REVIEW: “The Boy Next Door” by Ella James

“The Boy Next Door” is a seductive, engrossing and heartbreaking second-chance-at love romance from Ella James.  Dash and Amelia’s Meet/Cute is not just adorable but it’s absolutely stunning. This novel’s the second book in the Off Limits series and is most definitely a stand alone novel.  In fact I didn’t realize “The Boy Next Door” was related to Royal Jewels until Prince Liam showed up.  I’m slow on the uptake; but once I put two and two together it was a lovely and mind-blowing surprise.  The Hero, Dash’s complex, noble and tragic his backstory is heartbreaking.  Amelia, the Heroine, deals with lots of loss and deception while growing up.  Amelia falls in love with Dash when she’s six years old, he’s nine.  Their feelings and attraction is mutual unfortunately they never unite successfully until they’re adults.  Even then forces remain against them.  This storyline’s incredibly compelling, riveting and poignant.

Amelia writes children’s stories for film, animated films to be specific.  On her first day at her new internship she’s shocked to learn her professional partner is her first love.  Dash was literally the “boy next door” and the brother to her childhood best friend.  His presence back in her life’s distressing because he abandoned her after taking her virginity over a decade ago.  Amelia gave her heart, to Dash, secretly and overtly gave her heart to Dash over and over throughout her youth.  Each time he took it, with reverence but then walked away from her more than once.  Dash and his sister Lexi, undergo mysterious traumas causing them torment during their high school years.  They’re made susceptible to drug and alcohol dependence.  Am can see they’re suffering but doesn’t understand why; she just wants to help heal them.  Especially Dash.

When Amelia was six years-old her mother died in a car accident.  Her father decided to move into to Atlanta suburb where Amelia could have neighbors her own age.  When they arrive at their new home Amelia doesn’t want to live in the new home.  While Amelia runs away she’s distracted by a bird and doesn’t see she’s running into a swimming pool.  When Amelia’s submerged in water she hears the voice of the boy who’s saving and soothing her.  And her six year-old self unknowingly loses her heart.  Through the years her girlish love evolves to a serious young love.  Amelia loves Dash completely and sometimes believes that he reciprocates her feelings but she is never certain.  One night they express their love; but rather than the Happily Ever After that Amelia anticipates she’s heartbroken.  She doesn’t see him again until five years later; at her internship.

When Amelia and Dash reunite during her internship but things are extremely complex between them.  Amelia’s still in love with Dash but resents, and wants to hate him, for loving and leaving her.  Dash’s still attracted to Amelia.  He loves her but he’s keeping secrets.  He wants to confess them as much as he needs to keep them under wraps.  As much as they fight it they can’t their sexual attraction.  At first Dash tries to atone by giving Amelia countless orgasms.  When they have sex questions from the past torment Amelia making her need answers.  Unfortunately Dash isn’t able, or willing, to explain what happened on that night years ago.  Amelia can’t keep away from Dash but she’s not comfortable with not knowing.  So she goes away during the studio’s break to think.

When Amelia returns she and Dash fall back into bed and things go well for a few weeks.  It’s when Dash is ready to combine sex and commitment that things fall apart.  Once again Dash stands Am up when he promises to be there for her.  This time it’s different Dash didn’t meet her due to a family tragedy.  Amelia and Dash must return to their hometown.  When they do all of the secrets and nightmares are revealed to Am and Dash’s horror.  The truth could be too much for Amelia to come back from.

Dash and Amelia are extremely engaging characters who are also charming and compelling.  The storyline in “The Boy Next Door” is expectedly dark and intriguing as well as emotional and tear-jerking.  The POV is alternating but there are flashbacks as well.  You see a flashback from Amelia’s POV then later you’ll see what happens just after that from Dash’s perspective.  It’s dramatically thrilling.  There are some minor players but the stars are Dash and Amelia and the action happens completely with them.  Dash’s a fabulous Tragic Hero; he’s vulnerable but possessive and steadfast.  Amelia’s a damaged Heroine but she’s resilient, strong, and passionate.  There’re other characters from Ella James’ Off Limits series but they appear “off stage” or near the book’s end.  “The Boy Next Door” is a strong installment to the Off Limits series.  I cannot wait for the next book!

I’m giving “The Boy Next Door” 5 Lightning Bolts and a Storm Warning.


This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed.

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