The Girl Next Door

Young Adult

By Selene Castrovilla

Publisher : WestSide Books

ABOUT Selene Castrovilla

Selene Castrovilla
Selene Castrovilla is the award-winning author of two historical non-fiction books for children.  By the Sword was named a 2008 IRA Notable Book, and a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award gold medalist for 2009. amd won a Kansas Reading Circle 2007 award.  Her second historical non-fiction More...



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 10 months 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 at night 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?

"Just a few months ago Jesse was junior class president, a star baseball player, the newspaper editor, and the crush of every girl at Midland Prep in Manhattan. Now he is fighting a rare cancer with only a 4 percent survival rate. When Samantha, his best friend and next-door neighbor for the last 15 years, turns her compassion for Jesse into a sexual relationship, the teens fight the unknown with their growing love. Sam’s wavering voice, at times mature beyond her years and other times still needing her mother’s comfort, gives readers insight into both Jesse’s burden of dying and her own story of being the one left behind. With occasional subtle humor, Castrovilla avoids melodrama as Jesse and Sam both deal with their anger, fear, jealousy, and insecurities; learn to take care of themselves while taking care of each other; and explore and find faith and peace in an uncontrollable world. Reminiscent of Lurlene McDaniel’s novels, this look at first love is at once heartrending and healing. Grades 9-12." --Booklist
"...captures the mind and soul of a teenage girl dealing with the loss of the greatest friend she has ever had and the love of her young life....Castrovilla sets the stage for a heartbreaking love story." --Voice of Youth Advocates

"The Girl Next Door tells a bittersweet tale between two teens who must carve a full-fledged relationship from a small allotment of time, learning about each other and themselves along the way. Readers will love this book!" --Lurlene McDaniel, author of Don't Die, My Love and Six Months to Live, an IRA CBC Children's Choice selection