[537]: The New Neighbor by Leah Stewart

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GOODREADS SUMMARY | Simon & Schuster Canada | ARC paperback, 288 pages | Publication Date: July 7th, 2015 | Adult Fiction | Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars


Although it took me a while to get into the swing of reading this book, The New Neighbor turned out to be one of those novels that had an uncanny ability to drive you crazy. Primarily because it was a very closed-book that didn’t show its true colours until towards the end. Reading this book felt like I had an itch buried subcutaneously that was hard to scratch.

The story follows two women at two opposing points of their lives. One is a 90-year-old woman who’d practically lived like a hermit all her life; and the other, a single parent looking for a fresh start with her son. In more ways than one, they are an unlikely pair. However, through their interactions, a fragile dynamic will be formed. In the nexus of their relationship is a mutual curiosity that would somehow assuage them of their guilt; a way to face the past. But were they really guilty? Or were they victims of their own circumstances? That’s the crux of this book, and Leah Stewart did a tremendous job in flaying her characters in such a way that would appeal to her empathy-deficient readers.

Admittedly, my issue with this book was that I thought the author forgave them easily, made excuses for them, even. The ending, in particular left a lot to be desired. No one was punished. No one repented simply because the characters were made to feel like they were within their rights. I supposed they were right. But in doing so, the story lacked the emotional pull required to feel satiated. I wasn’t enraged. At the end of the novel, all I felt was an “unfeeling” relief that it was over.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the ARC. 

  • This review is amazing Joy! I just love how you shared both of the neighbours relationships with one another and described how curious you were at how it all turned out. Sounds lovely!

  • This sounds like it is actually a decent read, but that it was a bit anticlimatic and what needed to be done when it came to solving the issue or facing it wasn’t quite done because of how the characters felt. Which could be a bit annoying. But otherwise, it seems like a decent read.

    It’s good to have you back Joy <3

  • Stunning review Joy. <3 But aw, I'm sorry this book was a bit disappointing :\ I don't like characters that get forgiven too fast. Hmph. That is just mean 🙂 Though the rest of the book do seem interesting. And I'm glad you liked it a bit 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts about it sweetie. <3 YAY for print ARC 😀 Not a book for me, though, hih ;p

  • This sounds like a frustrating read. I don’t like it when I’m in the dark until the very end. Great honest review, Joy. 🙂

  • If you’re punishing your characters, make sure that it’s full of carnage and make it bloody! Give me my pound of flesh!

  • Huh. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like this. On the one hand, I love that it’s so different and unpredictable and completely unexpected, but on the other, I really don’t like feeling unsettled. And when you add to that an unsatisfactory ending, I don’t think this is really a good choice for me.

  • I hate it when endings are like that. When you just sort of feel blah over everything you read and you want more than that.
    I think with the rough start and then that ending, I will pass on this one but I am glad you did take a chance on it and read it because you never know.

  • Lovely review. It sucks that the ending didn’t live up to the potential of the book, however. I hate it when authors cop out.

  • It sounds like maybe the author took a little bit of the easy way out toward the end, and didn’t push the characters as far as they could have been pushed. That’s too bad, because otherwise this sounds like a really interesting read! I still might recommend it to my mother in law, I think it’s something she might enjoy, slightly disappointing ending and all:)

  • I’d be a little bugged by the author forgiving her characters too easily too. I always need my characters to suffer if they’ve made bad decisions or simply needed to be punished.
    Sorry this wasn’t the best book you’ve read, Joy.

  • RO

    The older I get, the more I realize that books have to show depth of storyline and characters for me to enjoy. Real people who can be related to, you know? Good review! Hugs…

  • This book has me feeling all kinds of feelings. I’m a little on the fence. I like the sound of it but it also sounds like it’s going to drive me crazy. I don’t know. Great review otherwise, definitely has me thinking!

  • I can’t say that this sounds like a book I wanna read

  • lornak99

    This really doesn’t sound like I would enjoy this-I probably would end up DNFing it. Thanks for your honest review 🙂

  • Ah yes I can understand the different feelings about this one. It’s a new one to me but I think I’ll pass. thanks for the discovery.

  • That SUCKS! I for one enjoy books where the characters and the plots are relatable and most of the time this means having real life things happen to the characters (consequences for the actions and things of that nature) so MEH. Not the book for me.