Book Review: The Girl Next Door

Chelsea M. Cameron

Rating: 2 out of 5.

published: 26th May 2020
spoilers? nope


Iris Turner hightailed it out of Salty Cove, Maine, without so much as a backward glance. Which is why finding herself back in her hometown—in her childhood bedroom, no less—has the normally upbeat Iris feeling a bit down and out. Her spirits get a much-needed lift, though, at the sight of the sexy girl next door.

No one knows why Jude Wicks is back in Salty Cove, and that’s just how she likes it. Jude never imagined she’d be once again living in her parents’ house, never mind hauling lobster like a local. But the solitude is just what she needs—until Iris tempts her to open up.

A no-strings summer fling seems like the perfect distraction for both women. Jude rides a motorcycle, kisses hard and gives Iris the perfect distraction from her tangled mess of a life. But come September, Iris is still determined to get out of this zero-stoplight town.

That is, unless Jude can give her a reason to stay…

Galley provided by publisher

What I would not give for a sapphic romance that actually made me feel something aside from complete and utter boredom. I just want some intensity from them, some kind of personality, instead of feeling like the whole thing is completely dry.

Instead, I get lumped with this.

I have written blog posts about sapphic romances and emotions. I know not to expect anything much along those lines (as harsh as that may sound. The only sapphic romance that has ever really made me feel anything was This is How You Lose the Time War). And yet, I go in again and again, vainly hoping that this is the one that won’t bore me to death.

I think the problem is, in sapphic romances, there’s a lot of day-to-day activities. Like, life goes on as before, except there’s someone else along for the ride. But there’s no change. So what you get, like here, is trips to go mattress shopping where all they talk about is mattresses and bedframes.

In contrast, romances that are actually good generally involve a change in day-to-day life. There are several I can think of, where the introduction of a love interest prompts life to shoot off in a different direction, to which the protagonist must adapt.

What the focus on day-to-day life tends to do for me is make the romance incredibly dry. Heck, it makes the story dry. And because of that, it reads more like people making friends, not people falling in love. There is zero tension to the story, zero intensity. And above all, zero feeling.

In this one, I was told a whole lot that Jude was heartbroken, but I never felt that heartbreak for myself. Ditto when it came to the romance. I was told they were in love, there was a hunger for each other, and so on. I felt none of it.

It probably didn’t help that all I really wanted from the writing here was a complex sentence. Please, I am begging, I cannot read three or more simple sentences in a row. It just sounds like a pre-schooler wrote it. (Same with saying something then, mere paragraphs later, repeating it. I haven’t forgotten what you just said, I promise.)

And above all, there was never any tension that might have formed a potential roadblock to their relationship. Like, there was never even a hint that they might have to overcome something to be together (barring Jude’s heartbreak which, as I mentioned before, seemed somewhat wooden).

Which means that, in the end, the overwhelming feeling I have about this book is one of mind-numbing boredom.

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