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The Boy Next Door

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Maddy Spier has been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner she spends time in his arms every day. But she’s also seen his arms around other girls—lots of other girls.

Gabe can't imagine skating with anyone but Maddy, and together they have a real chance at winning some serious gold medals. So, he’s determined to keep thinking of her like a sister. After all, he’s never had a romantic relationship that lasted for more than two weeks.

But when their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy’s been hoping for or the big breakup that Gabe has always feared?

347 pages, Paperback

First published January 6, 2015

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About the author

Katie Van Ark

2 books107 followers
Katie Van Ark lives in Michigan with two daughters, two cats, and one very patient husband who was also her high school sweetheart. She is a member of SCBWI and RWA and a student at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She enjoys reading, writing, and of course figure skating.

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714 (31%)
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331 (14%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 372 reviews
Profile Image for Paula M.
547 reviews643 followers
August 22, 2020

These two is more complicated than a math problem that includes letters.

I really enjoyed knowing some of the stuff about ice skating because it doesn’t snow here in the Philippines so we don’t skate a lot much. I mean we have those Ice skate rinks on the mall but I really want to experience skating on erm, real ice.  Anyway,  that didn’t stop me from being frustrated towards this novel. I’m pretty sure I lost something on my head that is supposed to prevent me from going crazy.

It’s like they have nothing to do but skate and complicate…  everything. They want each other, that much is clear. They’re actually sooo desperate to be together BUT they always—ALWAYS seems to find a way to fight, or to have something to fight about. It’s like a hobby.

Books with dual POV’s are more enjoyable for me so it made reading the book much easier. I like reading Gabe’s POV more than Mad’s. Which is weird because Gabe, the love interest, is such a drama queen! Jeez. This guy has more hurty feeling than those NA protagonist that I always read about. He is such a jerk. I honestly want to hurt him.

Maddie was not that horrible but maybe a few more braincells would’ve made her much more interesting. She is so head over heels and it doesn’t make sense. Gabe is treating her like a doormat and she’s just.. so phlegmatic about it.

I hate it so much when the characters ruin the whole book because they’re so annoying and just all over the place. I might understand if they’re younger but they’re YOUNG ADULTS. They are capable of thinking straight.

Nothing is really memorable or remarkable about this novel, I'm afraid. Such a shame, really, because the premise really catches attention. The Boy Next Door has a lot of potential… but the execution, the characters, the ending (dear god the ending. Barf barf barf) Reading this book was sucha struggle.

Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,689 reviews1,267 followers
May 5, 2015
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Pan Macmillan, and NetGalley.)

"Romeo and Juliet." The sarcasm gone from her voice this time, Kate looks right into my eyes. "Remember how it ends."

This was a YA contemporary romance about ice skaters.

Gabe and Maddy were both serious about their ice dancing, but I found the way they fought about whether or not they should have a romantic relationship a bit annoying. It was obvious that they both liked each other, but the way Gabe pushed Maddy away for the good of their skating partnership was frustrating.

"No." I choke back my own sob. "I love you. Enough to let you be, if that's what you want."

The storyline in this was mostly about the romance, with Maddy also having some issues at home to deal with. I didn’t expect there to be sex in this book, but because of it I’d recommend that this book would be best suited to the higher end of YA. I did find the pace in this a bit slow, which did spoil the book a bit for me.

"We can't do this, do you understand? The Romeo and Juliet crap has to stay on the ice. I'm not getting involved with you."

The ending to this was pretty happy, and Gabe and Maddy seemed to have gotten what they wanted.
6 out of 10
Profile Image for Tiff.
569 reviews539 followers
February 12, 2015
Review originally posted at Mostly YA Lit

Guys, warning: this is a book crack book - by which I mean, I could NOT. STOP. READING once I started. I read on transit. I read at lunch. I read late, late into the night. It's not even that it has that many twists and turns, it's that the yearning I felt for Maddy and Gabe to get together - that feeling was so strong with this book.

Gabe and Maddy have been skating together practically since they were born. They also live next door to one another, and Maddy has been in love with Gabe her whole life. She's always hoped something would happen, but Gabe is a known player and kind of a womanizer. But as Maddy and Gabe advance in their skating, they are forced to start playing more romantic roles on the ice - and that starts to translate off the ice, too. Problem is, Gabe has never had a girlfriend, and he's afraid of ruining their partnership, even though he feels the same way.

The story is told in the alternating voices of Gabe and Maddy, which I really liked. Actually, I'm quite sure I liked Gabe's voice more than I liked Maddy's - because he wanted so much to do the right thing and he kept screwing up, but even though he is SUCH a bad boy and a jerk...in this book, I understood it and I still liked him for it. That is a major success on the part of Katie Van Ark because I am NOT a bad boy lover.

The thing that made this book a success for me is that the characters and their home lives were very well developed - we know a ton about the people in their lives and there's just as much drama with their friends and family as there is in the romance. This isn't just a rollercoaster in terms of the love story - there's a lot happening in Gabe and Maddy's lives, and you really want them AND their friends and family to succeed.

That said, this is, of course, a book that is very focused on romance, and I can't even tell you the desperation I felt for Gabe and Maddy to just get it together and BE together. I definitely had a lot of feels during this book. The one thing I will say that I didn't love was the ending. I don't want to spoil anything, but let's just say that I might be a little too old and a little too jaded to find this ending believable. It didn't totally detract from the book or seem out of place, it just didn't seem real to me.

Still, this is definitely a romance you root for, and I can see why Swoon Reads first readers voted this one for publication (if you don't know about them, Swoon Reads is a reader-voted YA publishing imprint! Go check them out!). For you fans of contemporary YA, this is one that you should add to your TBR when you want a really addictive, unputdownable romance.


Sexytimes: What I was most surprised by was that this was a more mature YA than I expected. There are some steamy scenes, and man, Katie Van Ark does these well. Every time Maddy and Gabe got together...*fans self*.

