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A Short History of the Girl Next Door

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Equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, this unrequited-love story will appeal to fans of Jennifer Niven, John Green, and Jesse Andrews.

Seriously, how can you see a person nearly every day of your life and never think a thing of it, then all of a sudden, one day, it's different? You see that goofy grin a thousand times and just laugh. But goofy grin #1,001 nearly stops your heart?

Right. That sounds like a bad movie already.

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 JV basketball 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 pissed-off 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, on the verge of spiraling out of control and 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.

"This story broke my heart and made me laugh and gave me hope--and really, what more can you ask of a book than that? I loved it, and I have a feeling you will too." --Jennifer E. Smith, author of Windfall and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

"In the blink of an eye, A Short History of the Girl Next Door goes from hilarious to haunting to harrowing to heartbreaking to hopeful and back." --Jeff Zentner, award-winning author of The Serpent King and Goodbye Days

"Sharp, smart, and unforgettable." --Kate Hattemer, critically acclaimed author of The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy and The Land of 10,000 Madonnas

"A powerful novel about first love, the intimacy of childhood friendships, and moving forward from loss." --Publishers Weekly

"Pair this with other novels that explore loss from a male perspective, such as Jeff Zentner's Goodbye Days or Adam Silvera's History Is All You Left Me." --Booklist

"Reck gives subtlety and depth to Matt, so he's believable as a flawed guy negotiating his way through his feelings for Tabby as well as his social status in school, his ideas of masculinity, and his insecurities." --The Bulletin

"Recommend this to readers who enjoyed Steven Levenson's Dear Evan Hansen." --VOYA

272 pages, Paperback

First published September 26, 2017

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About the author

Jared Reck

2 books202 followers
Jared Reck is the author of DONUTS AND OTHER PROCLAMATIONS OF LOVE and A SHORT HISTORY OF THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. He teaches 8th grade Language Arts, where he has been reading awesome books and writing alongside his students for more than fifteen years. He lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two daughters.
Learn more about Jared at jaredreckbooks.com and follow him on Twitter @reckj.

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5 stars
1,910 (29%)
4 stars
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3 stars
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144 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,247 reviews
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,560 reviews5,816 followers
November 12, 2017
This is one that I have no clue how to rate.


I do have to admit that part of it may be the fact that I was stupid enough to read some reviews before I read this one and I got spoiled. DON'T DO THAT. This one has to be read without knowing anything about the plot twists.
I also probably would have given this a million stars if I had read it a few years ago.

Why didn't I? It felt too short and choppy. I felt like it tried TOO hard with the readers emotions without giving us enough about the characters.

I still read it in one sitting and would recommend it. Call your bestie afterwards and share some Nerds.


Booksource: From Publisher in exchange for review.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,429 reviews29.4k followers
September 8, 2020
4.5 stars, rounded up.

A Short History of the Girl Next Door is a familiar yet immensely enjoyable story.

Tabby was Matt’s first friend. Since they were a little older than babies, she has been a part of his life and she features in all of his favorite—and sometimes, most embarrassing—memories. She’s truly a part of his family, and they all agree.

Even though she’s always been like a sister to him, now that they’re freshmen in high school, Matt is starting to realize his feelings for Tabby aren’t quite brotherly. But he’s not at all good at expressing his feelings, so all he can do is watch as she’s swept off her feet by Liam, a handsome senior (and a nice guy at that).

While he should be happy that Tabby still values their friendship and she still tries to be part of his life and his family’s traditions, of course, he’d rather have her as his girlfriend. But watching her be happy with Liam is hard, and of course, one night Matt and Tabby say things they shouldn’t, things which could potentially damage their friendship forever.

When something unexpected happens, Matt doesn’t know what to do or how to react. So he does the only thing he can and he tries to destroy everyone and everything, not really realizing what is at stake.

I picked this book up while randomly browsing at a bookstore. (Remember what it was like to do that?) I knew nothing about it but I just was intrigued when I saw the cover. But I loved this story.

So many of us have had unrequited feelings for a best friend, feelings that crush us. This book so perfectly captured the way that feels, and the emotions which occur when your feelings aren’t reciprocated. This is a sometimes-silly, sometimes-serious story that I was really surprised by, and Jared Reck did such a great job telling this story and getting you hooked on his characters.

So good!!

