The Boy Next Door by Jo Ho

The Boy Next DoorThe Boy Next Door by Jo Ho

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Actual rating of 3.5

Kim is unhappy. She has been forced to move away from her friends, her boyfriend and her home. She understands the reasons behind it, and she can sympathise, but after all, she is a teenager. Their new home is a little creepy. It came already furnished, something about that just creeps Kim out, having other peoples belongings and memories in the house still. Adjusting is hard, and making friends is even harder. Her troubles are soon forgotten though when she discovers a hidden space under her bedroom floor, a memory tin, with small notes written by the mysterious A. It details the things this person saw in regard to the neighbours. Kim has noticed the young, too small for his age, hard done by child but she doesn’t realise how serious his predicament is until she starts to investigate a little further.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this story going in, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. That seems to be happening a lot lately, I feel like it’s a running theme at the moment, and I seriously hope it doesn’t let up any time soon. I LOVE being surprised by the books that I pick up. There’s nothing better than going into a story, not hoping for much, or even knowing what you’re in for, then being blown away by what you find. It just makes me giddy. Hi, my name is Jess, and I am a book nerd.

I received this book from an email, I get a few emails that generally have links to about 50 odd books from various authors, covering various genres, you’re able to download them for free through book funnel, and the best part is, the author themselves have endorsed it. The only thing you need to do to receive the free book, is to sign up to their newsletters, that’s it. I have found many a great author and story this way, so I highly recommend taking the offers should you ever come across them. I generally find them from facebook, I think it’s a page called LitRing. Yes some of the stories are a bit dull and not too great, but to be honest, I’ve found that these ones generally have zero reviews on them, and I’m all about helping authors as much as I can, this is why I do reviews. Reviews help authors so much! Wow, went on a bit of a tangent there. Okay! Back to it…

So I was intrigued by the story of Kim, she’s not a selfish girl by any means. She’s 17, so I would put this as a YA mystery I guess you could say. She’s just been forced to move away from everything she knows and loves, right as she should be preparing for college. Finding herself in a new, strange town, surrounded by strangers and living in a house filled with other people’s furniture is a sure fire way to get a teenagers nose out of joint. I don’t blame her for how she felt. Though I do think that she treated a character we meet pretty poorly, simply because she made an assumption after meeting some not so nice girls in the park.

I think one thing that I loved about this book was that we see the differences in thought patterns between a teenager and a six year old. Her younger brother has no problems at all making friends, and cannot understand why his big sister doesn’t have any yet. When he has his birthday party, there is a slew of children attending. I think it goes to show how things can change as we grow older. As we get older we seem to judge more, and care about more things than we probably should. I just thought this was a cool thing I observed in the story and wanted to point it out. The differences between the age groups growing up was a nice touch to the story.

I loved the mystery portion of the story. Not only did we have questions raised about the boy next door, Lucas, and his situation, but we also had the mysterious memory box found by Kim under her floorboards. So I feel that I got a double treat with this one. I had an idea on what was happening with Lucas, but that didn’t detract from the story at all. The one twist that was there, I feel was too easily given away. I knew what was happening with it pretty much from the first encounter. It was still a nice addition to the story however.

I found Ho’s writing to be well done with a good flow that kept me incredibly engaged in the story and constantly picking it back up when I should have been doing other things. This is the second short story/novella I’ve read by this author and I’ve found myself enjoying her work. I do believe I will be searching out more of this authors published works.

All in all, this was a quick, easy, enjoyable read with a satisfying conclusion. A nice YA mystery with a touch of slice of life added in too.

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