Skating: Katie Van Ark clearly knows a ton about skating and putting together programs, and thedetails of this made the skating come alive for me. It helps that I'm a big fan of figure skating in general, but I think even people who don't love skating will appreciate the details and intricacies of what Gabe and Maddy go through. 

The Final Word: 
For me, The Boy Next Door was a classic case of right book at the right time. I was desperate to get to this book after many failed attempts to finish an anthology - don't get me wrong, I like short stories here and there, but after awhile, I was craving a long-form novel. And this one is such a roller coaster ride. If you're looking for a mature YA romance with a lot of action and drama, The Boy Next Door is your book.
Profile Image for Nasty Lady MJ.
1,057 reviews16 followers
January 9, 2015
To see the review with gifs click here.

Yeah, I shared that same look that Ashley Wagner had on her face during Sochi when I read this book.

I expected lots more toe picks than I got. And a love interest that didn’t make me want to barf.

Because yes, Gabe, you didn’t make me swoon you made me sick to my stomach.

That’s not a talking point. But never in 2015, have I seen a love interest that’s jut so ew inducing.

Grant it, 2015 is only nine days old and I’m sure I’ll see just as gross or grosser love interests in the near future, but Gabe is just an annoying dick.

He starts off having a reputation of a player.

Which is fine, I guess. I’m really not that big of a fan of that particular trope, but it can work. Here, I saw no growth with Gabe. Oh yeah, once he was with Maddie he wasn’t as big as a man whore as he was twenty pages before, but the change was too instant. And I just hate how wishy washy and weak the character was.

He honestly read, to me, like the guy that would get dumped by our fair heroine after she realizes that the geeky guy who rents out skates at the rink she rains at is really a better catch and can actually do a triple and other jumps that you’re required to do to be on the senior circuit.

But nope, it’s all about Gabe.

Maddie, herself, wasn’t horrible. The character could’ve been interesting. There were moments, here and there, where I liked her but skating partner and circumstances made her annoying. I really hated how nonchalant she was about everything. While she did get occasionally mad at Wishy Washy Gabe, she didn’t get mad at him the way she should’ve been mad at him. The same goes with reactions in other parts of her life. Since I don’t want to get too spoiler heavy, I’ll just say that there are a couple of revelations at the end that should’ve been dealt with more than an shrug okay and that’s pretty much it.

The end…

Oh, baby.

It was painful.

So painful.

I knew I was going to get cheese with this book. I wanted cheese. But I wanted high class sharp cheddar, not Cheese Whiz.

And that’s what this book is, Cheese Whiz.

Every moment was cringe worth.

Which is a shame because it had a lot of potential.

The skating, the part that made me want to read the book played a minuscule role. When it was included in the book, it just seemed more like it was thrown in there to get people to buy the book.

It was really about Maddie and Gabe.


Other than those two, there really wasn’t a large plot. There were a couple of side plots, but they weren’t really fleshed out that well.

To be honest, this book really reminded me of a Disney Chanel movie. The writing was about on par as one. And the depth in relationships was pretty akin to it as well.

I think I would’ve given the book a slightly higher rating than it did had it not been for the ending. It reeked of melodrama that was only used to—well, make the book feel like it had an actual plot when it didn’t.

I probably really won’t remember The Boy Next Door in about two weeks. It really was unremarkable. While I might’ve gotten annoyed with Gabe and he was a drip, he was a pretty unremarkable drip. I knew that he was going to be an idiot and he was. No surprise there.
Profile Image for Sue (Hollywood News Source).
781 reviews1,600 followers
March 8, 2015
Review also posted at Young Adult Hollywood.

From the moment I read the synopsis and saw the cover of this book I knew I was going to love it . The Boy Next Door is exactly what I wanted from Althea and Oliver, one of my highly anticipated YA reads last year that failed to impress me.

The Boy Next Door follows the story of Maddy Spier, who is madly in love with her best friend and figure skating partner, Gabe. But here is the situation Gabe isn’t exactly the relationship kind of guy. So when their coach assigned a new program that requires the pair to act like a star-crossed lovers , things started to change. Would this ignite a start of something new?

The Boy Next Door is like the ultimate fan service book someone ever wrote for me or that’s what I like to think so.

✓ Best of friends that are one step away from realizing, they are the only one for each other?
✓ Cute romance = throw a little bit of jealousy in there. I’m sold.
✓ Kissing.
✓ Casually flirting and not realizing it’s actually called flirting.
✓ More kissing.

It is one of those books, I don’t have any word to say except I really love it and maybe you should pick it up because you might as well feel the same way.

The Boy Next Door is filled with so much heart and love about, family, friendship and romance. What an addicting story. Perfect read for Stephanie Perkins fans.
Profile Image for Colette.
562 reviews51 followers
May 1, 2015
This book disappointed me. I hoped for a sweet, light, romantic read, and The Boy Next Door barely checked those boxes. The writing and storyline lacked, and the scenes seemed out of order. Sometimes I felt confused and even had to reread chapters to make sense of the characters' unexpected actions. Overall 2/5 stars; I would not recommend this book.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
662 reviews2,255 followers
April 28, 2015
Cute! Best friend romances usually never go wrong for me. Plus I was obsessed with figure skating when I was little. Always wanted to do it. Until I got on the ice and fell and cried and realized nope not gonna happen. LOL
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,220 reviews1,651 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
December 20, 2014
Pages read: 56

Though I had every intention of sticking this out in my last desperate marathon of reading to complete my book challenge, it's just not worth it. This book is giving me flashbacks to One Day by David Nicholls.

Friendship to love isn't one of my favorite romance tropes, but it can be awesome. However, when it's NOT awesome almost ever is when one of the two has been secretly pining for ages. It's even less awesome when the person they've been pining for is obnoxious as hell.

With every chapter, I want to destroy Gabe more than I did the chapter before. I hate that he looks like Finn from The 100 in my head. I hate that he has a little imaginary devil in his head that argues with him like its the cousin of the inner goddess from 50 Shades. I hate that he gets jealous if Maddy shows interest in someone else when he doesn't have any right to. I hate that he went into a freaking coffee shop and after thirty seconds some hot girl came in and demanded he have sex with her, because this is a thing that happens all the time to high school douchebags.

