All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

The Boys Next Door & Endless Summer – Jennifer Echols

on November 30, 2010

These two books are published together in my version. If you’re going to read them, it’s best to read them in order (The Boys Next Door first and then Endless Summer). I’m going to review them both together in this post, but talk about them separately, if that makes sense.

In The Boys Next Door we meet Lori who is about to turn 16. Lori lost her mother when she was younger and was raised by her father, a nanny/au pair named Frances and spent most of her time hanging out with her older brother Bill (who is known by the nickname McGillicuddy) and the three boys next door, Adam, Sean and Cameron Vader. During the summer she works at the Vader’s marina store and wakeboards with the Vader’s and her brother in her spare time. She’s a total tomboy who has absolutely no idea how to flirt or be feminine or anything! But now that she’s turning 16 she’s determined to be noticed by Sean Vader, who is two years older, has just graduated and will be off to college in the summer. She thinks that Sean is the one for her because of something her mother said to her about twelve years ago. She also places a lot of emphasis on her 16th birthday because of how important her mother stressed it was, making her a scrapbook for it and telling her stories about the lovely ‘grown up’ ring she herself got from her parents on her 16th birthday. Because of these two things combined, Lori is absolutely sure she’s going to hook Sean Vader and awkwardly puts in motion a plan to catch his eye. Stage 1 is “Cleavage revealing top” and Stage 2 is “bikini”.

Lori is clueless. Oh, so, clueless. But’s kind of appealing in her own way and it’s obvious to see just how much her sheltered and tomboyish upbringing has had to do with her naivety. When she spies who she thinks is Adam, the youngest brother and about her best friend kissing his girlfriend at one of the famous Vader parties, she makes her way in to try her luck with Sean. But the Vader brothers look very much alike and when she gets close to the brother inside she realises that that one is Adam – so therefore it is Sean kissing Adam’s girlfriend Rachel outside!

Lori is crushed but she comes up with a genius plan – her and Adam will pretend to hook up and make Sean and Rachel crazy with jealousy! Adam is surprisingly into the plan and is willing to do anything *cough* to make it seem real and it’s him that draws Lori into steamy kisses and embraces, despite the fact that this was all Lori’s idea. Suddenly Lori starts to wonder – which Vader brother is she really after?

Like all Jennifer Echols novels, this one was cute. Lori was likable despite being extremely stupid at times when it came to boys and she tried so hard but she really was rather sweet underneath. Adam was one of Echol’s heroes-with-a-twist this one being that he suffers from ADHD, can’t sit still and does crazy stunts that often put him in hospital. I liked Adam and I loved how even though he was the crazy one, he almost grounded Lori. His family frustrated me because it seemed that Adam was blamed for a lot of things because of his ADHD when really Sean was just a total and utter d*ck to him. Sean was extremely irritating – player, disloyal to his family, rude and unfair to his brother, using the weakest spots to hit  him with and he even lashes out at Lori cruelly and unfairly during one scene where they are all watching a movie at the Vader’s. Sean needed a good sharp slap and a dressing down and I found myself wanting to reach into the book and shake Lori to her senses because Sean was just…nothing.

Despite a few nitpicks, I really did enjoy this cute story. It was a fun summer afternoon read and I love passing the time with these YA romances because they’re just light and sweet. It’s not my favourite Jennifer Echols book but I’d still recommend it to anyone who likes her other novels, or who likes these sorts of teen reads!

7/10

Endless Summer starts only moments after the conclusion of The Boys Next Door. Lori and her new boyfriend manage to get themselves into some hot water when they go out on their first sort-of real date and fall asleep, meaning that Lori is very late home, breaking curfew and angering her father, who immediately goes into ‘overprotective’ mode, banning Lori from seeing her boyfriend all summer. Lori is devastated, especially when new boyfriend’s parents agree, thinking that they’re not responsible or mature enough to handle the sort of relationship they’re diving into and that some time apart will be good for some growing up.

Lori, who is disastrous at making plans, comes up with another corker – she’s going to make her dad change his mind about letting her see new boyfriend because she’s going to pretend to date a string of other guys who will make new boyfriend look squeaky clean. New boyfriend isn’t entirely happy about this idea (err, who would be?) but Lori is Lori and once she’s on a roll, she can’t be stopped. She is sure this is the best way to reversing her dad’s rule and she dives into it headlong, choosing several candidates and setting up her ‘first date’.

Sigh. This clearly had ‘spectacular fail’ written all over it from 300 paces but Lori is like a bulldozer, refusing to listen to reason, refusing to just think for one minute that this sort of behaviour might be why she got herself grounded from new boyfriend in the first place! Not to mention that new boyfriend of 5 minutes isn’t in love with the idea and everytime he gets jealous or hurt from her actions, he seeks to hurt her back because he doesn’t know how else to let her know that what she’s doing is upsetting him and he’s a teenage boy and they’re not very good at expressing their feelings. When her first attempt fails Lori still doesn’t learn her lesson and she steps it up yet another notch, choosing the person who will hit new boyfriend below the belt the absolute hardest.

Okay here’s where I kind of didn’t love this book. I like love triangles to a certain degree – but this wasn’t a love triangle and Lori was basically just hooking up with another guy in front of her boyfriend (even though she didn’t actually know he was there watching, she had told him what she intended) and it just seemed too far to believably be part of a plan to let her see new boyfriend. It seemed a bit too hurtful and even though we’ve established in The Boys Next Door that Lori is immature and clueless around boys and in relationships you can’t tell me that there is a girl out there who thinks she could do that and not hurt her significant other. I’m avoiding saying who her boyfriend is, and who the guy is that she uses so as I don’t spoil the previous book but I’m quite certain that anyone who reads the first novel will be able to guess who I am alluding to.

I normally love sequels! I’m a big sequel fan. But this one, even though it was written by an author I’ve really come to love recently, just didn’t do it for me. That’s not to say I disliked it altogether – I did like it and it was still an amusing read, despite the fact that it probably seems otherwise in this review. I just think the core issue could’ve been a little bit more…dramatic and the way in which it was dealt with, not so close to cheating with permission (or in this case, without it) as possible. Lori just couldn’t see how disastrous her plan was, and even when it backfired in her face she couldn’t see it! She still kept wanting to go on and take it to another (even more ridiculous) level. She needed a female friend with half a lick of sense to seriously pull her up short and give her a better way to handle it. Because there really were better ways – and in fact, the perfect way ends this book. And if only Lori had allowed that to happen earlier, all the mess would’ve been avoided.

A bit disappointing after the previous standard I’m used to from this author, but not hopeless!

5/10

Book #100 and #101 of my 100 Book Challenge.

Yay! My 100 Book Challenge of 2010 is complete!


3 responses to “The Boys Next Door & Endless Summer – Jennifer Echols

  1. Great review. I’ve been wanting to read these for awhile now, and now I want to read them even more. Is it one of those that after reading the first, you NEED to pick up the next, because I was thinking of getting only the first one for right now?

    • Well, I actually read Boys Next Door on my Kindle a couple of weeks ago and bought this version thinking it was merely Endless Summer – it’s the same price as just buying one of the novels anyway, really! So it’s probably best if you DO have the second one on hand because it picks up the same day the first one ends and it is nice to read it all as one novel, I think.

  2. […] Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)? Most popular post by views is a review of The Boys Next Door/Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols for posts that I posted this year…a review of Losing It, by Cora […]

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