drive today, New York?"
I shake my head. "Not really."
We've been working on the driving lessons, but between my inability to fully maneuver the stick shift and my total lack of driver's license, I know I'm not ready to take to the highways, yet.
"Your loss," he says as I cross around the front of the car.
As soon as we're both in our seats, he leans across the gear shift and presses a kiss against my lips. The soft heat of it nearly melts me into a puddle. I lift a hand to his cheek and sink into the feeling of his mouth on mine.
This. Him. He is the only thing that makes the Austin-liking-guilt bearable.
My phone rings in my backpack.
I linger in the kiss for a second longer before I pull away with a groan. It's either Mom calling to remind me to get some actual food at the coffee shop, or my best friend Tash calling to tell me about her latest boy toy. Ever since her last douchebag boyfriend dumped her, she's been tearing through the artistic male youth of the city like they're the latest food craze.
After finally having it out with her about the constant nagging to come back to New York, things with her are good again. She's even pretty okay with the fact that I want to stay in Austin for senior year. She doesn't love it, but she accepts it.
I think sending her a picture of Tru was a big part of changing her mind.
Plus, she'll get to see me at Christmas. Mom and I are heading to New York as soon as school is out.
When I grab my phone, it's not Mom's or Tash's face I see on the screen.
"It's my dad," I tell Tru.
I've been trying to talk to Dad for days.
Tru nods and turns the key in the ignition. He knows how strained things are with my dad.
"Dad, hi!" I exclaim as I answer the call.
"I'm on my way to a meeting," he says, "but your messages made it seem urgent."
I flop back against my seat. Yeah, I guess I was starting to sound urgent after not talking with him for going on three weeks. He's been so swamped since Thanksgiving that we've only been communicating by messages through Dylan.
And my baby brother is not the most reliable secretary.
Tru gives me a sympathetic look as he backs out of the driveway.
"It is urgent," I insist. "Did you get the Christmas decorations out of storage?"
"No, take the FDR," I hear him tell his driver. "Sloane, I don't have time for this right now."
"But Mom and I are going to be there in less than two weeks!"
I may have softened up to the idea of living in Austin, but no one will ever convince me there is a more magical place to be at Christmas than New York. I've been daydreaming almost nonstop since Thanksgiving about everything I want to do when Mom and I go home for the holiday.
"Your mother is in charge of the Christmas plans," he says. His phone cuts out for a second. "Sorry, sweetheart, I have to take this call."
"But Dad —"
"We'll talk at Christmas."
And then he's gone.
I hold my phone out in front of me. "Great talking to you. Let's do this again soon."
Tru doesn't say a word. He just reaches over and wraps his hand around mine.
I force myself to take a deep breath. Tru always manages to put things into perspective, even when he isn't trying. My dad may be an absentee workaholic, but that's nothing compared to Tru's dad. The man is a jerk in every possible way.
I feel guilty for even being annoyed at Dad.
"Thanks," I tell Tru, turning my hand over so our palms are facing.
He glances away from the road for a second. "For what?"
I squeeze his hand. "For being you."
He smiles. "Ditto, New York."
And just like that, everything feels better. Mom and I will go home to New York for the holidays, we'll get to spend some quality time with Dylan and Dad, and my guilt for wanting to stay in Texas will be eased for at least a little while.
At least until Spring Break.
"Hey, what's that?" I ask when I see a black object stuck to his dashboard.
"What?" He glances away from the road for a second. "It's a camera."
"For a class project?"
He shrugs. "Something like that." Before I can ask any more about it, he says, "How about you let me treat today?"
I can tell he's trying to make me feel better about the situation with Dad. But he already has.
"No, let my dad treat today," I tell him with a laugh. "Extra shots and Danishes all around."
* * *
By lunchtime, the morning clouds had cleared, and the bright blue of a clear sky and soft winter sunlight practically begged Tru to film something.
He pulled his smartphone out of his pocket and opened the camera app. If he had his choice of gear, this wasn't even in the top ten. He had three quality cameras at home and there were at least a dozen in the Cinematography classroom in Building F. Hell, he even had a decent handheld in his backpack.
But what the smartphone gave up in quality, it more than made up for in portability and the ability to take candid footage.
Sloane didn't even notice when he started filming.
Her friend Jenna glanced at the camera and then back down at her carefully arranged lunch.
Tru loved capturing these secret moments. Not just with Sloane, although he probably loved those the most, but in everyday life in general. Those instances that happened over and over again, most of the time without anyone taking any more notice than they do of a gentle breeze.