The ship has a sort of fake dating feel, which means I should be into it, but I was meh to start with and am now diametrically opposed. The moment their skating coach (who was directly lifted from The Cutting Edge btw) told them their new routine would be to Romeo & Juliet, I groaned. The moment they then acted out R&J in class and the teacher allowed them to kiss in class, I almost threw the book across the room. If I'm disgusted instead of swooning, this book is failing utterly and there are so many pages to go.

If you want the friendship to love thing with fake dating, read The Fine Art of Pretending instead. If you wanted the ice skating, go rewatch The Cutting Edge.
Profile Image for Lia Strange.
441 reviews191 followers
January 16, 2021
no se que acabo de leer pero lo odie.
Siempre me gusto el friends to lovers, me parece hermoso y super cute pero ALGUIEN QUIERE DECIRME ¿POR QUE ESTE DRAMA INNECESARIO Y POCO ROMANTICO? literalmente quería que no terminen juntos.
Profile Image for Becca Fowler (PivotBookTotes).
74 reviews127 followers
January 6, 2015
Dear The Boy Next Door,

Oh holy feels. You are full of the feel, The Boy Next Door. I'm still basking in the glow of all the Maddy & Gabe feels, and it's been months since I first read you. I already want to read you again, that is how much I love you and your epic swoony feels. I guess that's the major reason why you were pubbed by Swoon Reads, am I right? *crickets* Okay, I suck at jokes, but for realsies, you made me swoon hard.

You follow the story of Maddy and Gabe, alternating chapters between the two ice skaters who are partners. Of course, they live next door to each other, hence your title. Maddy has been in love with Gabe since the beginning, and has watched as Gabe has taken girl after girl into his bed. Yes, Gabe is quite the little player. However, he chooses to make Maddy off limits to his bed and to his heart, because feelings get in the way of competing in figure skating, and they can't have that if they are going to win big, until one day, their coach switches up their program from a fun carefree one to one that's a little bit (or a lot) on the romantic side. How is Gabe supposed to not care for Maddy that way if their coach is forcing them to act that way on the ice? Will Maddy finally have her dream come true of having Gabe fall into her arms the way she desperately desires?

It takes a lot for me to like a book with alternating chapters, especially when one is from a male perspective. I'm not sure what it is about reading from a guy, but most of the time, I don't really enjoy it. It bores me to tears, but that definitely wasn't the case with you, The Boy Next Door. Your boy, Gabe, was addictive to read from, as well as Maddy. They both had such diverse dialogue that I didn't even need to read the name at the beginning of each chapter to know who it was. That's a hard feat to accomplish, but your author, Katie Van Ark, nails it! Besides the major heavy swoonage inside your pages, I found myself loving you because of the humor! I was literally laughing out loud, which isn't something that happens very often with me. Sure, you were light-hearted at points, but you also had your deep points too. I fell for Maddy and Gabe equally and desperately wanted them to live happily ever after together, because hello! They are perfect for each other.

So far, I think you are my favorite of the three Swoon Reads books I've read so far. I enjoyed A Little Something Different, sure, but you, The Boy Next Door? I stayed up an entire night to read you. I. Could. Not. Stop. Flipping. Pages. Each chapter urged me on to the next fluidly. I've already gushed about how much I loved Maddy and Gabe, but your secondary characters were flawlessly executed as well. I adored their families and how they had a special night each week to hang out together, and Maddy and Gabe's friends that couple skate too. I really really really want a companion novel about them, so be sure to pass that on to your author, Katie, will ya?

Honestly, The Boy Next Door, you were one of my favorite contemporaries that I read last year, and that's definitely saying something because I read a bajillion contemps last year. I was not expecting to love you as much as I did, and I'm definitely going to be pushing you into every single person's hand, or secretively sliding you into people's baskets at the bookstore, because hey, they deserve the heavy swoonage too! Top ten fave of the year? Easily! Amazing characters? Hells yes! Strong Family ties? Even better! SWOONS? Still sighing over them! Funny as get-out dialogue? Still giggling over some of those lines! You are one heck of a book, The Boy Next Door, and the fact that you are still stuck in my mind months later solidifies my five star rating!

Wanting to go ice-skate now,

Profile Image for Angie.
329 reviews158 followers
December 21, 2015
Initial thoughts: Sweet glory hallelujah I'm free. 1.5 stars. This was a seriously hot mess.

Full review (originally posted at Disquietus Reads :

The Boy Next Door had all the marks of pure Angie candy. Best friends falling in love are my favorite kind of romances so naturally I was all kinds of excited about this one. Unfortunately the juvenile writing, poor characterization and ridiculous drama made it a difficult book for me to get through, let alone enjoy.

The book is narrated by both Maddy and Gabe. On the plus side, both characters have distinct voices that make it easy to differentiate between POVs. And I liked Maddy. Other than her abysmal taste in boys, she was pretty great and realistically written. She's funny, smart and fearless in the best ways. On the negative side, the reader has to be inside of Gabe's head and Gabe is the absolute worst.

 photo hateyou_zps7e5e44b5.gif


He's just such a wishy-washy, whiny and insecure jerk, it was impossible for me to root for him. This guy is just an absolute tool and basically afraid of everything. He clearly is pining after Maddy, but doesn't acknowledge it until the new romantic skating program is introduced and their coach tells him to fake it. Then he convinces himself the attraction will be gone after a week, because apparently he is never attracted to the same girl for longer then that, and when it doesn't he totally freaks out and it's just ridiculous and annoying. Even after finishing the book I didn't feel like he'd undergone any significant character growth. Definitely not enough to make me want to see him and Maddy together.

