I recently picked up an advanced readers copy (ARC) of I Spy The Boy Next Door by Samantha Armstrong. It was my first ever ARC from Net Galley. The book is slated to be released on May 25th, 2019. To be perfectly honest, at first, I couldn’t decide how I felt about it.
But this story stayed with me, which is always the mark of a good book. This book may not have been very realistic, but it is an entertaining read.
About the Book
Mallory is 17 years old and has been home-schooled her entire life. After she begs her parents, she is allowed to go to public school for her senior year. She has fallen in love with the boy next door, Troy Parker, after spying on him from her window for years. Growing up, Mallory didn’t know much about her adoption but as she pieces together the parts of her life her parents were not ready to tell, her whole world is turned upside down. Oh, and he’s connected to the Colombian Drug cartel.
The concept of spying is a bit peculiar. They both spied on each other and it feels intrusive. It’s hard to romanticize unnatural co-dependence and stalking. For example, one night, Troy sneaks into Mallory’s room while she’s sleeping, despite having two prior in- person conversations. Since Mallory was home-schooled, her best friend is a digital pen pal that she hasn’t met, but communicates with via Facebook messenger.
Personally, I have an issue when digital communications aren’t formatted well because it feels like they’re trying too hard to stay current. For example, I recently read The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms and absolutely LOVED how they formatted the occasional text messages, it was clear, concise and not overly done. The messages have purpose for the story. In I Spy the Boy Next Door this book, it missed the mark for me. While it made sense contextually, the format came across as distracting and confusing.
At first I had no idea where it was going, thinking it was a simple, young adult romance. Wow, was I wrong! There were too many elements for me that seemingly came out of nowhere. I think it would work better in a TV or movie context. I felt like I was reading two different books that didn’t really come together quite as much as I needed it to. The author ran out of ways to describe how the characters breathe and I became hyper aware of it each time they “sucked in air” – although, if you need to change up your current reading trend, this is a great pick!
One of the greatest redeeming qualities of this book is that I found myself thinking about it and comparing it to other books I’ve read since. The characters are uniquely memorable in ways I didn’t expect.
Overall, I would rate this book 3 out of 5 stars. These characters were oddly memorable, however the story was too shallow for me. The plot hit all the necessary beats but it didn’t dig deeper. The first three quarters of the book I had no idea where it was going, and then towards the end it made a 180 degree turn. The basis of the plot had potential, had it been better developed.
Have you read this book yet? If so, I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts and opinions on this book in the comments down below. If not, you can purchase it here (or support your local independent bookstore!)
Photo courtesy of @my.purrfect.reads on Instagram!
I live in New York, representing the East coast portion of Words Between Coasts.