To capture those moments, to document them for eternity — or at least as long as the technology would allow — made him feel like he was contributing to something greater than himself.
Like he was turning life into art.
And the intersection of life and art described his relationship with Sloane perfectly. She came into his life at a low point, at a moment when the prospect of spending another year in the uncertain torment of life under his father's roof was becoming unbearable. She moved in next door and provided a light at the end of the tunnel. If he could just keep walking toward her, just keep her light in sight, then maybe — just maybe — he could make it out alive.
He knew he was being a bit melodramatic. His life wasn't actually on the line. The situation with his father never escalated to a dangerous level. But escape was almost always on Tru's mind. Sometimes he felt like he might go insane under the constant scrutiny and attempted control.
Ever since Sloane and her mom moved in next door, he'd been thinking about escape less and less.
She gave him a reason to stay.
A grape popped him in the forehead as Sloane finally realized he was filming her.
"What?" he asked with a grin, shaking off his dark thoughts.
"We talked about this," she said. "No filming me without warning."
"No, you talked about it." He kept filming. "I never agreed to anything."
She reached for the phone, but he pulled it out of reach, careful to keep her in the frame.
"This is why I can't bring you home to meet Mom," she teased.
He knew she meant it as a joke — he'd met her mom dozens of times. They were neighbors, after all. But there was an edge of truth beneath the sarcasm. An edge just big enough to sharpen his own humor.
"But does it explain why I can't bring you home to meet the 'rents?" he tossed back.
He regretted the words as soon as he said them. He couldn't be prouder of Sloane or of being her boyfriend. To even suggest she wasn't good enough for his family was ridiculous. Especially when the opposite was actually true. He wasn't good enough for hers.
Luckily, she seemed to miss the biting undertone.
"Come on," she whined at the camera. "Stop."
He shook his head. "It's for a class project."
She gave up trying to grab the phone, and crossed her arms over her chest. "What? The annoy-your-girlfriend project?"
"How did you know?"
Jenna snorted at his response.
He winked at her.
He'd always thought Jenna was a bit of an oddball, but ever since she helped them prove that Aimeigh was behind the stunt that would have gotten Sloane kicked out of school, Jenna had been okay in his book. He wasn't really sure if the three of them were friends, exactly, but they ate lunch together almost every day.
"You can't use my likeness without my consent," Sloane insisted. "I haven't signed a release."
He knew she was only teasing. And, lucky for them both, he loved to play this kind of game.
"You want me to flunk out of Cinematography?" He pressed his free hand over his heart. "I would get kicked out of school, my dad would kick me out of the house. I would be living on the streets, with no prospects for the future. Is that what you want?"
Sloane's expression turned sly. "If your dad kicked you out, you could live in my closet. My mom would never notice."
He waggled his eyebrows at the possibility.
"Fine," she said with a great big sigh. She looked directly into the lens. "For the sake of keeping a roof over your head, you have permission to film me."
"I knew you'd relent."
She smirked. "Oh, did you?"
"I am impossible to resist."
She leaned close and he twisted the phone to capture the moment as she said, "You really are," against his lips.CHAPTER 2
"How is everyone doing this fine Friday afternoon?" Oliver asks as we file into Senior Seminar.
Jenna is already there, as usual, at the head of the table next to Oliver. Everyone drifts to their regular seats, except Jacen, the lead actor in our class web series project, Lizzie Borden Diaries, who seems to prefer picking a different spot every class.
"Excellent, Mr. Wendell," Jenna chirps.
I don't think it's in her DNA to be able to call a teacher by his first name, even when he asks us to.
A few others mumble some version of fine or okay meant to express just how much we would rather be home already than sitting in our last class of the week.
Tru is the only one who isn't here when the bell rings. That's not at all unusual. He's been late to almost every session of Senior Seminar since the year began — except on the days he chooses to skip altogether. Oliver marks the absences, but he tends to ignore Tru's tardies.
Which is probably why he's always tardy.
The door swings open and Tru saunters inside. "Sorry I'm late."
"And how are you this fine Friday, Tru?" Oliver asks, clearly hoping to get a better answer from Tru than he got from the rest of us.
That man is way too cheerful.
"I am excellent, Oliver," Tru answers. His eyes flick to me. "It's an excellent time to be alive."
Oliver grins and claps his hands together. Finally, the kind of response he was hoping for.
"That it is," he says, his face beaming. "That it is."