You've probably figured out by now that if I disliked Gabe this much, I definitely wasn't a fan of the romance. While Maddy and Gabe definitely had chemistry, I didn't find anything about their relationship cute or swoony. More like unhealthy, melodramatic, immature. Seriously. Gabe insists on keeping it a secret, Maddy goes along with it and then changes her mind and it's all DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA without any redeeming aspects to make the drama worth it. All I wanted was for Maddy to shin kick him (preferably with her ice skates on) and then skate off into the sunset by herself.

 photo tumblr_m80248TLLN1qazmn8o1_500_zps73f896b9.gif


The plot of this book was also a mess. There was just too much going on and the writing wasn't strong enough to pull it off. On top of the Maddy/Gabe romance drama, there was also a storyline with Maddy's family that dragged the book on way past a natural ending point which I found incredibly frustrating.

All in all this was just a frustrating read, one that I'd only recommend to those who enjoy romance without any substance.
Profile Image for Stacie (Shy Book Nerd).
389 reviews87 followers
March 20, 2017
Ugh, this was horrible! I really wished that I had liked this book as much as I wanted to. The back and forth drama between Gabe and Maddy was ridiculous and very immature. The way he kept telling Maddy that he was player would have been message enough, but he actually starts dating her and hiding her in plain view was horrible. I wish that Maddy would have gotten the hint that he's really not that into her, but no she kept running back to him. She's basically letting him know that it's okay to use her because she's just hot for him. That was a bad message right there. As if things weren't bad enough, Maddy assumes Gabe is talking to her Coach about using her. Didn't she stop to think that an adult would NEVER do that to a bunch of kids just to get to nationals?! I wanted to really knock some sense into her right there. So no, I did not like this book. It was full of mindless drama that wasn't necessary. I guess it was a bit too angsty for my tastes.
Profile Image for Jenn.
1,704 reviews286 followers
December 31, 2020
Umm.. so yeah, I wasn't a fan of this book. What I wanted was a swoony romance surrounded by ice skating. What I got was two people who were kind of horrible to each other and a bunch of whining.

Let me just say, I love ice skating. I grew up watching it in the Winter Olympics and just love the sport - watching it, not doing because I'm a horrible skater. So I was super excited to pick this one up. And that cover is just adorable. But as I kept reading, I found that I was just getting more and more annoyed with the characters and just wanted the book to end.

Maddy and Gabe have been skating partners and best friends since pretty much birth. But as they so often do, feelings get involved. First with Maddy. Over the years she's watched as Gabe treated women like shit. He'd go on a date, get what he wanted, then use Maddy to break up with them. And she just did it. But when she suddenly decides she's in love with him, she just throws herself at him and is all shocked when he's scared of relationships. It was painful to read. Like I am all for a woman going after what she wants, and if a girl is brave enough to ask out a guy, then go for it! But Maddy was...how do I put it, just sad. And she also kept flipping back and forth between the throwing herself at him to the I want nothing to do with him.

Gabe wasn't any better. He was just a sleez. No girl wants to be kept a secret. But that's all Gabe could give Maddy, a secret relationship. Where even in his mind, he accepted that he would be done with her in two weeks. I'm sorry but no. Nothing about him was swoony and I thought Maddy could do much better.

The author tried to add in other elements such as family drama and friend drama. But it all seemed superficial. Their two friends and skating partners were not very nice people either and they had a very toxic relationship. Then the family drama was almost added as an after thought because while it seemed serious, nothing really came of it. So I was just left going ... huh.

This was my final book of 2020 and I'm sad I didn't go out on a higher note.
Profile Image for Emma.
223 reviews37 followers
March 7, 2015
Ice skating. Romance. Two best friends destined to be with each other. Fear. Adrenaline. What could be better, I mean ice skating, c'mon that sounds like something you don't read every day. Am I hyping you up for this book, well this is what we were all like, including me for February's chosen book of The Reader's Lounge. It sparked interest, but sadly lacked potential.

Gabe and Maddy have been best friends, ice-skating partners and neighbours for as long as they can remember. Maddy has been Gabe's friend but she also has much deeper feelings for him, however Gabe has a hard time acknowledging his feelings when he knows he can have a girlfriend for two weeks before he gets bored. So when Igor, their coach tells them to do a new routine,coincidentally named of the classic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. When they they both have an opportunity to see, feel, touch what it's like to be in love through one of their sets and routines on the ice everything spirals out of control for the both of them. Whilst you had everything that creates a perfect winter romance, the potential was certainly there it just sadly lacked the follow through. I was disappointed, I really was, like I said before, the description, the cover sounded just what you needed, but I found myself very confuddled at the end of the book. It kept you wondering til the end but it wasn't necessarily a good wondering, it just left me feeling rather downhearted sadly.

Through a dual perspective, we see both Gabe and Maddy characters unfold. Gabe, how can you describe him, well has the red Viper, girls lining up to date him. He's the one night stand or the two-week relationship status. If I'm brutally honest, he's rather a plain and little boring in places, I hate to say. Gabe was quite an awkward to character to get to know, I felt that he way too literal and didn't really have that depth of character or emotion for us as readers to really get to know. Now Maddy, well, she is fearless, if she falls she gets back up, she is determined and passionate. I really liked Maddy in the beginning, she had potential, purpose on the ice, drive...but throughout the book, I felt her character was withering around edges, I felt she was changing and wasn't her true self and I don't know why I feel like that. I felt sorry for her.

As a relationship there were so many mixed messages from Gabe that I felt that their whole relationship or lack of during the book was so hot n' cold. It certainly felt like a reader whiplash of emotions as I wasn't sure what they were doing, or what Gabe was even thinking of. Everything a skater should be, on ice they are this perfect couple, off ice they really don't know what they are. I think what got me the most was the way Gabe was acting especially to their extra training, I felt that Maddy was totally being used and then the rest of the hours, Gabe brushes her off. I mean who does that if ultimately they really do feel for them. Whilst there was some great moments, I also felt that their were moments of YA bonded with NA, so in itself it's quite a unusual and trying novel to contend with.