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,844 reviews34.9k followers
October 1, 2018
Young Adult book..
This was the first time I ever read a book from my iPhone.

From my Kindle app...I read this sweet coming of age - quick read -heartbreaker...last week while coming & going.... standing in line at the post office ...the dentist office ...hair appt. ...and other ‘waiting’ type moments...
It kept me company. This slim book was about a boy who loves a girl - and basketball- but definitely more than either ...
more than a love story.
Teen books have a depth of honesty today that is valuable in our modern complex world. I’m inspired by many... including this one.

Profile Image for *TANYA*.
1,002 reviews280 followers
November 13, 2017
Grab your tissues!!! A truly a fantastic book!! Going into it figured I’d read another cute young adult book, I was WRONG!! I was completely blown away, COMPLETELY!! The thoughts that went through Matt’s head were honest, vivid, endearing, candid, and raw. Loved it!!! This review isn’t doing any justice to this book, a must read!!
Profile Image for Laura.
555 reviews199 followers
April 26, 2016
I may be biased, as I am his literary agent...but I could not stop laughing and crying and hugging my laptop, because this book is that great.
Profile Image for ♛ may.
801 reviews3,765 followers
August 17, 2019
OKAY I THOUGHT THIS WAS GOING TO BE A SMOL, CUTE, CLICHED LOVE STORY BUT OUFT WAS I WRONG

i literally only picked this up bc i was so consumed with the other heavy books i was reading that i needed something light

and this did provide a light, easy, funny story.......until i reached the halfway point.

i think this book expressed SUCH a profound, deep, intimate level of grief that we often don't get to explore in books. it's the ugly, selfish side to grief, the one that makes us irrational and mean and possessive and i think the portrayal was so REAL.

there's something so charming and personal about this book. it's like reading the diary of a teenage boy, all cussing and dumb jokes included.

it was funny and sweet and mean and so so so sad but i think that's what made it a really beautiful. the way it worked through grief and pain and loss was done so excellently, there was no 'love-saves-all' THANK GOODNESS

and the relationship between matty and his family was so absolutely precious. his parents, his grandparents, and HIS LITTLE BROTHER OMG i want to adopt sweet little murray 🤧🤧 i love love love seeing parent who are INVOLVED in their children's life fdlkajfla THANK YOU FOR THIS REP

this isn't a book for everyone. it's not something i would reach for, if i knew a deep background of the story, but im also really glad i picked it up.
Profile Image for Suzzie.
906 reviews164 followers
October 2, 2017
Quick read that is funny and very emotional. The bitterness of unrequited love does not escape any of us does it? Really this story can be described in three words: beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking.
Profile Image for Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd).
1,123 reviews245 followers
January 17, 2018
“It’s our memories that make us who we are - those moments that for whatever reason, big or small, stick in our brains, that make up our stories.”

Well, that was a bit disappointing. I was excited for this book because it has all the makings of things I love in contemporaries: friendship, crushes, lots of cute moments, but this just did not work out for me. A Short History of the Girl Next Door follows basketball obsessed freshman Matty as he deals with secretly loving his best friend Tabby, as she catches the eye of Liam Branson, a senior star basketball player and all around good guy.

Things I Liked
These are small and irrelevant to the overall story, but I love the cover - it’s beautiful and is what drew me to this book, and I really liked the chapter titles. I feel like chapter titles are underappreciated, but it’s always something extra that I like.

I also appreciated the short chapters, it made the story really easy to read even after I started losing interest.

I liked Matty as a narrator. It was easy to connect with him and see things from his point-of-view, which is important.

Things I Didn’t Like
I had a BIG problem with the romance between Tabby and Liam. I don’t like the age difference at all. A senior and a freshman are in such different places in their lives and maturity levels. Also, we see ZERO development for the relationship. They're basically thrown together off page, and we're told they're the school's golden couple.

I didn’t like the locker room scene. I didn’t like that neither Liam or Matty shut down what their teammates were saying about Tabby. In the next scene Matty thinks about what he could have done differently, but those guy’s actions weren’t called out on the page. Pretty poor response from a best friend, and a potential love interest.

Tabby was completely fridged to cause Matty man pain. She became a plot device, not a person, and it really bothered me.

