Friday, 7 February 2014


My weekend guest is Author Selene Castrovilla. Though she had written many books, she sent me this one in particular to promote.

I can see why. This book is as touching and moving as John Green's The Fault In Our Stars.


While most seniors at her high school are worrying about prom and final exams, seventeen-year-old Sam is desperately trying to save her best friend Jesse's life. He has a rare, treatment-resistant form of cancer, and his odds of survival aren't good, and he may have only ten months left to live. Through every bit of his pain and anguish, Sam has been by his side--through the grueling, aggressive treatments and their awful aftermath, to sleeping in his room at night when he's afraid to be alone. Best friends and neighbors since preschool, Jesse and Sam's friendship is changing--now they're falling in love, and the bond between them grows stronger even as Jesse is weakens. Will they have a happy ending...or will their story end in heartbreak?

Book buy links

To purchase The Girl Next Door on Kindle or in paperback:

To purchase as a Nook book:


Selene unplugged

Selene Castrovilla is an award-winning teen and children’s author who believes that through all trends, humanity remains at the core of literature. She is the author of Saved By the Music and The Girl Next Door, teen novels originally published by WestSide Books and now available digitally through ASD Publishing. Her third children’s book with Calkins Creek Books, Revolutionary Friends, was released in April. It is a Booklist Top Ten Biography for Youth, 2013, and it has just been named a Eureka Honor Book by the California Reading Association. Selene holds an MFA in creative writing from New School University and a BA in English from New York University. She lives on Long Island with her two sons. Visit her website for book excerpts and more information

Selene's Social links

Selene would love to meet you! Get on touch with her here:

Facebook fan page: Selene Castrovilla
Twitter: @SCastrovilla
Tumblr: SeleneCastrovilla

Must Read Reviews

Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) Magazine wrote in their review:
“Death is never an easy subject to relate to teenagers who believe that they are invincible. It is extremely difficult for an adult to channel the inner feelings of teenagers in this case, but Castrovilla captures the mind and soul of a teenage girl dealing with the loss of the greatest friend she has ever had and the love of her young life.  Love, sex, and raw emotion come into play as Castrovilla sets the stage for a heartbreaking love story.”

Booklist Online review:
Just a few months ago Jesse was junior class president, a star baseball player, the newspaper editor, and the crush of every girl at Midland Prep in Manhattan. Now he is fighting a rare cancer with only a 4 percent survival rate. When Samantha, his best friend and next-door neighbor for the last 15 years, turns her compassion for Jesse into a sexual relationship, the teens fight the unknown with their growing love. Sam’s wavering voice, at times mature beyond her years and other times still needing her mother’s comfort, gives readers insight into both Jesse’s burden of dying and her own story of being the one left behind. With occasional subtle humor, Castrovilla avoids melodrama as Jesse and Sam both deal with their anger, fear, jealousy, and insecurities; learn to take care of themselves while taking care of each other; and explore and find faith and peace in an uncontrollable world. Reminiscent of Lurlene McDaniel’s novels, this look at first love is at once heartrending and healing. 

Some more reviews from bloggers (links to all the posts are here:

“This turned out to be a love story that will transcend time.”

“Seriously, this book surprised me so much, and I absolutely loved it. It was deep, emotional, and dealt with issues in a way that didn't feel too heavy, but at the same time, really hits you hard. Absolutely stunning.”

“Beautifully written while handling a very heavy topic, Castrovilla addresses the universal question: In a world where the worst can strike at any time, how can we ever feel safe?”

“Just when I thought I'd survive this without the waterworks, the dam broke. The book was beautiful in its entirety, but the ending particularly even more so. Until now, almost a day after finishing it, I'm still telling myself that my tears were happy ones. MY FAVORITE PART was ‘I want you to hold me just like this—I want you to hold me when I die.’ *SOBS*”

“There are a ton of internal conflicts going on but the spice adds texture to the story and breathes even more life into it. It made me cry. More than once too. These characters get under your skin. This is a beautiful book and a heart wrenching story.”

The Girl Next back to the marriage the sacredness and the significance that seems to be lost in time, and will provide you the opportunity to re-evaluate your own life and make you not only live, enjoy every moment, but to cherish one and all.”

There are many more, which appear on my website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads. But an e-mail I received from a teen reader in Montana a few weeks ago hit me the most:

“Miss Castrovilla -
Oh my gosh! I cry every single time I read your book The Girl Next DoorI really wanted to firstly thank you for such a masterpiece! I've checked it out from my library so many times, once in a while just to skim it and feel the raw emotion of Jesse and Sam's love. It's...gorgeous. When I finish high school, I'm going to pursue a degree and career in journalism, and write at home - like you. Thank you also for helping to shape my writing. –Samantha H.”