As one of my anticipated reads of this year, the cover, the description sounded almost perfect, and this certainly did remind me of one of my favourite Rom-com films, Chalet Girl. But the difference is, the film is a brilliant, funny, toe-curling romance film you can snuggle into. It's sad to see a book for your club being a disappointment, but it's nice to see what we thought and we alike felt the same away about the book. Whilst it was a cute read, I think it really needed to be developed a lot more and the characters to really be thought out and fulfilled more.

Rating - (Undecided) 2.5-3

This review can be found on my blog
Profile Image for Tee loves Kyle Jacobson.
2,471 reviews169 followers
December 31, 2014
The Boy Next Door was such a cute read for me. I needed that laugh and smile because I was in a reading funk after reading a book that made me angry. The content was heavy and I just wanted to read something light hearted and fun. If you are looking for that then you have to read this story.

Maddy and Gabe are skating partners and best friends but Maddy has been keeping a secret from Gabe. She is in love with him and wants to be with him. To makes matter worse they have to ramp up the romance between them because their coach says it is needed in order to win. Maddy is excited but Gabe is scared to death. See Gabe does not do serious relationships but he knows there is something there between him and Maddy.

What will these two do? Will they fall in love or will they ruin their duet? I loved this book as it flowed smoothly and the romance built as time went on. They were not only best friends but skating partners so they saw each other everyday and shared so much together. Katie did a great job writing this story and I look forward to more from her.
Profile Image for Gelo Salinio.
187 reviews
September 23, 2015
I loved it! The plot was interesting in the book that's why I wanted to buy and read it, and to think there were actually some mature parts in the story (again never judge a book by it's cover). Maddy and Gabe's relationship was so rocky in the middle, it got quite confusing and then there's the misleading parts like Maddy's father and the skating program thing. But I must admit that I kinda fell for it unexpectedly and I love the happy epilogue it has. I really mark this as a 4 star rating since it is very nice to read and I would suggest others to try it out. :P
Profile Image for The Y.A. Bookworm Blogger.
175 reviews1,138 followers
January 24, 2015
I'm struggling between giving this book two or three stars...I have to admit that although I really loved the skating-world setting, I wasn't completely won over by the couple. The plot seemed to go in circles and the ending was a bit rushed and veryyyy cheesy (I'm not against cheesiness but there is good cheese and then there's meh cheese...I feel a bit meh about this one).
Profile Image for Brianna ☯.
209 reviews45 followers
December 13, 2014
4 Stars

I want to say in advance that this is an advanced readers copy, sent to me by Swoon Reads for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Video Review:

This December I was in the mood for a cute, swoon worthy, YA contemporary and this definitely satisfied my mood.

The Boy Next Door is about two best friends, Mad and Gabe, who love skating. They have skated together since childhood and have grown into very talented figure skaters. But, Mad holds a secret. She's been in love with Gabe forever, but Gabe isn't the dating type. Gabe has only dated girls for two weeks and then "dumped" them. Well, everything is about to get twisted when their coach gives them a new program that is, Romeo and Juliet. This has them touching and acting in ways they have never done. Were they meant to be together? On and off the ice?

Plot- I really enjoyed the premise of this book because it's not anything I've read before. Never in my life have I picked up a book about skating, and when reading this, I felt like a total dumbass. I didn't know not one thing the author referred to about skating. But, that obviously isn't what I want to talk about. This type of romance was very genuine. This plot sets up for a very fun and frustrating ride. The whole spiel about being fantastic partners, so why not try dating. But also the fear of losing their career if things go south, was frustrating and scary. I got so involved with this plot, because I was rooting for these outcomes to not destroy the characters and what they have. Time and time again relationships have been ruined for this very reason. Gabe and Mad have witnessed this in their best friends, Kate and Chris. So when the romance takes off it had me on edge and taking careful turns to the next page, always hoping nothing would happen. That. Is. How. Involved. I. Was. I can honestly say this plot had me wrapped up and all consumed. These are the type of YA contemporaries I enjoy.

Writing- The writing was the reason I docked a star. As much as I enjoyed the plot and characters, the writing was just to jumpy for me. It would be one scene and they would head out somewhere but we just got a description and then it would cut to another scene in the next sentence. The main problem were the transitions into the next or upcoming scenes.

I also understand this is YA so the sexual scenes wouldn't be as vivid as NA, but in this is wasn't up to paar. It was still cute and adorable but the one sentence we got that gave hence to the fact that they were having/done having sex was and then bam done. But hey, I wasn't complaining because I was expecting it.

Characters- From the jump I loved Gabe. He was just the type of male character I love. One who is really sweet down to the bones but had a kind of bad reputation. Gabe was the type of guy who would let know harm come to his best friend and that included himself. When things got started between Gabe and Mad, Gabe was very slow. He didn't want to push things and I loved that because he had to test the waters, and make sure there wasn't a chance he was going to muck everything up. Gabe was frustrating because his walls cracked and cracked but damn if his wall isn't strong as hell. It took him a light year to accept the fact that he only wanted Mad.

Mad was a very dedicated female. I loved that about her. She never took no for an answer. She would pursue things she wanted; on and off the ice. She gets that from her political dad. Mad was very enjoyable and fun to read about. It did get frustrating being in her head at points, too. Just because she was so insecure when it came to Gabe and his secrets/mixed signals, but I would to. Gabe just has that talent to confuse the hell out of someone.

Both of their families were eh to me. I liked them but I also didn't care for them. I was solely focused on our main characters.

I don't like when politics is included in novels, because it's so annoying and over bearing. So when I saw Mads dad was in politics I was hesitant, but it was a breeze to read. I just wasn't a huge fan of the publicity shoots.

Overall- I really enjoyed this one and would so be up for a companion of Chris and Kate, their best friends. The writing could be better, but I have faith that it can be fixed. Katie Van Ark has a knack for characters and getting me attached to them. I would recommend this book to fans of Stephanie Perkins and Huntley Fitzpatrick. I can assure you I'll be keeping up with Katie Van Ark!
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,395 reviews152 followers
December 19, 2014
Three and a half stars

Three and a half stars: A friends to lovers romance on ice.

