Family conflict, changing relationships, and questions of identity are at the heart of this engaging spin on the classic romance plotline.
Maddy Spier's been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner, she spends time in his arms every day. But she's also seen his arms around other girlslots of other girls. How can she make him realize that they can be partners off the ice as well?
Gabe's relationship with Maddy is vital. He can't imagine skating with anyone else, and together they have a real chance at greatness–maybe even making it to the Olympics someday. So he's decided to think of her as a sister. After all, family is forever, and he's never dated anyone for more than two weeks.
Then their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, and everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy's been hoping for or the big breakup that Gabe has always feared?
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads, debut author Katie Van Ark’s novel The Boy Next Door is full of competition, misunderstandings, and of course, plenty of romance.
Praise for The Boy Next Door:
“Fans of ice-skating and romance will fall in love with this debut novel.” School Library Journal
“Van Ark's story of two skating partners is hot enough to melt the ice.” Romantic Times
“Guaranteed to warm even the coldest heart.” Justine
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
"You got this, Mad," I whisper to her. "Do it again."
She nods, and her face reminds me of her dad, the way he looks on his campaign billboards. Eyes focused, chin set. A look that says you can trust him to get whatever job needs doing done. Mad takes her crossovers. She pushes. She jumps. One-two-three and there's the extra half rotation and on the landing, her knee's bent so low she's almost doing a backward shoot-the-duck but by some miracle of anything and everything holy–
She. Stands. Up.
I have officially lost the triple Axel contest. I will never live this down, but I'm so psyched for Mad that I don't give even a bucket of Zamboni sludge. Mad's screaming and I'm screaming and Kate and Chris have forgotten whatever the hell they were fighting about this time. Mad throws her arms around me and I hug her back. Over her shoulder I see Igor watching, smiling, as our club mates pile on us in a massive group hug. Mad's landed her triple Axel. I am not worthy to tie her skates, but for some reason she's still my partner.
No, not some random, unknown reason. In the middle of the celebratory huddle with Mad, her body pressed full frontal against mine with her arms around me and her face buried in my neck, I know the reason she's still my partner. And I also know that whatever I do, I can't lose Mad.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In late 2014 I started seeing a lot of publicity for this book and reading the plot line I found that that is exactly what I look for in books, so I decided to pre order it. The Boy Next Door is the first book that I’ve read that is set in such a unique setting, the ice skating competitions, I was immediately sucked into the atmosphere of the book, I started researching about the subject and also You Tubing the moves that the characters talked about, that for me made the experience of reading the book that much rich and fulfilling. The story is centered around two teens who have been best friends since they were little and who are also partners in figure skating, Mad has always felt a pull towards Gabe, has been attracted to him and of course developed feelings for him but when we first meet them, Gabe is still in denial about his true feelings towards Mad. When their coach Igor has the brilliant idea of performing Romeo and Juliet as their act for a competition thing start to get messy, Gabe can’t keep pretending that he isn’t attracted to Mad and she is determined to make him confess his feelings toward her. For the majority of the book we see the characters struggle with their feelings, struggling to find their place on the ice, and thinking about how been a couple will affect them, Mad doesn’t think it can happen but Gabe does and that’s why he tries to stay away. This is a very fun read, there’s drama, comedy and of course plenty of swoon worthy moments.
