Sep 18, 2013

{Blog Tour} Book Review + Giveaway: The Girl Next Door - Selene Castrovilla

Welcome to my stop for The Girl Next Door blog tour! You can follow the tour here.

Title: The Girl Next Door
Author: Selene Castrovilla
Release Date: May 24th 2013
Publisher: ASD Publishing
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ecopy for blog tour
Seventeen year old Samantha has been best friends with seventeen year old Jesse since she moved into the New York high-rise apartment next door to his thirteen years ago. Jesse is their school's poster child for popularity: good-looking, a star athlete, even Romeo in the school play. On opening night he collapses on stage. That's when doctors discover the unthinkable: a tumor on his spine. His type of cancer is virtually incurable – 97% of those diagnosed die within ten months.
Jesse shuts down, refusing to see most of his friends. He submits to treatments of chemo and radiation, but he doesn't possess hope. Sam is the one person he’ll talk to. He convinces his mom to let her sleep in another bed in his room, saying he's afraid to die alone.
That’s when Jess and Sam make a startling, bittersweet discovery: they’ve been in love all along.
I've always been a softie when it comes to terminal illnesses in books and movies, which is why I try to avoid those as much as possible. This is the reason why I haven't read John Green's The Fault in Our Stars yet, and until now, I'm still not sure what compelled me to read The Girl Next Door. Not that I regret it.

The first thing I noticed was the beautiful writing. Selene Castrovilla knew how to gut-punch with just a few words, and with this story she's telling, she sure hit me more than once. But it wasn't all sad. The dry humor in this book, particularly Sam's and her mom's, had me laughing out loud a lot of times.
Mom sighed. "Is this my punishment for writing smut all these years? If I switch to Christian writing, will things be different?"
"Only with your royalty checks."
Jesse's initial sarcasm also made me snort very un-lady-like, even though I knew it was brought about by his helplessness.

As is the usual case with terminal illnesses—or any illness, for that matter—the sick person isn't the only one who suffers. Sam might as well have been dying herself. She definitely couldn't hold back her emotions well, and I hated how she would often get selfish and even more depressed than Jesse. But turns out she actually had deep-seated issues of her own, so I just felt for her in the end.

One of my few qualms with this book was how there wasn't a lot said—or, rather, showed—pertaining to their friendship because when the story opened, Jesse already had cancer and Sam was already sleeping in his room. But their romance? Oh, it was there, alright. Theirs was a sad, beautiful, tragic love affair, and I'd be damned if I say I didn't root for them to live out the rest of their young lives together, for Jesse to beat his cancer.

Just when I thought I'd survive this without the waterworks, the dam broke. The book was beautiful in its entirety, but the ending particularly even more so. Until now, almost a day after finishing it, I'm still telling myself that my tears were happy ones.

"I want you to hold me just like this—I want you to hold me when I die."

About the author: 
Selene Castrovilla is an award-winning teen and children’s author who believes that through all trends, humanity remains at the core of literature. She is the author of Saved By the Music and The Girl Next Door, teen novels originally published by WestSide Books and now available digitally through ASD Publishing. Her third children’s book with Calkins Creek Books, Revolutionary Friends, was released in April. She is also a contributing author to UncommonYA. Selene holds an MFA in creative writing from New School University and a BA in English from New York University. She lives on Long Island with her two sons.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Selene is pleased to team with the Anthony V. Mannino Foundation helping young adults in their fight against cancer. She will donate $1 for each book ordered during THE GIRL NEXT DOOR's Blog Tour!

Selene will send a free autographed copy of THE GIRL NEXT DOOR to anyone who donates $25 or more to the foundation (click here to donate!). For your purchase to count and/or to show proof of donation, just send a screenshot or receipt of your order or donation, along with your shipping address if necessary, through "Drop me a line" in the "Latest News" section of her website,

The AVM Foundation Mission: 
The Mission of The Anthony V. Mannino Foundation is to financially assist young adults in the age group of 18-26 while they are undergoing their cancer treatment. We also want to help development support programs to aid this unique age group, with their special needs, as they battle cancer.

We found that Anthony's age group of 18 plus, doesn't have the emotional or financial support that other age groups do. We are also aware of the unique situations that this age group faces and want to help those adolescents and their families.


  1. I'm great at avoiding books about terminal illness (one of the reasons that I haven't yet read The Fault in Our Stars too). I guess I'm just more of an escapist. But that final quote there has me choking up already and I haven't even met these characters yet! I'm glad this was a powerful read for you overall, Kazhy. Fantastic review!

    P.S. I seem to have worked my way around the problem. I can't access your homepage, but I CAN still get to your posts through direct links. Not sure what's happening there, but I'm glad I made it through! :)

    1. I hope we'll both get to reading TFIOS soon; we're both missing out! XD Thanks, Sam!


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