I also didn’t like how grief was dealt with in the story. Everyone, from his parents, to teachers, to his other friends, really ignored Matty’s grief in losing his best friend. He was angry and hurt and in pain, acting out and minimizing the grief in those around him. I liked showing that grief can manifest in anger, but I didn't like everyone else's response. Everyone at school propping Liam up and ignoring a lifelong friendship that Matty lost pissed me off. I also kinda hated how Matty’s mom told him to “fake it till you make it” until he gets happy again, because he’s not the only one who lost someone. Yes he shouldn’t lash out and be mean to those around him, but telling him to pretend to be happy until he gets over it is awful.

There was just so many things that I didn’t like that kept adding up and made the overall experience a pretty big let down. I’m just kinda sad because I really wanted to like this. Hopefully this doesn’t put me in a reading slump.

I received a copy of the book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,632 reviews448 followers
November 29, 2017
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This book really got to me. I mean there were tears with this one. Real tears! I almost never shed tears over books but this one got through my shield. I didn't really know a lot about this book going in. I saw the book offered on Blogging for Books and decided to give it a try without reading any reviews for it. I ended up really enjoying Matt's story.

Matt and Tabby have always been together. Tabby lives just across the street from Matt and they have really grown up together. Matt's mom watched Tabby while her dad worked since she was an infant. They are really almost like family. Except they are not family and Matt is not thinking of Tabby like a sister at all.

Matt doesn't know what to think when Tabby starts handing out with Liam, a cool senior. Tabby is only a freshman. Matt really doesn't know how to handle this new development. Suddenly Tabby has other places to be even though she still makes some time for Matt and his family.

I really liked the characters in this book. They all felt so very real to me. Being a teenager is tough and I think that this group of characters did a fantastic job at really illustrating the emotional ups and downs in their lives. I also liked the adult characters in this book. I thought that they were very supportive. Sometimes that support was shown by remaining silent and other times speaking up.

This book really did put me through a wide range of emotions and it did it well. I thought some parts were rather comical while others broke my heart. Some parts made me uncomfortable and other made me fondly remember my own childhood. This story really packs quite the punch.

I would recommend this book to others. I would recommend that other readers go into this book as blindly as possible since some spoilers could really lessen the book's impact. This is Jared Reck's debut novel and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

I received a review copy of this book from Knopf Books for Young Readers via Blogging for Books.

Initial Thoughts
Dang...those may have been real tears.
Profile Image for Laura.
1,350 reviews199 followers
August 21, 2017

“There’s a fine line between laughter and pain. And I think, sometimes, it’s the only thing you can do with your pain. Sometimes things suck so bad that you just have to laugh at it.”

A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck is a sweet, hilarious, emotional read. A book that introduces readers to a full cast of characters you can’t help but fall in love with. They all made me laugh and tear up. But Matt. *places hand over heart* You have to meet Matty.

Matt Wainwright has such a sweet, awkward, laugh-out-loud voice. He’s sweet as hell one minute, sweet purely by accident the next, and smack-em-upside-the head stupid the one after that. Boys! :D Matt is a fifteen year old boy trying to find his way in the world. His life revolves around basketball, his family, his farting best friend--Trip, and his love for the girl next door. Tabby, Tabby, Tabby! Matt and Tabby grew up together. Their days and holidays and memories are woven together so completely. For Matt, it wouldn’t feel like Halloween without Tabby and her huge Nerds addiction. None of the holidays would feel right without her. But can Matt risk his friendship for something more with Tabby? Can he find the words to even tell her how he feels?

I loved how Mr. Reck captured Matt’s feelings for Tabby on the page. Matt’s voice was so simple and real and relatable. It will ring true with readers of all ages. You can feel how desperate Matt is about his feelings for Tabby in the hilarious scenarios that run through his head. How does he keep such huge emotions inside!? But at the same time, how does he get those huge feelings out there for Tabby to see? You will feel his pain. Especially when a new guy enters the picture causing all sorts of waves and awkwardness in Tabby and Matt’s friendship. Can their friendship survive the changes? Did Matt miss his shot? This book holds one of the sweetest apologies/declarations of love involving Nerds ever written! :D Sometimes the simple things in life become huge in love. And Matt spells it all out perfectly in laughs and pain. Like how he wants and needs Tabby to see him hit a baseball or sit next to him on the bus. *sigh* Matt’s journey will make your heart ache. A journey that shows how life can change in an instant.