Maddy is in love with the boy next door, but afraid to admit it. Not only is Gabe the boy next door, he is also her best friend and ice skating partner. Now as Maddy and Gabe prepare for this year's competitive season, their coach insists they must do a more romantic number. When Maddy and Gabe find out they are going to skate to Romeo and Juliet, everything changes. Will Maddy at last be able to proclaim her love for the boy next door?
What I Liked:
*There is nothing I like more than a romance that features a friends to lovers romance. I especially enjoyed the added twist of the couple being involved as a competitive figure skating team. It added a whole new layer of complications and trust to the relationship. If you are a fan of this type of romance, check out this book.
*Ice skating! I have long been a fan of ice skating, so I was eager to find that this book was all about ice skating. Ms. Van Ark knows her stuff and everything regarding the figure skating came across as realistic. If you are an ice skating enthusiast, I think you will enjoy this book. If you aren't familiar with the jumps and all of that you might be a tiny bit lost, but dive in anyway.
*I appreciated the strong familial presence in this book. Too often in YA books, the parents are absentee. Both Gabe and Maddy's parents are a big part of the story, and both sets of parents are involved with their children's lives. A big portion of the story revolves around some issues going on with Maddy and her parents.
*This story features dual narratives. You get both Gabe's and Maddie's perspectives. I am a huge fan of romances where you get both points of view as I love seeing how each person is feeling.
*Even though there was a bit more drama in the romance than I would have liked, I appreciated that this book refrained from love triangles and insta love.
*This book appears to be a stand alone. Everything resolves at the end with no cliffhangers or unanswered questions. I appreciated that I got a complete story and a satisfactory ending.
And The Not So Much:
*The romance was a tiny bit disappointing. I was expecting a light, fluffy read where the couple realizes their feelings toward the end. Instead Maddy and Gabe get together early on, but they keep it secret. What follows is a lot of unnecessary drama due to lack of communication and one of them is not happy about hiding the relationship. Even though I liked that the romance was founded on a life long friendship, I didn't like the issues that arose from not talking to one another. Maddy especially jumps to conclusions and causes herself needless heartache.
*There is a story line involving Maddy's parents. Her father is a senator up for election, and her parents appear to be having marital troubles. I liked that there was a twist regarding what was going on with Maddy's dad. I appreciated that the author took the story down a different path. What I didn't like was that her parents kept it hidden from her. They should have been up front with her from the get go.
*While I appreciated that there was a nice, neat happy ending, it felt like all the conflicts resolved quickly and easily. It felt like it was too easy in some cases, and I also felt like the ending was a bit rushed. I did like that there was an epilogue down the road, though.

The Boy Next Door is a pleasant, contemporary romance that features a lifelong friendship and skating partnership that turns into something more. I loved everything to do with figure skating and I enjoyed watching Maddy and Gabe grow. I was a tad bit disappointed that the romance had more drama and angst than I would have liked, but still it was a good read. If you are a fan of YA contemporary romances that feature friends to lovers, give this one a try.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.

Posted@Rainy Day Ramblings.

Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,119 reviews1,334 followers
January 30, 2015

The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. It had the perfect concoction of skating and best friends to lovers romance! How could I resist that? Plus, with that cute cover, there was no way that I was not going to be reading The Boy Next Door!

The Boy Next Door tells the story of Maddy and Gabe, figure skating partners and best friends. Maddy has been in love with Gabe for her whole life, but he is not one for relationship. The book is told in both Maddy and Gabe's relationship and both their characters worked really well for me. Maddy, especially, was very easy to connect with him. I think for me what made her so relateable was that there was nothing special about her other than her being a figure skater. She was a regular girl, like most of us are. There were times where she frustrated me a little, but that's because I wanted her to be happy and wanted her to strive for that happiness instead of being hungover by Gabe. Gabe, while not the most likeable male character, did manage to reach me from time to time. Not going to lie, for most of the book, I wanted to smack him in the head and push him to just be with Maddy because that's both of them wanted. I also got why he was so hesitant about a relationship more than friendship between them given there responsibilities as a figure skaters. I mean, can you even imagine the consequences if you're in a relationship with your partner and then break up? It would make things so awkward. But still, I really wanted him to let go and be with Maddy already for most of the book.

The romance in The Boy Next Door had its ups and downs. There are many obstacles that Gabe and Maddy face, but for some reason, they didn't bother me. The romance wasn't all angsty though, so fear not! There were some delightfully sweet moments between Maddy and Gabe, and I loved the comfort level that they had in their relationship. Also, kudos to Katie Van Ark for portraying a sex-positive relationship! The sex scene in this book was handled maturely and beautifully by the author. While my primary reason for reading The Boy Next Door might have been the cute romance, I was completely taken by the skating aspects of the book. See, I know absolutely nothing about figure skating, but I do enjoy watching it during the Olympics. This book was brimming with skating scenes and I felt like I learned so much about the sport. Throughout Maddie and Gabe's skating scenes, I was completely enthralled and you could tell that the author had experience because it's very much detailed. It made me want to read up more about figure skating and made me realize how much work you have to put into it.

