Review: The Girl Next Door by Amy Jo Cousins01:37
Author: Amy Jo Cousins
Date of publication: 16 June 2015
Genre/Themes: Romance, queer
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My rating: 4 Stars
When it comes to love, go big or go home.
Charles “Cash” Carmichael traded his high-rise condo and family-firm career for a job coaching soccer for Chicago’s inner-city kids. He’s adjusting to living on minimum wage when his young cousin, newly out and running away from home, shows up on his less-than-luxurious doorstep.
Angsty teens definitely aren’t Cash’s thing. He needs local backup, and there’s only one name he can think of: Stephany Tyler. Back in the day, the bisexual Steph was the perfect friend with benefits until she fell in love with a woman.
To his relief, his former friend steps up to the plate. Soon, though, Cash finds himself feeling the familiar need to keep her in his bed, and in his life. But Steph, burned by the ex-girlfriend and by the absentee dad she’s been trying to connect with, won’t risk her heart again.
Good thing Cash believes in leaving it all on the field. If he can just convince Steph to get in the game, there’s a chance they can both win.
I love this series, the first two books so far being New Adult MM and this one is more adult since we have a m/f couple at the centre yet the story is diverse/queer at heart.
I like Ms Cousins' writing - it's engaging, telling the stories of real young people dealing with different issues. Her strength for me is the way she builds her characters so real - insecure, making mistakes, yet not giving up, following their hearts.
This is the story of Cash and Steph whom we meet in book 1, Off Campus, he is Tom's best friend and she's is Reese's. They were both great there, especially Cash - accepting Tom being bi-sexual, the friendship he developed with Reese was pretty awesome as well. We never see much of his relationship with Steph there though I always suspected there was something more than friendship between them.
This books takes place a couple of years after the four friends graduated from college and now are trying to make it on their own as adults.
The best thing about this story for was Cash. I loved everything about him - he truly one of a kind. Open, acceptable, loyal to his friends, honest with himself. Working with the kids just warmed my heart. I loved his voice - struggling to be an adult, the sense of confusion, not feeling smart, often feeling lost and not knowing simple things, things that are supposed to be common knowledge, yet he was hardworking, never quitting, giving his all (I just have to say is again, he was FANTASTIC with those kids).
Steph had a tough time competing with Cash for my heart. I liked her, she was fun and open minded and, yet vulnerable, tender, hiding emotional scars behind free and easy-going attitude.
Cash absolutely stole the show for me. In fact, the romance felt somewhat weak compared to all the other things happening in his life. There was so such much of growth and development in him as a person that his relationship with Steph.
They have this great chemistry, sex is the easiest part of their relationship but Cash wanted more and was both patient and persistent in his affections. Their relationship flowed easily and lacked much tension and conflict. The (in)famous threesome scene was huge sign of Cash's love for Steph but still it left me wondering how it will affect the relationship between the three of them.
And Denny, Cash's nephew, was cute and sweet and a catalyst for Cash making a fateful decision. I can't wait to see more of him (and Rafi) in the upcoming book 4, Level Hands.