I hope you meet Matt, Tabby, and the whole Wainwright family. Their story is sure to touch your heart. A story full of love, loss, Candy Land, Nerds, stuffing (“stuffing boners”—hehe…), and gravy. Lots of gravy!

Hold on to your heart and have a box of tissues at the ready.

Recommended.

**Quote taken from ARC**
Profile Image for Taylor.
372 reviews130 followers
January 3, 2018
"I don't know what the point of all this is...there are times where there can't possibly be a point. Others, it's like the stars have lined themselves up just for you...I decided, however long I get, if I can spend time with the people I love, I don't really care what the point is."

This book sucker-punched me right in the feels and brought me back to a very vivid time in my life. The writing is real and raw and worthy of your time. Full RTC.
Profile Image for Samantha (WLABB).
3,326 reviews231 followers
October 21, 2017
This heartfelt and funny story of love, friendship, and family broke my heart, but was terribly lovely. I have a physical book hangover from all the crying, but I loved all the moments I shared with Matt.

I finished this book back in September, but I still don't think I will be able to properly articulate how wonderful and painful this book was. This book was such a gut punch, I actually suggested that the book was written by Jared WReck, because he wrecked my heart! My feelings about this book in a gif:



This ARC had an introductory letter written by an editor from Knopf, and she dead on nailed my reactions during this book when she said, "I became a puddle - wiping away tears of laughter on my subway commute, and weeping into my mug of tea at the office as I read the final pages." It was a very emotional read for me, but it was funny and beautiful too.

Seriously, take a look at my updates:



I would like to start with Matt, because this was his story to tell. I loved Matt. He was such a guy, but he would also play Candy Land with his little brother, while doing voices for all the characters. His voice was authentic and real to me, and his emotions were, at times, quite raw. He made me laugh, and he broke my heart. I liked that he loved so fiercely, and could recognize when he might have wrong. As Tabby's relationship with Branson grew, I could feel Matt's heartache and pain through the pages as he counting down to his friendship with Tabby changing forever. I just wanted to give him the biggest, longest hug I could.

Matt and Tabby shared such a long history. She may not have been a blood-related member of his family, but she was theirs. I thought it was such a special touch that so many of their childhood memories are shared with us. From their first sleepover to when Matt first fell for Tabby. It just amplified how painful the changes in their friendship were, but also solidified how special their friendship was.

Another really special thing about this book was Matt's family. From his mom, the "arts-and-crafts Jedi" to his big hearted grandfather, I adored just about every interaction he had with them. The love they felt for each other was so obvious, and so was the pain they felt for Matt as he was dealing with his out of control emotions. There was this part in the book, where Matt was spending time with his grandparents, an intervention of sorts, and the conversations they shared were so heartfelt and lovely. I was happy Matt had them to help him sort himself out.

One of my favorite parts was when Matt was trying to tell Tabby how special she was to him. He talks about sorting his candy after trick-or-treating. How there was a clear hierarchy, where candy bars ranked the highest, and raisins were the lowest. However, Nerds were outside the hierarchy, because their love for Nerds was so vast and no other candy could quite measure up to the greatness that was Nerds. He goes on to say:


"You're the Nerds, Tabby."

Yeah, I sort of sobbed after that. Terribly sweet.

This book was an emotional rollercoaster. I still cry when I talk about it, so I was obviously deeply affected by the story of first love, first heartbreak, love, and loss. I found this to be a solid debut and I look forward to reading more stories from Reck.

**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book. Quotes are from an ARC and may change upon publication.
Profile Image for Atlas.
667 reviews27 followers
May 3, 2018
Seriously, how can you see a person nearly every day of your life and never think a thing of it, then all of a sudden, one day, it's different?

* * * * 
4 / 5


A Short History of the Girl Next Door ripped out my poor unsuspecting heart and stomped all over it. I was expecting a slightly cliche novel that either follows movie plotlines and the nerdy guy gets the girl after other guys treat her like dirt, or one where the guy is all angsty but then finally makes peace with his unreturned feelings. Instead I got a totally novel and bold book that features an honest and heartbreaking portrayal of unrequited love (and loads of basketball!).

Matt Wainwright has two main problems. The first is that he wants to make varsity basketball but keeps losing his focus and his temper on the court; now his chances aren't looking that great despite his religious practice regime. The second is that he is desperately in love with the girl over the road that he has known since childhood, Tabby, who in turn seems to be falling for Liam Branson, senior and all around great guy. Matt even thinks he's great, which is even more infuriating to him because how is he going to get a chance now?