The Boy Next Door was an endearing book that had me grinning throughout. Cute, charming, filled with swoony kisses and very much addictive, it's a book that's perfect for spending a warm day at the beach.
Profile Image for Fictional World Dreamer.
189 reviews66 followers
February 22, 2019
I was super excited to read The Boy Next Door. It sounded like a really cute story I mean who wouldn't want to read about a couple in high school who are ice skating partners, neighbors, and best friends??? I was all in on
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But to my surprise it just didn't work out for me. There was just too much teenage drama than I was expecting. Drama and secrets, holy crap lol. I'm usually ok with it but Maddy and Gabe just pushed it.  photo giphy 6_zps47cxbf8y.gif
Gabe, you made a lot of mistakes as far as I read. You definitely lacked the respect you should have had for Maddy and your actions towards her were just too much.
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Maddy, Maddy, Maddy. You were pretty cool at the beginning. But after a while you started to get under my skin.
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I was really looking forward to this book I hate that lost the feeling of the characters. Boo… the only part that I really loved was the skating-world it reminded me of when I use to skate and of course the movie “The cutting Edge”. It was an awesome movie; definitely check it out if you haven’t.
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Advance Readers Copy (ARC) provided for my blog for an honest review by the publisher via netgalley
This review is also posted hereCLICK HERE
Profile Image for Tati.
937 reviews85 followers
April 12, 2015
I'd like to thank NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

So, this is about ice skating. Do I enjoy watching ice skating? Yes. Do I know anything about it? No. I live in a tropical country, so ice skating is only a thing whenever there is a Winter Olympics. This means that I know next to nothing about triple Axels, throws and all that. Because of this, all that ice skating lingo left me a little lost. And the fact that Mad and Gabe kept using ice-related expression was, for me, taking things a bt too far. I mean, would an ice skater seriously convert "hook, line and sinker" into "blade, something and laces?"

As for the relationships, boy, it was a bit slow going. And the conflicted character was Gabe. There were times when he thought as a girl, he overthought things to much.

Overall, it was a nice, cute read, but it did drag at some points.
Profile Image for Jasmine Pearl Reads.
157 reviews115 followers
May 24, 2015
Book: The Boy Next Door
Author: Katie Van Ark
Finished Reading: May 23, 2015


Ice-skating. This was so cool! Literally COOL!
Best friend romance.

The story line was quite confusing. I just felt MEH. :(
The ENDING. :( It didn't work for me.

I loved the fact that their names are Maddy and Gabe. They're unique. I don't want to dislike this book but I don't know how to love it either.

There were some cheesy moments that really appealed to me. Some of them just didn't. :(

I'm still thinking on how to review this book without too much rants. Maybe I'll reread this soon.

Overall, this was an OKAY read for me.

Profile Image for Molly Blue.
187 reviews17 followers
July 3, 2018
Flat and uninspired. The conflict is there for no reason, it all could be resolved in the first chapter. The premise could be good, though. I have a weakness for ice-skating related romances.
Profile Image for Christine Alibutud.
497 reviews84 followers
January 17, 2015
"Because I know what love is now. Love is an intricate filigree band. Complicated but beautiful...

...Love is three diamonds. For past, present, and future. Love is never giving up even through the Great Depression and two world wars."


Personally, I didn't love this one as much as I thought I would, but nevertheless, The Boy Next Door was still a very cute and sweet read. Around 58 chapters, I would've preferred the pacing to be done faster, because there were several times I thought the story would already come off as draggy. I personally love the concept of bestfriends-turned-lovers, but I thought that the blossoming relationship between Maddy and Gabe was too much slowly built up. I did like that each chapter wasn't that long, but it bothers me how it still seemed that the pacing was too slow for my liking. Aside from those issues I had, I'd still consider this an enjoyable read, especially because it also showed the real bond between Gabe and Maddy. I really appreciated how the author also included how they started their friendship, and several moments from their childhood.

Remember how chickenshit I was our first time? Wouldn’t even take one step without you. And the tree? You know how I feel about you.

I’m so afraid of falling I can’t even say it out loud yet but I’m writing it here. I want you to be my girlfriend. If you’ll come back and hold my hand, I’m ready for one baby step at a time.

Yours, Gabe"


Aside from friendship and romance, I also loved the incorporation of the essence of familial ties. I admired seeing both Gabe and Maddy close with their families, and at the same time, their families close to each other. I also found their Saturday tradition very engaging.
"I love you, Madelyn Spier. I am hopelessly, endlessly, head over skates in love with you."


Of course, my favorite part would have to be the sweet moments between Gabe and Maddy. It's so nice seeing their passion for skating, as well as their passion for each other. I also enjoyed seeing Gabe come out of his fears in professing his love to Maddy to their families and friends.
"I don’t think William Shakespeare himself had enough words to describe what she means to me."

On the other hand, I also loved how Maddy continued to encourage Gabe to step out of his shell, and how she continued to pursue her love for him even if Gabe felt hesitant.
"Nothing says “I love you” like breaking your arm to stop someone else’s fall and I’ve waited thirteen years already, haven’t I?"

Although I can't exactly say I loved this one, I still can't wait for Katie Van Ark's upcoming works!

3.5 stars!
"Fighting a fall only hurts worse. Just let go.

Profile Image for Ashley (Loves Books).
239 reviews46 followers
January 19, 2015
**This review will post to Ashley Loves Books at a later date.**

So far I’ve read two of Swoon Reads’ books, and let me tell ya: they are definitely living up to their name! Maddie and Gabe’s story is filled with moments that stole my breathe and made me swoon so hard I actually put my hand over my heart at one point.

I’ll admit that I was shocked this got so…graphic. It’s not lewd or anything, but it’s…they go there. You know. IT. And I was kind of shocked! I don’t mind it, I found it to be quite fitting of the story and done very tastefully. Mostly I’m glad it’s there, because sex in teenagers is a very real thing. And regardless if I agree or disagree with it, I like that this one came with the knowledge that it happens, that it can happen, that some people don’t wait, and that some people do. It’s very real in that sense.

I’ve mentioned on here a few times how obsessed I am with figure skating, but I’ll say it again: I am OBSESSED with figure skating. Seriously. I watch it any chance I get—and not just during the winter Olympics. I used to have a poster of Nancy Kerrigan on my wall when I was younger, and I still have a deep-seeded hatred for Tonya Harding. So I definitely loved the setting and setup to this novel! Figure skating, especially pairs and ice dancing, are incredibly romantic at the core. The fluid movement, the trust in another, how close and emotionally charged everything is…this is all the makings for some serious swoonage.

