Storyhelix Review 005: Growing Up Neighbors

I’m not sure if there is anyone alive who doesn’t really want to be loved.

I know there are plenty who can’t accept love, people who can’t give love, people who can’t seem to find love, people who are looking for love in all the wrong places, and people who can’t seem to see love even though it is right in front of their faces.

To be known and loved. That’s such a grand notion, isn’t it? Such words swell behind the heart and beckon the soul to stir even the most latent of fires inside.

That’s probably why I love a good romance story, and that’s why I began to look forward to reading Frances Hoelsema‘s Growing up Neighbors immediately.

The book contains the story of Deborah and Nicholas, as they meet when Nicholas’ mother moves into the house across the street from Deborah’s family. Nicholas immediately bonds with Deborah and her siblings, especially Alex, who is the same age as he is. They end up spending a lot of time together and growing up together through several tweenage and teenage milestones, including going into high school, dating (other people), graduation, Deborah’s parents’ divorce, jobs, moving out, and working towards a career. All this time, many people around them tease them for their unexpressed feelings for each other, which makes them assert all the more that they are “just good friends” or “like a bother/sister” to each other.

After Nicholas gets into a car accident, Deborah realizes she can’t deny her feelings anymore, but still can’t find the courage to tell Nick. He, uncertain of her feelings toward him, can’t find the courage to speak up, either. It takes quite a bit of time for the truth to come out in the end.

What You will Like about the Book: 

  1. Both Deborah and Nicolas’ parents end up getting divorced, but still believe in true love and the subsequent commitment to marry as a result. The divorces are handled in an easy way, where there is not a lot of detail or too much emphasis on the parents’ fault; children or teens who live in divorced families may find comfort in how Deborah and Nicolas still get a happy ending, even if their parents’ attempts to do so have not worked out.
  2. Someone recently reminded me that nostalgia is a powerful force, and people often underestimate it. I think a lot of teenagers, even teenagers who are in their twenties (I’m talking mentally) will like to reminiscence about their past; the past is almost always easier to deal with than the present.
  3. Episodic arc. Plenty of smaller plots are separated by age and experiences, but they are all pretty well connected. Let me put it like this: This would not be a movie, it would be a miniseries, if you were going to make it into a script. Degrassi  fans who grew up watching the show would relate, even though Growing Up Neighbors is much (much, much) cleaner (thank goodness).

Personally, I think it would make a great audio book!

Check it out and while you’re there, Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks!

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