And what good does it do me to agonise over Liam Branson?

I found Matt super-relatable. He's got a sweet relationship with his baby brother, Murray, loves basketball, gets on well with his family and particularly his adorable grandparents, and is pining for his childhood friend (been there, done that). He's definitely flawed. He engages in locker room talk, isn't the greatest friend to Tabby at times, is angry and bitter but also he really, really tries to make things right. He's funny and tries really hard in English class and recognises when he makes bad decisions.

The first half of the book is typical high school stuff. Then there's this massive, steamroller of a plot twist. I had a few ideas about what might happen, but I really didn't expect it. No spoilers here, but prepare to bust the tissues out.

"I love you too." I know we're saying two different things, that her words don't mean the same as mine

There were only a couple of things that I didn't like that much. First off, Tabby and Liam's relationship doesn't get that much development, though this is understandable as we are viewing everything through Matt's eyes. I'm not particularly familiar with American terms, but Tabby is a junior and Liam a senior, and it seems that Reck explicitly highlights their age difference but never really does anything with it? I thought for sure it would be a plot point, but it isn't so why not just make them both the same age? And there's a fair chunk of guys trash-talking women.

This book is primarily about emotional pain, but it was also full of love: Matt and his family were particularly delightful. A Short History of the Girl Next Door was raw and relatable and really tugged at my heartstrings.

My thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an ARC of this book.

Read this review and more on my blog: https://atlasrisingbooks.wordpress.co...
Profile Image for Jamie.
46 reviews4 followers
October 1, 2017
I give this book five stars and all my tears.
Profile Image for Ren (A Bookish Balance).
796 reviews92 followers
May 25, 2021
May 24, 2021
4/5 stars

I lost someone very near and dear to my heart about a year after I read this book for the first time, and it ended up being a story I thought about a lot after their passing. There are some messages in ASHOTGND that really stuck with me and that really helped me cope with my loss and for that I'll always be grateful.

This second time around I had a much more difficult time getting into the story, and it wasn't until about the halfway point that I really became invested. I couldn't relate as much to Matt in the first half of the story (it's so weird how much can change in four years, isn't it?), but the second half was so compelling. I do wish we had gotten more character development from any character other than Matt though, and the jokes didn't seem to land this time around.


September 26, 2017
4.75/5 stars

The Short History of the Girl Next Door was my most anticipated release of 2017, and I am very happy to say that it did not disappoint. Sometimes you just know a book is going to be special. We follow a 15-year-old boy named Matt who is in love with his neighbour and best friend Tabby. Unfortunately for Matt, Tabby's caught the eye of a very popular senior, Liam Branson. While I like the synopsis Goodreads has on the website, I highly recommend not reading the one on the book (spoilers!).

I was able to relate to Matt in ways I don't usually relate to main characters. For one thing, Matt has a very hard time speaking his feelings. Whenever he's placed in a situation where there's a lot that should be said, he has such a hard time expressing his feelings and ends up not saying anything at all. Matt is also an over-thinker, he lets his thoughts get in the way, and replays situations or thinks a lot about how he wanted situations to play out. I was amazed by how similar his thought-processes were to my own. Matt is self-conscious and is seriously lacking in self-esteem, making him feel like one of the most realistic teenagers I've ever read. He also gets big points in my book for making a conscious effort to try and put Tabby's happiness first and not get in the way of her relationship. This meant so much to me, it's not often we're in the head of "the other guy" and I really think he did his part right.

This book is also fantastic in it's portrayal of family life. Matt has a lot of struggles he needs to overcome and his family plays a crucial role in helping him deal with his problems. There is a lot of complaint when it comes to YA about the lack of presence of parents/adults, but this is absolutely not an issue with ASHOTGND. Matt's mom, in particular, is one of the most honest and most real characters of the novel. I also adored the interactions between Matt, Tabby, and Murray (Matt's younger brother), they were so cute and so sweet.

This book made me laugh (it's not easy to make me laugh with books) and it made me cry (like hardcore ugly cry) and so I really have a hard time believing this is a debut novel. I will now pick up ANYTHING Jared Reck writes.
Profile Image for Mandy.
636 reviews65 followers
September 13, 2017
Well, I cried, so well done, book, well done. You made a non book crier shed a few tears because you hit so ridiculously hard in the feels.

