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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

A perfectly lovely sad yet romantic young adult title The Girl Next Door

The Girl Next Door by Selene Castrovilla. WestSide Books, 2010. ISBN 9781934813157 . 240pp $16.95 ages 14+

Have you read this book yet? Be warned. It is both romantic and sad. It grabbed me emotionally and I ended up holding someone’s hand while I read. I was hooked so thoroughly that I was afraid my emotions would get out of control and I’d start weeping while we rode in the car.  If you have students requesting sad books, romantic books, and realistic titles, add The Girl Next Door to your YA list.

Author Selene Castrovilla does a tremendous job of sharing the difficulties of undergoing cancer treatment as well as the emotional needs care-givers experience, too. Her characters are realistic and direct. It is easy for the reader to connect.  Fans of Lurene McDaniel and teens will devour this title. This is an author to watch.

Publisher’s Description: While most seniors at her high school are worrying about prom and final exams, seventeen-year-old Sam is desperately trying to save her best friend Jesse’s life. He has a rare, treatment-resistant form of cancer, and his odds of survival aren’t good; he may have only ten months left to live. Through every bit of his pain and anguish, Sam has been by his side—through the grueling, aggressive treatments and their awful aftermath, to sleeping in his room when he’s afraid to be alone. Best friends and neighbors since preschool, Jesse and Sam’s friendship is changing. Now they’re falling in love, and the bond between them grows stronger even as Jesse weakens. Will they have a happy ending…or will their story end in heartbreak?

Sam has loved Jesse for a long time even as he dated popular beautiful girls. When Jesse is diagnosed with terminal cancer and withdraws from his friends, Sam’s devotion to Jesse enables her to stay by his side through the darkest of moments. She sleeps on a bed in his room while he lies in a hospital bed trying to get comfortable.  She sacrifices much of her life and school to be there for him. When Jesse indicates he is also in love with her, Sam must battle her emotions and seek answers: Does he love her only because he has cancer and no one else is there? Should she encourage him to undergo aggressive treatments or let him progress his way? Can she go on with her life without him if need be?

The author keeps us on this emotional roller-coaster as we battle between wanting Sam to protect herself and in understanding her love & devotion. I was relieved when Sam began opening up to her counselor.

Sam’s counselor offers her a technique for reprogramming her subconscious and a pamphlet called “How to Tap.”  I wanted to learn more about this because I was so emotionally wrapped up in the reading of The Girl Next Door. I found some links online to EFT Therapy – Tapping Therapy for Emotional Freedom Techniques and Meridian Tapping Techniques.

I’ll be contacting author Selene Castrovilla this week to find out more of the “behind the scenes” to this story. Any questions you want me to share?