Synopsis from Goodreads
The boy next door. That’s what he was. Dash Frasier—my hero from the day we met, when I was six and he was nine. His sister was my best friend, the three of us one happy crew. Then one sweaty summer night changed everything.
No one understood me like Dash. No one made me feel so loved. That’s why, when he skipped town, it wrecked me.
Now I’m older. Wiser. I’ve just snagged my dream job, writing at a film studio. The lead animator on my project? You guessed it.
He’s not the boy next door. Not anymore.
I’m guarding my heart this time.
But Dash has secrets that could break us both.
The Boy Next Door isn’t at all what I expected. It makes you view societies attitudes to different genders in a whole new light.
The idea that a man is a stud for being promiscuous or dabbling in what would be considered a taboo relationship has them portrayed in a positive manner. What it doesn’t take into consideration is the psychological aspects of dealing with the emotional ramifications of such behaviour when they haven’t been able to mature into the consequences on their identity as a result. There are even certain relationships where a man would be praised for undertaking while a woman in a similar situation would be viewed as a victim of manipulation, grooming and coercion. The flip side of the double standard we as a society uphold.
Amelia is a children’s writer for screen rather than print, in her last year of college she has an amazing opportunity to work with a top animation company. The downside of her internship, she has to work with the boy who broke her heart as a teen. The quintessential boy next door and best friends older brother, Dash.
Although Amelia has not had a relationship beyond friendship (and one night) with Dash, her heart has always been his. She has a deep emotional attachment to Dash that hasn’t diminished over the years even though he cut ties with her when he left for college after promising to keep in touch.
Amelia and Dash have harboured an attraction to each other for most of their lives but events prevented them from revelling their true feelings. Brought together for their project explodes the chemistry between them, yet they are both unwilling to hope for more due to their shared past and the secrets that linger between them.
There are a lot of clues to Dash’s emotional state during the time he has been away from Amelia. Hints as to a traumatic experience and the resulting emotional damage he sustained. While I did think the ultimate revelations were obvious to those able to pick up on the clues within the narrative, it is the contrasting principles regarding the incident that make the story. I admired Amelia for the way in which she matured through the plot and how she was able to see beyond the initial reactions to the underlying truth of the situation.
There are a lot of additional revelations within the narrative padding out the story but I did feel as if some aspects were superfluous, especially those regarding Dash’s sister.
On the whole The Boy Next Door is a passionate second-chance romance that will challenge your perspective.