Only issue I had with this book: the slow beginning. Had I not known that there was going to a bit kind of twist that had me laughing one minute to crying to another, this book might have been another kind of rating. Don't get me wrong: the beginning was enjoyable, and it is the perfect way to set up the story. However, it felt...well, a little too contemporary at times, meaning just too much everyday. And I was feeling eh. However, that is literally the only complaint I have about the book.

What I did enjoy was a lot more of this book. There were so many different categories where it wins, but where it shines the most is emotional depth, characterization, and its realness. Jared Reck has a bright and promising career in YA fiction if this is just his debut work, because I'll certainly be picking up any of his next few books.

Let's talk about the characters, first. I loved Matt and Tripp and Tabby. I even loved the secondary characters. Grampa and Murray killed me, and even the lovable teachers and Matt's parents were amazingly done. I've not had a cast of characters this richly developed in a long time. The best part: while they interesting and different, they were also wonderfully real. They were so realistic that they felt that they could be people I know and not just these imaginary people that an author made up for fun. Matt was such an amazing character. He was heartfelt, had his share of flaws, and honest in his hurt, jealousy, and more. More than several times, I sat there and said, I would totally react that way. So relatable. And it's so easy to see how Matt fell in love with Tabby. Such a sweetheart.

The plot was interesting. Obviously, we're getting a few different things. We're getting Matt in love with his best friend, trying to adjust to life as a rising basketball star, and a newcomer in his relationship with Tabby. Then comes along a giant twist that took this book in a whole different reaction. I had a few guesses at what the plot would eventually be, but things still took me by surprise, and I found myself absolutely astounded at where Reck took it. It was brilliant (even though I had misty eyes for a ridiculously long time - thanks there, Mr. Reck D:).

Obviously, emotional depth was key to this story, and Reck does it well. I don't cry in books. I've read books that people said that they've sobbed over, and I sat there as dried eyes as the desert. This book...this book gave me some majorly watery eyes, and I kind of hate it a bit because it ruined my heartless book reading skills. Wow, this packed an emotional punch, and it ruined my feels for a bit because it totally killed them.

Overall, this was a wonderfully done book that was skilled in so many ways. It has so much heart and emotion that I can't even deal. Its characters are brilliant and real, and it twists and turns on you. The only issue was the slow beginning, but once you get past that, it's wonderful. Four brilliant stars for this book (so, so close to being a 4.5), and an Anna rating for the laughs and Tabby's red hair (and because I totally pictured Tabby as Anna, just saying)!
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,430 reviews898 followers
Read
September 19, 2017
Finally finished this!

As I said in a reading update, I am usually all about the quiet, character-driven contemporary stories. But for a good amount of time reading this, I thought it might be too quiet for me.
Matt is secretly in love with his neighbor, Tabby. They've been friends for years, and suddenly she's dating an upperclassman and he's feeling jealous and unsettled. Matt also loves basketball and dreams of making the varsity team.

A huge part of the book is just slice-of-life, with Matt pining and going to school and playing basketball.

Then about ⅔ (maybe?) through the book, there's a pretty unexpected twist. I don't want to say more, but it completely took me by surprise and then the book went in a really different direction. And I'm not sure how I felt about it.

What I loved most about this book were the small details, like the basketball stories and Matt's relationship with his completely awesome English teacher. In the end, it was not entirely my kind of book, but I think many will love it.

Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com or check out my Bookstagram!

I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher for possible review.
Profile Image for Maria.
561 reviews356 followers
Read
September 27, 2017


DNF @ Page 50

As of right now, I'll be DNFing this one. Unfortunately, I just wasn't jiving with this story. My mind kept wandering while I was reading and I was unable to connect to the characters and stay focused on the story.

At the moment, I can't really tell if it was because I just wasn't in the mood for this genre, but I do usually really enjoy contemporaries. I may try to come back to this one at some point, but probably not any time in the near future.

