Saturday, July 8, 2017

Stuffed Animal Saturday: A Short History of the Girl Next Door - Jared Reck

Stuffed Animal Saturday is a meme that we post here at We Live and Breathe Books to showcase the book we're currently reading with one of our favorite stuffed animals and discuss our stuffed animal's opinion (well, it's really our opinion, but that's besides the point). We hope you enjoy our quirky feature as much as we enjoy writing it!

This Saturday, me and Val the Lovebug are reading A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck!

So Far:
The unrequited love of the girl next door is the centerpiece of this fiercely funny, yet heart-breaking debut novel.

Fifteen-year-old Matt Wainwright is in turmoil. He can’t tell his lifelong best friend, Tabby, how he really feels about her; his promising basketball skills are being overshadowed by his attitude on the court, and the only place he feels normal is in English class, where he can express his inner thoughts in quirky poems and essays. Matt is desperately hoping that Tabby will reciprocate his feelings; but then Tabby starts dating Liam Branson, senior basketball star and all-around great guy. Losing Tabby to Branson is bad enough; but, as Matt soon discovers, he’s close to losing everything that matters most to him.

Humorous and heart-wrenching, A Short History of the Girl Next Door is perfect for readers who fell in love with All the Bright Places' Finch or Stargirl’s Leo.

Sneak peek:

The first few chapters of the book really shows us the narrator, Matt Wainwright, is, so Val wanted to share that! However, in all honesty, we're almost finished with the book and the writing goes uphill from the first few chapters. 

Background: Matt's mom has just made him and his little brother Murray matching bald eagle costumes to wear trick or treating. Matt is a brooding teenage boy so he doesn't want to wear it out. We like this exchange because it aims to show Matt outside of his crush on Tabby.

From the Chapter: "Eagles Do Not Enjoy Twizzlers or the Company of Trolls"

"Mom and I don't do this often. We both tend to try to diffuse the tension with humor -- sometimes inappropriate-- but that doesn't always work when you're the cause of each other's tension.

Twenty minutes later, Mom comes back in the living room and sits down next to me on the couch. We stare at SportsCenter in silence, neither of us really watching. The tension from our little episode is gone, but my stomach still churns at the thought of knocking on every door in the neighborhood in full mama-bald-eagle regalia. I know no one in the bigger picture really cares what some fifteen-year-old kid is wearing to take his little brother trick-or-treating but that doesn't mean I can just rollwith looking like an idiot when inevitably some hot high school girl answers the door to hand out candy between make-out sessions with her texting boyfriend.

"Dude, nice pants."
"Ha yeah, thanks, they're supposed to be bird legs."
"No, yeah, I see. Love the yellow. They girl's?"
"No, no, pretty sure they're just old skater jeans....Not mine...My mom bought them...uh..."
"Yeah. Here's a Twizzler. Have fun trick-or-treating, douche."

Val and I really enjoyed this tid bit because eventually, Matt agrees to go trick-or-treating upon seeing how excited his little brother was and later sees the girl of his dreams in the outfit. We liked this chapter because, so often in YA romances from the male perspective, I find that the guy has no real supporting characters outside of guy friends -- having his family play a big part in his life is really cool and important to the plot too!

A Short History of a Girl Next Door comes out September 2017, so make sure to check back here for a review!

Thanks to Knopf Books for Young Readers for the ARC I received at BookExpo!

Are you and your stuffed animal reading anything interesting? 
Let us know in your own Stuffed Animal Saturday!


  1. I love LOVE the chapter title of this, and the brothers' banter lol

    1. The chapter titles throughout the whole book are hilarious! Worth the read just for the wit :)

  2. This is so cute! I have a bazillion stuffed animals in my house. lol