Endless Summer (The Boys Next Door #1-2) by Jennifer Echols
Two irresistible boys. One unforgettable summer.
Lori can’t wait for her summer at the lake. She loves wakeboarding and hanging with her friends—including the two hotties next door. With the Vader brothers, she’s always been just one of the guys. Now that she’s turning sixteen, she wants to be seen as one of the girls, especially in the eyes of Sean, the older brother. But that’s not going to happen—not if the younger brother, Adam, can help it.
Lori plans to make Sean jealous by spending time with Adam. Adam has plans of his own for Lori. As the air heats up, so does this love triangle. Will Lori’s romantic summer melt into one hot mess?
I’m a day late with this, but I had to try and gather my thoughts. Endless Summer actually encompasses two books: the original love triangle/summer romance, and the sequel that came some time after. The first book – The Boys Next Door – is hands down the best YA love triangle I have read, and one of the very, very few that ends in a satisfying way. I loved the book to bits.
The second book delves deeper into the romance, brings back memories of how complicated teen relationships can be, and we have an opportunity to get inside the guy’s head too. My problem was, that this character – who I had fallen completely and totally in love with in the first book – royally angered me with his thoughts in the second.
I can’t say it enough: The Boys Next Door was just wonderful. One of my absolute favourite YA stories, featuring realistic characters who screw up but try their best, a love triangle that turns out not to be much of a love triangle at all (thank God!) and a summer setting that is so very different to anything this Australian reader has ever known.
If other authors wrote love triangles this way I’d be a fan of the theme!
Yet teenagers are universally teenagers, and quite capable of getting themselves into trouble no matter where they are in the world. Poor Adam, in particular – a wonderful, passionate young guy who also struggles with ADHD – was so easy to fall in love with. There’s one scene where he gets himself into another fight, and then worries his mother will see the bruise on his face… that was probably the moment that best illustrated his vulnerability. I loved him.
As for the second book, I have never before seen so many references ‘dumb blondes’ in my life. It is incredibly offensive and incredibly sexist. What might seem like a harmless (snort) joke when you’re a teen actually breeds ignorance in adulthood.
Many blonde women – me included – have to deal with sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace because of sexist assumptions due to the way we look. Imagine if the book talked about people being stupid because of their weight, or eye colour, or skin colour! The fact the romantic interest was the one constantly making these references about his girlfriend made the situation so much worse.
In the end, I put the book aside for a little while, picked it up the next morning, and finished reading. I fell in love with the story again. I understand rural Alabama is a very different place to where I live, but sexism is sexism is sexism.
And a random observation: they give out driving licences so young in the United States! It’s quite surprising that you can drive so early, but the age of consent and the legal drinking age are both so very high compared to other countries.
I definitely recommend this story, however. As the first book was written as a standalone, you can certainly read it on its own; it has its own happy ending that will leave you with the warm fuzzies.