Update: Sept 27. 2017

I tried reading this again after seeing so many wonderful reviews. I got to page 100 and had to stop again. I'm not really sure why this book isn't working for me, but it just isn't and I think I have to accept that. Clearly my opinion is in the minority though!
Profile Image for Ally Wiegand.
178 reviews9 followers
December 9, 2017
In my opinion, this book is one of the best coming-of-age stories of the year or even since The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

I can't give much away on why it is so amazing, because it would ruin the plot of the story. A plot that is very well hidden by Jared Reck. I knew something was going to happen by the synopsis on the cover, but what exactly did happen left me crying big, ugly tears.

First let me start by saying that this book is light and wonderful, but will also break your heart into tiny little pieces. But don't worry, by the end of the book, your torn up heart will start to mend itself right along with Matt's through hope. This novel has everything you could possibly want in a coming of age novel about a high school teenager. It has the unrequited love, the hilarious best friend, heartbreak, and growth from a situation no one should ever have to experience.

I thoroughly enjoyed the main character's inner dialogue. It kept the novel fresh and funny, even with some of the tougher moments in the book, Matt's thoughts would swoop in and ease a little bit of heaviness. I thought that the growth that was shown from Matt was amazingly written and even now, it is something that will stay with me. When you are hurting, we sometimes feel that we have more of a right to be hurting than others. And sometimes we have to take a step back to realize that this isn't the case. Everyone is the star of their own movies and dealing with the same hurt you may be dealing with.

The ending of this book made me smile and feel all warm on the inside. I know this book will find a permanent place on my bookshelf and also will be a book that I recommend to everyone. Wonderful job, Jared Reck.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to Blogging for Books for sending me this review copy.
Profile Image for Rida Imran .
217 reviews143 followers
January 27, 2018
My mom says a book that makes you cry is a good book.

Going into it. I didn't know much about it. Just that it's a story of unrequited love. And I thought that's all this was going to be. In the start it was hilarious at times and it made me feel for Matt. Cause it's just such a relatable situation loving someone knowing they don't feel way the same way about you but having this tiny voice inside that says they might one day. It sucks. And it's barely in the books or anything. So this was different.

Even the character Matt himself was a bit relatable. I mostly loved how his thoughts were portrayed, they felt so raw and human.

I love it when young adult books show healthy family dynamics and don't just forget the protagonist's parents. I specially loved his grandparents and Murray.

The second half of the book was shock. I expected it to stay this goofy but sad story of one-sided love.

The Bad: There's not much I did not like about this book. Here's the thing, I don't mind some swear words but Matt used way too many..even when it was not needed. The title is misleading. By the end of the book, the only parts of Tabby(girl next door)we know are the ones when she was with Matt or that she was in a relationship with Liam. That's it.

Overall this book made me smile and cry more than once. I would definitely recommend it.
Profile Image for nancy (The Ravenous Reader).
414 reviews267 followers
May 1, 2017
A Short History of the Girl Next Door made me cry and laugh and cry some more...until all the words were gone and I was left wanting more from Jared Reck. This unrequited love story takes an honest and unflinching look at the missed opportunities that can haunt us, especially at an age when love can be so confusing and each choice seem paramount. It will make you want to seize the day, spend time with the ones you love and eat all the Nerds.
Profile Image for Alexa.
2,094 reviews10.9k followers
August 16, 2017
I'll be extremely honest and tell you that, about a third of the way through this story, I wasn't quite sure how I felt about this story. But it surprised me - in a good way! Despite the fact that I'm not much for basketball, and that there were things in this one that made me squint my eyes a bit at the page, I still thought it was an interesting take on moments in Matt's life. There's a hint of life lesson vibes by the end, but I actually liked that a lot too.
Profile Image for Michelle .
1,990 reviews221 followers
October 2, 2017
**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs: https://bookbriefs.net**

A Short History of the Girl Next Door is a standalone young adult novel by Jared Reck. This book totally wrecked me. It was completely unexpected, in such a good way. A Short History of the Girl Next Door is so different than the books I normally read, and I am so so glad that I stepped outside of my comfort zone because this book was an emotional journey that I absolutely loved. I typically read pretty happy books, so even when the very first line of the summary tells me this is an unrequited love story about the girl next door, part of me was still expecting it to turn out happy. And I am not going to go into spoilers for this book, but the direction that Jared Reck took this story in blew me away. It totally shocked me actually. And I am kind of obsessed with how much I loved it. 

