The Short History of the Girl Next Door

From the jacket:

“Matt Wainwright is constantly sabotaged by the overdramatic movie director in his head. He can’t tell his best friend, Tabby, how he really feels about her. He implodes on the basketball court, even though no one cares about the JV team. And the only place he feels normal is in Mr. Ellis’s English class, discussing the greatest fart scenes in literature and writing poems about cantankerous candy-cane lumberjacks. If this were a movie, everything would work out perfectly. Tabby would discover that Matt’s madly in love with her, be overcome with emotion, and fall into his arms. Maybe in the rain. But that’s not how it works. Matt watches Tabby get swept away by senior basketball star and all-around great guy Liam Branson. Losing Tabby to Branson is bad enough, but screwing up and losing her as a friend is even worse. After a tragic accident, Matt finds himself left on the sidelines, spiraling out of control and in danger of losing everything that matters to him. From debut author Jared Reck comes a fiercely funny and heart-wrenching novel about love, longing, and what happens when life as you know it changes in an instant.”


I went into this book pretty blind, only knowing the inside flap and not having heard of it otherwise. I was immediately drawn in by the snarky and honest voice our narrator has. This book is technically YA and I think that made me love it even more. Reck puts into words the thoughts so many of us have undoubtedly had as an unsure teenager trying to navigate the social norms and despair of high school. I felt like I was living in Matt’s head the entire time which was such as satisfying experience as a reader.

The one caveat I will give to more sensitive readers is that this book uses a LOT of language and if you are not a fan of the F word, this probably won’t be for you. I loved Matt and Tabby enough to overlook it but I do wish the author had been a BIT more sparing with the cursing.


I finished this book with a smile on my face while tears were streaming down. It was sweet and sad and so very brutally honest. I thought Matt was endearing and candid and I was totally drawn into this story. I think some might argue this book is not totally realistic to which I would respond that it’s young adult and I’m okay with that. Even if it might not be the most accurate or lifelike, if it can make me feel something – I’m sold. I was willing to suspend disbelief and this book left me with a LOT of feelings. After reading, I saw this book compared to Looking for Alaska. I will say that I enjoyed this book MUCH more. I can’t wait to pass this along to my friends who teach high schoolers to hear what they think.

I wouldn’t have found this book if it weren’t for Blogging for Books. Thank you for this free copy in exchange for an honest review.