Review: The Boy Next Door by Kate McMurray

Life is full of surprises and, with luck, second chances.

After his father’s death, Lowell leaves the big city to help his sick mother in the conservative small town where he grew up. He’s shocked to find himself living next to none other than his childhood friend Jase. Lowell always had a crush on Jase, and the man has only gotten more attractive with age. Unfortunately Jase is straight, now divorced, and raising his six-year-old daughter. It’s nice to reconnect, but Lowell doesn’t see a chance for anything beyond friendship.

Until a night out together changes everything.

Jase can’t fight his growing feelings for Lowell, and he doesn’t want to give up the happy future they could have. But his ex-wife issues an ultimatum: he must keep his homosexuality secret or she’ll revoke his custody of their daughter, Layla. Now Jase faces an impossible choice: Lowell and the love he’s always wanted, or his daughter. 

I liked the premise. The writing was good. But I was left feeling underwhelmed by Lowell and Jase's romance. 

When Lowell moved back to his hometown to take care of his mother, he had no idea he was moving right next door to his childhood friend. Lowell and Jase were friends when they were kids but they had a falling out after their friendship had the potential to turn into more. Jase kind of freaked and that was the end of their friendship. Until years later when Lowell moved right next door to him and his daughter. 

Jase was very securely in the closet (except to a few "family" members) but he had a hard time staying there after being around Lowell so much. Their friendship picked up pretty quickly, considering how badly it had ended originally, and things escalated to sex very fast. They were good together. They were fine. Nothing exciting though. I just... didn't really feel it, ya know? 

And then there's some drama that I just had to roll my eyes at. Jase was a father and, of course, he wanted to protect his daughter. But he's also an adult and common sense and logic should come into play. He was too irrational and let his ex-wife control him too much. I didn't connect with him and his choices made him very unlikable to me. 

I loved the daughter. She was a sweet character and I liked her bond with Lowell. They were very cute and, even if I didn't particularly like Jase, I could see them all being a very loving family together.

There was a little bit of a secondary romance going on, too. It felt really open-ended and unfinished. So many unanswered questions. Are my guesses correct? Tell me what happened with them! I need to know! I think I liked them more than the main couple. 

The Boy Next Door was a well-written, nicely paced romance. It didn't quite hit the mark for me, but I'll still be checking out more Kate McMurray in the future.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more info on Goodreads and Dreamspinner Press.

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