The Boy Next Story by Tiffany Schmidt
Publication Date: May 21, 2019
Summary from Goodreads:
This is the second title in a paperback original series about a girl whose classic literary crushes manifest in real life, this time told from Rory Campbell’s point of view and inspired by the timeless classic Little Women. Rory likes Toby, but Toby likes Rory’s sister Merrilee, even though Merrilee is already dating Toby’s friend Fielding—and it’s all about to get even more complicated at Reginald R. Hero High . . . where our leading ladies’ romantic fantasies come true, often with surprising consequences. Perfect for younger readers of YA or older readers of middle grade, this squeaky-clean series is sure to charm any reader who’s ever had a book boyfriend of her own.
ARC received from Amulet books for an honest review.
This is a smart, funny and surprisingly sweet follow up to the first book in the series. You can read my review of the first book here.
I know that I read Little Women when I was quite young, but I really don’t remember much except that there were four sisters, and one almost dies. And there was a boy next door with a funny name. I thought that more might come back to me as I was reading this book, but it didn’t. But that didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of this story. Although I do think that if Little Women was one of your favorite books as a child you will love this adaptation of the story.
This book is told from Rory’s point of view, the youngest sister in the Campbell family. I liked her, though she was not as fun as Merrilee. She is the quiet serious sister, who is very artistic. I could relate to her and her issues with her siblings. Although you can tell that the sisters love each other, they do have their conflicts. Their whole family felt very authentic in all of their relationships.
And then there is Toby. What a complex boy he is. I found him just as frustrating as Rory did, but he really was a sweetie that was just very confused about his feelings. I really did enjoy all of their interactions though, even when he was pining after Merrilee.
Rory has some great friends in this book as well. They are all supportive of her and her art. Although they do sometimes get her into minor trouble with Toby. I especially liked Huck, who pretends to be her boyfriend in order to make Toby jealous. He was such a nice guy.
So, because I can’t remember the plot of Little Women, I can’t really speak to how well it plays out in this remake. But I did think that the plot was pretty good. It has a lot going on though, and there were some slow spots in it as well. But I really did like the slow development of Toby and Rory’s relationship from friends to more than friends. I would still like to see more of Mrs. Gregoire, the teacher that gives her the book to read in the first place. Although we see a bit more of her in this book than the first one, I still want a bit more.
My final verdict is that if you liked the first book, or if you liked Little Women, you will find this an enjoyable read as well. It is a sweet and innocent romance that will steal the hearts of many young teens.