Maddie annoyed me. Dear God. I wanted to push her so many times and tell her to stop flip-flopping between certain things and just…go for it. She was a bit of a strange mix of strength and indecision…and it’s not that it isn’t realistic, but something about it bugged me. Between the pair of them, Gabriel was my favourite by a long shot. He was a typical guy, and you kind of hated him in the beginning with his revolving spin of girls…but then you come around to him. And that was nice.

As always, I liked the element of family in here and how much it influenced Maddie and Gabe. How it was a reason they were who they were, and how it’s a reason they have so many cracks and fissures, too. I was a little nervous knowing Maddie’s father is a politician and how that would be portrayed (government and politics makes me nervous in novels, for personal reasons), but it actually was handled very little and quite well. Supportive families are wonderful in YA books, and this one was done right: supportive and kind, with lives of their own and problems to take care of. None of it diminished any of the other areas, and that was fantastic.

If a reader wants a fun romance with serious swoonage and heart stopping moments, The Boy Next Door is the perfect read. While I wasn’t entirely into the female MC, everything else was so wonderfully realistic and real that I can overlook her.

4 stars
Profile Image for IzamaRi H. Fabela.
749 reviews83 followers
December 5, 2016

RESEÑA COMPLETA ➜ https://goo.gl/sktKxv

Desde que Maddy tenía cinco años supo que toda la vida iba a patinar con Gabe. Para ella no existe futuro sin el chico que ha hecho tanto por ella y del que poco a poco se ha ido enamorando. Pero hay un pequeño problema que se cruza entre ellos y es que Gabe fuera de la pista de patinaje es todo un rompecorazones que sólo dura dos semanas con una chica antes de pasar a la otra.

Maddy sabe que tendrá que esforzarse mucho para que Gabe deje de verla como una hermanita y se decida a salir con ella y como si el destino fuera su aliado, las cosas están por cambiar pues dejaran de hacer coreografías infantiles para por primera vez representar una historia de amor en la pista de hielo.

Gabe no está tan feliz con este cambio sobre todo porque lleva un buen rato tratando de dejar de tener pensamientos obscenos con Maddy, pero a fin de cuentas tendrá que aceptar si quiere llegar a ganar una medalla en el Mundial. El problema viene cuando sus centimitos se salen de la pista y comienza a pensar en Maddy más de la cuenta y cuando la chica se le insinúa no pierde la oportunidad de tener algo con ella pero después de años de sólo aventuras de dos semanas, no tiene ni la menor idea de cómo llevar una relación formal, así que ahora no solo tiene la presión de ganar sino que también tendrá que aprender cómo ser novio de Maddy.
El problema es la caída, sino lo que tu haces después de caer.
Lo primero que tengo que decirles de este libro es que de verdad disfrute mucho a su protagonista, lo cual me sorprendió y mucho pues ya no es secreto para nadie que tiendo a odiar a las protagonistas adolescentes, pero Maddy me agrado pues a pesar de ser una adolescente llena de inseguridades y cambios de humor, también es una adolescente que decidida que sabe perfectamente quien es y lo que quiere y no descansará hasta lograrlo. Es realmente bueno ver que no en todos los libros adolescentes la protagonista es una completa descerebrada...

RESEÑA COMPLETA ➜ https://goo.gl/sktKxv
Profile Image for Pili.
1,162 reviews216 followers
February 25, 2015
The Boy Next Door was February's book for the Reader's Lounge (the book club I'm part of) and even though I started following pace, I ended up finishing it too fast because I needed to know what happened!

I found it a fun and quick read, that kept me turning the pages because I wanted to know when Gabe would finally get his shit together, and what was going on with Maddy's dad!

I absolutely adored everything that was about ice skating in this book, the training, the choosing of a new program with the choreography and the music. I've always loved watching ice skating (even if I cannot skate on ice or otherwise to save my life) and I know all the terms pretty well, so it was super easy to follow those parts of the book, and I feel I was as excited as Maddy to try for the triple Axel!

The relationship between Maddy and Gabe was alternatively sweet and frustrating for me. I liked that Maddy was proactive and knew what she wanted, but I really was irritated that Gabe kept on going on the secret thing and she went along with it. I was glad to have Gabe's POV because it kept me from wanting to punch him, because I could see how torn he was and how he thought he wasn't good enough for Maddy.

If the book would have only been about the skating and their relationship, it would have been enough, but then we had some added drama with Maddy's dad, and I feel like it was too much. It's also quite puzzling that give my line of work, I didn't guess what was going on at all!

What I really liked was that despite the drama and the hot and cold, both sounded like rather real teenagers, and I'm glad that the book was very sex positive, presented as something natural and showing how important consent and being sure about what you want is.

Not so in love with this one as I was with January's book, but very much worth the read for all the the ice skating bits! 3 to 3.5 stars to this one!
Profile Image for Kathy Martin.
3,337 reviews73 followers
December 20, 2014
This was an excellent romance with a strong helping of figure skating. Maddy has been in love with the boy next door - and her skating partner - since she was a pre-schooler. They have been pairs skating since that time. But now they are seventeen and, while Maddy would like them to be boyfriend-girlfriend, Gabe is reluctant. He has never had a relationship that has lasted more than two weeks. He's afraid that if he starts something with Maddy he will wreck their lifelong friendship and their skating partnership. After all, their best friends at the rink got romantic and now they spend at least half their time fighting with each other.

Besides relationship pressures, Gabe and Maddy are also qualifying to compete in Senior Nationals and skating to Romeo and Juliet - there couldn't be worse music for a guy who's afraid to fall in love with his partner. And, to put even more pressure on Maddy, her father who is a senator has become distant and is not coming home to her and her mother in Kansas as often as he used to. Maddy is afraid that he is having an affair.

I loved that the chapters were told in alternate viewpoints so that we could see what both Maddy and Gabe were thinking and feeling. Of course, I saw early on why Gabe couldn't be with a girl for more than two weeks. He was in love with Maddy and no one else could measure up. It took him quite a while and a serious skating accident before he finally figured it out.

I fell in love with both characters and loved reading their story.
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