The Boy Next Story is the 2nd book in author Tiffany Schmidt’s Bookish Boyfriends series. It follows the lives of a small group of students who attend a prep school called Hero High. As they navigate the dramas of being teenagers, they are guided by their English teacher, who believes there is a classic story that will speak to each individual student.
Goodreads Book Description: The second book in a series where your favorite literary characters come to life, inspired by the timeless classic, Little Women!
There’s no one better than the boy next door. At least not according to Aurora Campbell, fourteen, who has been in love with Tobias May since their very first sandbox kiss. The problem is, he’s in love with her older sister, Merrilee. And Merri is already dating one of his best friends.
Rory is learning all about pining as her class reads The Great Gatsby, a book she doesn’t find “great” at all. Also not great—her GPA, something she needs to fix, quickly, if she’d like to apply for the chance to spend a week studying art with her hero in New York City over winter break. But when Ms. Gregoire assigns her to read Little Women for extra credit, Rory discovers more than she expected—both about herself and Toby. Maybe she wasn’t in love with the boy next door. . . but the boy next story.
Love is complicated, and it’s all about to get even trickier for Rory at Reginald R. Hero Prep . . . where with the help of one quirky English teacher, students’ fantasies come true, often with surprising consequences.
This is one of the rare times I think the second book in a series is better than the first. I realize I was already invested in the characters after reading A Date with Darcy, but in my opinion, Rory is a much better heroine than Merrilee. She is less flighty, less codependent and her emotions in the book are expressed in a more well rounded way.
The Boy Next Story picks up about a week after the ending of A Date with Darcy. I greatly appreciated that, because then I didn’t have to read 3 chapters of recap before getting into the new story line. The only thing that didn’t follow was that I thought Merrilee had seen Rory get her book at the end of A Date with Darcy, but she didn’t actually get it until a quarter of the way through this book.
Rory is given the book Little Women as an extra credit assignment. She needs the extra credit, because her grades are so bad they have landed her on academic probation. Her math teacher gave her a letter that she was supposed to have her parents sign, but instead she hides it and starts getting tutoring from her next door neighbor, Toby. Through the entire book, we feel the stress Rory is under as she worries about getting caught, and Merrilee keeps threatening to tattle, which makes me dislike her even more. (As a mom, this arc irritated me. It sets a terrible example to have teens lying to their parents and avoiding consequences.)
I was able to overlook the minor irritants, because the main character was so well written. I describe myself as am empath, because I feel the emotions and energies of others. Therefore the best books, in my opinion, make me feel the emotions of the characters, and that’s exactly what happened with this book. I felt Rory’s frustrations with herself about school, loving someone who didn’t see her in that way and doubting her talents because life is so out of sorts. I laughed at her banter with Toby. I cried more than once. Even two weeks later this book sticks with me.
Chapter 5: Sailors need three fixed points. Then no matter where they’re going, the know where they are.
I have this in my life. My husband, my children and my parents are the points that help me create home.
Chapter 18: “It’s – You look like you’re going to look in college. It’s like getting a peek at future you.”
This quote reminded me of my kids. My heart still thinks of them all as the little people who need me, but certain moments make me stop and realize how much they have grown and let me see the person they are on their way to be coming.
Chapter 25: “Spitting in someone else’s tea doesn’t make yours taste any better.”
Oh how I wish the world would take up this motto. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to have different opinions. You don’t need to step on someone else’s dreams in order to achieve your own.
Chapter 38: “Avoiding the things you’re afraid of doesn’t make them go away,” she said softly. “I want you to remember that. When you keep them locked inside they have power, but when you confront them, you give yourself the power to fix them and let go.”
Chapter 40: We made a great team when I let them play, but I usually kept them on the sidelines. I thought it wasn’t fair to ask for their help when I had nothing to offer in return. But they didn’t seem to feel that way. And maybe families weren’t a game of balancing a seesaw but of playing Red Rover. You held on as tight as you could and protected that bond from the forces that flew against you and tried to tear it apart.
This is the bond I have with my brothers and the bond I hope my 5 will share as well. The unspoken knowledge that someone always has your back is one of the greatest strengths you can possess.
Chapter 50: “How are you challenging yourself right now?” These conversations lead to personalized mini lessons.
I think writing this blog challenges me on an almost daily basis. It challenges me to exercise and be accountable. It challenges me to keep my mind active by reading books and writing. It challenges me to try new foods. Most importantly, it challenges me to put myself out there, share a little bit of my world and risk judgement and opinions.
I hope you enjoyed my book review. I encourage you to read The Boy Next Story for yourself and experience Rory’s story. Let me know what you think.
2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Boy Next Story by Tiffany Schmidt (Bookish Boyfriends #2)”
That’s right! You are an empathetic sort Kristie. A great review…
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