There are some books that I need to think about for a while after I finish reading them. The Boy Next Door was one of them, because while I mostly enjoyed my experience reading the book, there were a couple areas where I was left with mixed feelings. Reasons to Read: 1. Good alternating perspectives: The use of alternating perspectives in a book can either be quite effective or it can completely distract from the story. But Katie van Ark uses the alternating chapters very well, as it reveals the private thoughts of the two main characters and their relationship with each other. The different perspectives highlights how differently two people can perceive the same events. 2. An insider's view on figure skating: I'm completely useless at ice skating (as in: I can't do it at all. Worst Canadian ever!) and it was utterly fascinating to me to read about the world of competitive figure skating. I know nothing about it, and yet I was impressed with Maddy and Gabe's commitment to the sport and how The Boy Next Door introduced me to a whole new world. I obviously can't speak to the accuracy of the details in the book, but I certainly felt like this was a very involved, knowledgeable perspective. This is actually going to be a reason that is hit-or-miss for some people. But I certainly felt the tension between Maddy and Gabe the entire time I was reading, and I just had to know what was going to happen with them. It was certainly convincing to read about these two characters try to find themselves on the same page with each other. That being said, I ended the book with mixed feelings on Maddy and Gabe. They struck me as realistic characters (flaws and all) which is important, but there were some responses and comments made by each that I found hard to appreciate in the book. (I don't want to spoil anything directly, but I'll just say that Maddy's reaction to her bruises from figure skating was not one of which I was a fan.) Overall, I felt that some of this detracted from my overall experience. This is a book which is heavy on the romance (obviously since it's from the Swoon Reads imprint), but much of it is a true teenaged romance. The characters are fairly immature and have to mature as the book goes on. That isn't a bad thing at all - I think it's a positive for the book, because that's reality. But to an extent, it can make it harder for certain readers to completely connect with the story. At the end of the day, not enough of the book stuck with me over time although I enjoyed reading it at the time. ARC received from publisher for review; no other compensation was received.
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Pan Macmillan, and NetGalley.) "Romeo and Juliet." The sarcasm gone from her voice this time, Kate looks right into my eyes. "Remember how it ends." This was a YA contemporary romance about ice skaters. Gabe and Maddy were both serious about their ice dancing, but I found the way they fought about whether or not they should have a romantic relationship a bit annoying. It was obvious that they both liked each other, but the way Gabe pushed Maddy away for the good of their skating partnership was frustrating. "No." I choke back my own sob. "I love you. Enough to let you be, if that's what you want." The storyline in this was mostly about the romance, with Maddy also having some issues at home to deal with. I didn’t expect there to be sex in this book, but because of it I’d recommend that this book would be best suited to the higher end of YA. I did find the pace in this a bit slow, which did spoil the book a bit for me. "We can't do this, do you understand? The Romeo and Juliet crap has to stay on the ice. I'm not getting involved with you." The ending to this was pretty happy, and Gabe and Maddy seemed to have gotten what they wanted. 6 out of 10
The Boy Next Door had all the marks of pure Angie candy. Best friends falling in love are my favorite kind of romances so naturally I was all kinds of excited about this one. Unfortunately the juvenile writing, poor characterization and ridiculous drama made it a difficult book for me to get through, let alone enjoy. The book is narrated by both Maddy and Gabe. On the plus side, both characters have distinct voices that make it easy to differentiate between POVs. And I liked Maddy. Other than her abysmal taste in boys, she was pretty great and realistically written. She’s funny, smart and fearless in the best ways. On the negative side, the reader has to be inside of Gabe’s head and Gabe is the absolute worst. He’s just such a wishy-washy, whiny and insecure jerk, it was impossible for me to root for him. This guy is just an absolute tool and basically afraid of everything. He clearly is pining after Maddy, but doesn’t acknowledge it until the new romantic skating program is introduced and their coach tells him to fake it. Then he convinces himself the attraction will be gone after a week, because apparently he is never attracted to the same girl for longer then that, and when it doesn’t he totally freaks out and it’s just ridiculous and annoying. Even after finishing the book I didn’t feel like he’d undergone any significant character growth. Definitely not enough to make me want to see him and Maddy together. You’ve probably figured out by now that if I disliked Gabe this much, I definitely wasn’t a fan of the romance. While Maddy and Gabe definitely had chemistry, I didn’t find anything about their relationship cute or swoony. More like unhealthy, melodramatic, immature. Seriously. Gabe insists on keeping it a secret, Maddy goes along with it and then changes her mind and it’s all DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA without any redeeming aspects to make the drama worth it. All I wanted was for Maddy to shin kick him (preferably with her ice skates on) and then skate off into the sunset by herself. The plot of this book was also a mess. There was just too much going on and the writing wasn’t strong enough to pull it off. On top of the Maddy/Gabe romance drama, there was also a storyline with Maddy’s family that dragged the book on way past a natural ending point which I found incredibly frustrating. All in all this was just a frustrating read, one that I’d only recommend to those who enjoy romance without any substance.