A Short History of the Girl Next Door is the story of a really beautiful friendship between neighbors Matt and Tabby. There are so many fun memories these two shared growing. I love that we got to see the two of them progress from elementary school to middle school to high school. There are funny moments, cute moments, angry moments and heart achingly sad moments. This book will really give you all the feels. Matt is such a great guy, that you can't help but root for him and Tabby. 

A Short History of the Girl Next Door is such a poignant story about growing up, and crushes love and disappointment. And of happiness. There is a lot of happiness between Matt and Tabby too. I think everyone will be able to relate to Matt in this book. It is told from his point of view, which I absolutely loved. It was so perfect and interesting to see Tabby through his eyes. Matt is not perfect and because of the events in the book we get to see Matt at all levels of ups and downs. I ate it all up. Even when I was ugly crying, I was loving it. A Short History of the Girl Next Door is the most book that has surprised me the most in 2017. It is brilliantly done. If you are looking for a book that will take you on an emotional journey (both happy and sad) read A Short History of the Girl Next Door. I really loved it. Thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone Jared Reck!

This review was originally posted on Book Briefs
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 6 books1,205 followers
Read
December 12, 2017
"Fiercely funny and heartbreaking" is the pitch for the book and it is spot on. I laughed, and then I spent the second half of this one crying my stupid eyes out. It reminded me a bit of Stupid Fast which is one of my favorite YA titles.

But what I loved most about this book -- aside from Matt's excellent voice and his clear love for Tabby -- is that this is a story about a boy coming to learn that he doesn't get to dictate or control anyone else's life...especially not the girl he grew up with and has fallen in love with. The message gets hammered home again and again with him, and Matt ends up being really ANGRY about it. And his anger is an exploration of toxic masculinity in a way that's smart and savvy and spot-on.

More, this book is a young teen protagonist. Matt and Tabby are freshmen in high school, making this an excellent read for middle schoolers looking for YA that is really "relatable" to them.

Maybe one of my favorites of 2017.
Profile Image for Nic Stone.
Author 36 books3,935 followers
June 18, 2017
A real gut punch, this one.

Following Matt Wainwright around will have you laughing one second and wanting to punch someone the next. He's just so REAL and his emotions are so raw, you can't help but feel exactly what he's feeling, exactly how he's feeling it. From his sentiments on being strong-armed into a "mama bird" costume for Halloween by the combined efforts of his four-year-old brother's adorableness and his mom's guilt tripping, to his untamed fury in the face of devastation, Matt just made me FEEL so much.

No spoilers, but be ready to have your heart ripped out by his struggles and his triumphs. This book is an emotional feat.
Profile Image for Juliana.
714 reviews1 follower
November 16, 2018
I thought this would be a light book, considering the title. I thought him obsessing over basketball would be the most annoying part of the book. It's not. That's one reason why I don't read works by male authors very often. The other reason is that they have to create situations so they can be in 'man pain' and we can watch as the characters go through hell.

No. I didn't sign up for this shit. This book took a sharp turn off the road just for that 'man pain' factor and I HATE that. There was no damn reason behind it other than that. I'm done with this book. I quit at 65 percent.
Profile Image for Lauren R..
1,063 reviews287 followers
July 7, 2017
Ugh. Why was I surprised that this book broke my heart when the word "heartbreaking" was literally in the synopsis?? I'm not sure what I was expecting but it was totally not this. There was a lot of pining and basketball and then WHAM. Ugh x 2. I don't know what to say but this was a really incredibly solid debut.
Profile Image for Bevin.
199 reviews15 followers
July 17, 2017
4.5-5 stars

Absolutely blown away by this sweet and heart breaking story, narrated by one of the most endearing and real characters I've read in a long time. Matt and his family and friends were a solid group of well-written characters that make the reader care in record time, and whose lives together make for a wonderfully solid and emotional book. I was particularly impressed by how Matt's "unrequited love" schtick was handled--I was worried because of the tendency for this trope to veer towards creepy/stalker-y territory, but Matt never reached that threshold. In fact, he repeatedly confronts his learned possessive and even sexist behaviors and challenges himself to be and do better. I loved Matt, and Jared Reck, for that, and it made for a really wonderful reading experience that I am honestly excited to recommend.

My only complaint is a bit of a spoiler, so check it behind the cut:

Absolutely pick this book up if you're looking for a sweet, emotional contemporary story with A+ characterizations and heartwarming (and heartbreaking) relationships of all shapes.
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