Tru makes his way around the huge table that fills the room and drops into the chair next to me. He gives my knee a quick squeeze under the table. I ignore him and focus my attention on Oliver.
"I'm sure you're all chomping at the bit to bid the year adieu and get to your winter vacation," Oliver says. "But there is still one week left of classes and I have one last task for you before the extended break."
Excerpted from Falling for the Girl Next Door by Tera Lynn Childs, Stacy Abrams. Copyright © 2016 Tera Lynn Childs. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Tru and Sloane are back! I really enjoyed their second installment, even though I couldn't get behind one (okay, two) of the big decisions they made in the book. They saw the error of their ways eventually, and really, who hasn't made dumb decisions while in their teens and beyond? Far be it from me to be pointing fingers! FFTGND starts out with Sloane and Tru in a happy place--Sloane's actually liking Austin now (though she's counting the days until she's back in NYC for Christmas), and she and Tru are all kinds of cute together. You know that's not going to last, though, otherwise what would be the point of having another book? ;) And yep, soon the drama starts (I swear, half the reason I read YA is so I can be grateful I'm no longer a teen)--one problem is a carryover from book one: it gets worse, and thankfully the person most involved decides to do something about it (yay, Tru!); another problem develops more slowly, though the reader could really see it coming way before Sloane ever does (denial. Not just a river in Egypt.) And then there's the cyber threat to out Sloane's identity as the creator of Graphic Grrl... All in all we end up in a pretty good place again by the last page, though not everything is resolved and I'm still anxious to see how it'll all end up (though at this point, I'm more anxious for Willa and Finn's #2. When will it be released? When?? When??? Finn....) FFTGND could probably be read as a standalone, though I'd really recommend reading book one first ( Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru ) because there's definitely some elements of the story that carry over, and you'll know the characters better. Both of the Sloane and Tru books can be read independently of the other Creative Hearts series books, but why would you want to do that? Do yourself a favor and read them all! ;) Rating: 4 stars / B+ I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
"Received an advance reader copy for a fair review". Thanks to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Falling for the Girl Next Door by Tera Lynn Childs! This story begins right where Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru leaves off. Tru admits he has a drinking problem and breaks off his relationship with Sloane until he can fix the problem. Sloane wants to convince her family that they should live together in Austin, but she finds out that her parents' marriage might be in jeopardy. Sloane is also the victim of a blackmail attempt because she is receiving emails from someone claiming to know she's the creator of Graphic Grrl and threatening to expose her unless she bargains with him. Tru and Sloane mature and learn to deal with the feelings they have for each other while trying to keep their relationship strong no matter how many "bumps and turns" get in the way. This story has depth and dynamic main and side characters and includes young adult romance - 4 stars!
Not sure why but never really connected with the characters in this book. I've not read any of the other books in this series but didn't feel that I'd missed anything. Overall, I just didn't feel like there was much of a story here. I also didn't like that their story was told from alternating points of view, Sloane's in 1st person and Tru's from 3rd person. I find that jarring and it made me aware that I was reading. Though the book was only 186 pages it seemed much longer and not in a good way.
(I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to Entangled Publishing, LLC and NetGalley.) This was a YA contemporary romance, featuring Sloan and Tru from Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru. Sloan and Tru were both okay characters, and Sloan’s opinion of Texas had changed a lot from the first book. I also thought that Tru was quite brave to admit what he did to Sloan. The storyline in this was about Sloan having to find a fake boyfriend to try and impress her father at their Christmas eve dinner, as well as Sloan wanting to talk her dad into moving to Texas. Thankfully the fake-boyfriend part of the story didn’t last too long though, as things got a bit silly when Tru got jealous. The ending to this was okay, and it seemed like things were good between Sloan and Tru again. 6.5 out of 10
This is a cute YA romance. I haven’t read the others in the series (this is Book 5), but I don’t feel it is absolutely necessary. It would have helped with the back story of Sloane and Tru, but I was invested in the characters anyway. Sloane is a Texas transplant who is slowly learning to love her new town – not least of which is due to the “bad boy” next door, Tru. This book deals with some real life teen issues and the struggle seemed real. I liked the fact that therapy was used in a positive, life-affirming way. The fake relationship may not be the best choice for either of them, but it is understandable. Both characters are frustrating at times, but I thought the ending was very sweet. This may not satisfy everyone because there were lots of things left up in the air, but overall I found it to be a satisfying teen romance story. Received copy from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Falling for the Girl Next Door by Tera Lynn Childs....I enjoyed the story, it was well written with likeable characters. I loved watching Sloane and Tru's stories be told. This is my first book by Tera Lynn Child and it will not be my last. I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy from publisher via NetGalley.
