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The Boy Next Door


What hurts more: falling on ice or falling in love?

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Swoon Index

  • Heat

    7 (39 ratings)

  • Tears

    4 (24 ratings)

  • Laughs

    5 (25 ratings)

  • Thrills

    6 (35 ratings)

Full Description

Maddy Spier's been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner she spends time in his arms every day. But she's also seen his arms around other girls—lots of other girls. How can she make him realize that they can be partners off the ice as well?

Gabe's relationship with Maddy is vital. He can't imagine skating with anyone else, and together they have a real chance at gold–maybe even making it to the Olympics! So he's decided to think of her as a sister. After all, family is forever, but he's never dated anyone for more than two weeks.

Then their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, and everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy's been hoping for or the big break-up that Gabe has always feared?


"You got this, Mad," I whisper to her. "Do it again."

She nods, and her face reminds me of her dad, the way he looks on his campaign billboards. Eyes focused, chin set. A look that says you can trust him to get whatever job needs doing done. Mad takes her crossovers. She pushes. She jumps. One-two-three and there's the extra half rotation and on the landing, her knee's bent so low she's almost doing a backward shoot-the-duck but by some miracle of anything and everything holy–

She. Stands. Up.

I have officially lost the triple Axel contest. I will never live this down, but I'm so psyched for Mad that I don't give even a bucket of Zamboni sludge. Mad's screaming and I'm screaming and Kate and Chris have forgotten whatever the hell they were fighting about this time. Mad throws her arms around me and I hug her back. Over her shoulder I see Igor watching, smiling, as our club mates pile on us in a massive group hug. Mad's landed her triple Axel. I am not worthy to tie her skates, but for some reason she's still my partner.

No, not some random, unknown reason. In the middle of the celebratory huddle with Mad, her body pressed full frontal against mine with her arms around me and her face buried in my neck, I know the reason she's still my partner. And I also know that whatever I do, I can't lose Mad.


“Fans of ice-skating and romance will fall in love with this debut novel.” —School Library Journal

“Van Ark's story of two skating partners is hot enough to melt the ice.” —Romantic Times

“Guaranteed to warm even the coldest heart.” —Justine

"Just finished it AS I was watching pairs figure skating in Sochi! I loved it. I love Gabe's arc. He started out as someone I would tell my daughter to stay far away from and became someone I'd be thrilled for her to be with. Someday, when she's like 30 and allowed to date." —THHernandez, Swoon Reader

"Could not put this down! Great job; hope you write more." —Teresa Phillips, Swoon Reader

"What a great read! Believable characters, realistic dialogue and an interesting and unique premise. This story drew me in right away and kept me turning the pages till the very end even though I know nothing about figure skating. I loved the dual first person perspectives. All it needs is an epilogue – I'm desperate to know what happens afterward on the ice!!! Five stars all the way." —Kat, Swoon Reader

"This story pulled me in from the beginning and kept me hooked until the end. Each voice is authentic and even the parents are fleshed out and realistic–something that doesn't always happen in YA fiction. Plenty of misunderstandings and make-ups, both part of teen relationships. I was left rooting for Maddy and Gabe both on and off the ice." —AliasLibrarian, Swoon Reader