Happy Thursday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for NEXT DOOR TO HAPPY by Allison Weiser Strout! I’m so excited because today I have an excerpt of the book to share with you! This book is truly amazing and I’m so excited to for you to find out more about it, PLUS enter for a chance to win a print copy!
Published on July 12, 2022 by Margaret Ferguson Books
Genres: Contemporary, Middle Grade
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Author Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram
Twelve-year-old Violet Crane is an only child in a lonely household who longs to be part of the gregarious family that's just moved in next door.
With a mother struggling with anxiety, a father who recently moved out, and no siblings to commiserate with, socially awkward Violet Crane feels like she is starting middle school with less going for herself than that of your average kid.
When the rambunctious Walker family moves in next door, Violet can't help but wish she could become a part of their household--everyone and everything seems so normal compared to her own.
After she meets them, Violet falls in love with all five Walker siblings and especially with Mrs. Walker, who is nothing like her own mother. Violet and Reggie, the black sheep of the Walker family, find that they have an easy understanding of each other, and it doesn't hurt that they are in the same grade at school.
But then Violet overhears a conversation between Reggie and his mother in which she tells him that she doesn't feel like Violet is an appropriate friend. Violet is devastated until she faces a truth--no person, family or friendship is perfect--and realizes just how lucky she is.
Ever since they moved in next door last week, I’ve sat on our front porch watching them. They’re out in their yard all day long—laughing and screaming and playing with each other— until their mother calls them in. So far as I can tell, they’re a real family. Which means they’re the opposite of mine.
This morning the kids are in the yard again. There are five of them—two boys, three girls—and they have divided themselves into two uneven teams for relay races. The kids at the front of the lines crabwalk across the lawn and onto the driveway, where they each bounce a soccer ball once on one knee before hopscotching back across the grass to tag their teammate’s hand. A yellow dog stands on the lawn next to them, barking as they cheer one another on.
Every minute I sit here, I want to be there even more. It’s been a long summer. I spent the first part as a counselor- in-training at my old day camp, and now my best friend, Katie Patterson, is at sleepaway camp. My heart is crazy with desire, which is just the kind of emotion that my dad tells me I should try to tone down.
It’s been almost a year since he moved out, and at first, I was pretty upset about his leaving, but there were some good things about it. For one, he bought me a phone so that I could call him regularly. Every Wednesday and Saturday I spent the night at his apartment, and we went out to eat at the diner. He would always get the day’s special like veal shank or stuffed cabbage, which kind of grossed me out, and I would get some pasta dish. After we ate, we would go back to his place. He let me sleep in the bedroom while he took the fold-out couch in the living room.
But in June he got a job at a different company and started flying from New York to Atlanta every Monday and coming back on Friday, and now I only see him on Saturdays.
Dad’s always telling me how he thinks I need to realize that life isn’t perfect. It makes me kind of angry because if anyone knows that life isn’t perfect, it’s me. Maybe he should be telling me instead to grab the chance to be really happy when I get it.
Excerpt from Next Door to Happy / Text copyright © 2022 by Allison Weiser Strout. Reproduced by permission from Holiday House Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.
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What do you think about Next Door to Happy? Have you added it to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!