falling for the girl next door is the second book in sloane and tru's story. when i picked this book up i wasn't really aware of that fact. it's also the fifth book in the creative hearts series, which just feels a bit confusing. like maybe the author is trying to build up a high school series like the sweet valley high books? maybe teens are on the look out for things like that? while i hadn't read the first book, it didn't really matter because the first couple of chapters recap a lot of the stuff that happened in the first book. while i found it useful to have the background i also struggled with finding this recap stuff interesting. and if i was new to the series and not interested really, how bad would it be for a returning reader? another thing i wasn't sure of, though i'm sure this is continuing the style of the earlier books, was that sloane's perspective took place in the first person. tru's perspective took place in third person. why do we need that shift in perspectives? i didn't mind the alternating viewpoints, but the shift from first person to third really got on my nerves for some reason. i'm not sure why there was a sequel to sloane and tru's story from the first book. perhaps some of tru's issues hadn't been fully resolved, and they do take care of that here. but other than that, sloane and tru were working through stuff in their relationship. and they both were dealing with some serious family drama. and things mostly got resolved. this was a perfectly fine read, but i'm not sure i'm interested enough to go back and catch up on the series. **falling for the girl next door will publish on november 14, 2016. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (crush) in exchange for my honest review.
It’s no secret that I love the Creative HeArts series. There’s only one more book after this one, and I’m sad to see it come to an end. But Tru and Sloane don’t let us down. I loved that both Tru and Sloane are dealing with their own problems. I just wish that they’d realize that fighting battles together is ALWAYS better than fighting them alone. Sloane has a lot going on. She has someone blackmailing her about her web comic. Then she is trying to figure out how to get her brother and dad to stay in Austin. She feels like the person that drove the wedge between her family, but there may be more going on than she realized. Tru has finally come to grips with the fact that he has a problem. He wants to be worthy of Sloane, and thinks pushing her away until he’s who he wants to be is a good idea. But maybe a little outside help will allow him to see that maybe pushing her away is a stupid decision. I love these two so much. They work so great together, and even though they are “on a break” their friendship is still there. (Even when it’s awkward.) We also get to see some of our other favorite characters in this series, and I can’t wait for Finn and Willa’s book!
I voluntarily reviewed this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.I really enjoyed reading this book,love the cover,characters.I will definitely have to look up more of Ms.Childs books in the near future.
Mixed feelings on this one. The good points - it's well done with great writing. It wraps up Sloane and Tru's story and I love these characters. The story moves along nicely and deals with real issues. What I didn't care for - In my opinion there wasn't a lot to the story. At least not enough for a whole separate book. It simply wrapped things up that started in book 1. I didn't feel that Tru's issues and the help he sought out was realistic. It all seemed too simple when in reality it's a very real issue and not so simply dealt with.
An entertaining read with well-developed characters, a wonderful creative setting, some real-life problems, and a sweet romance I could totally get behind. I haven't read any of the other books in this series (including the first book which tells how Sloane and Tru got together) but it didn't matter as this can be read as a standalone. I love that both mains were creative people - Sloane is the mystery talent behind Graphic Grrl, a very successful online animated superhero strip, and Tru is a wannabe filmmaker who loves nothing more than filming his beautiful girlfriend - and it really created a great backdrop for the story. Tru and Sloane are great characters, both complex and well developed and a good representation of teenagers struggling to deal with family and identity issues. Together, they were a wonderful team and a great example of a truly supportive relationship. I could understand that Tru didn't want Sloane to become his crutch, and he wanted to be the type of boy she deserved, but I hated that he mistakenly pushed her away. Sloane wants to do the right thing by him so she goes along with it even if she is missing him terribly. The situation with Finn was very humorous at times and I'm intrigued to read his and Willa's story now. I love that family features quite prominently in this book, even if it is more of the dysfunctional variety. I adored Dylan and only wish we had gotten to see more of him. Jenna was also a great character. The romance was sweet and clean and my only complaint is that I wish there had been more of it and that it was a little more emotionally intense. The plot wasn't anything amazingly original but it's well executed and it chips along at a nice pace. The book does deal with some serious issues but it's not a deep read, however, I liked that therapy was involved and how that played out as that's an important message (even if the transition would have taken longer in real life.) Overall, this was a really enjoyable read and I look forward to checking out other books in this series. Thanks to Entangled Teen for providing an advance complimentary copy of this book. (less)