Friday, July 22, 2016

Release Day Review: The Boy Next Door (Mari's Review)

Title: The Boy Next Door

Author: Kate McMurray

Release Date: July 22, 2016

Category: Contemporary

Pages: 200

Life is full of surprises and, with luck, second chances.
After his father’s death, Lowell leaves the big city to help his sick mother in the conservative small town where he grew up. He’s shocked to find himself living next to none other than his childhood friend Jase. Lowell always had a crush on Jase, and the man has only gotten more attractive with age. Unfortunately Jase is straight, now divorced, and raising his six-year-old daughter. It’s nice to reconnect, but Lowell doesn’t see a chance for anything beyond friendship.
Until a night out together changes everything.
Jase can’t fight his growing feelings for Lowell, and he doesn’t want to give up the happy future they could have. But his ex-wife issues an ultimatum: he must keep his homosexuality secret or she’ll revoke his custody of their daughter, Layla. Now Jase faces an impossible choice: Lowell and the love he’s always wanted, or his daughter.
First Edition published by Loose Id LLC, 2011.

Lowell returns to his hometown after his abusive father dies to take care of his mother and coincidentally ends up buying a house right next to his childhood friend and first crush, Jason. Jason is straight, though, so nothing will come out of them being friends again, or so Lowell thinks.

Jason is gay, but he's not happy about it or willing to come out of the closet anytime soon, especially considering he has a 6-year old daughter and a homophobic ex-wife to put first. His attraction to Lowell is alive and even bigger now that he's confronted with the adult version of his best friend, and it might prove too much for him to resist it. However, the consequences of his actions might be more than he's willing to sacrifice for Lowell.

I loved Lowell. He was a mature, sweet and caring character. I just adored the way he treated Layla, Jason's daughter, and how patient and supportive he was with Jase. Now, Jason, well, I didn't particularly care for him. He was a great father, but I hated his weakness, the self-sacrificing, the sabotaging his happiness because he felt guilty about misleading his ex-wife. And don't get me started on her (Karen) and Jase's skewed perception of her. One moment she was a great mom, the next not so much because she disappeared for months on end or told Layla she'd visit and then never appear and such, and asking Jase for money, then nearly threatening him if he didn't give her money and such. Jase trying to defend her actions just because she is Layla's mom and pushing Lowell away, when he only wanted to help him, was just another reason not to like him. 

I really liked Lowell and Jason together, when Jason was actually giving Lowell a chance, that is. They were sweet and hot and it was lovely to see their relationship deepen into something more than the friendship they'd shared as kids. I think the progress from liking each other into loving each other was a bit abrupt, but I guess all's well that ends well, applies in this case, although it was obvious it was a work in progress and not really a HEA.

The book is well-written and enjoyable, some of the breaks between scenes were a bit choppy, but other than that it flowed nicely. 

Rating: 4 Stars!

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