Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Girl Next Door

Book Blurb:

eBook Publication Date: May 24, 201

Two teens are forced to make some very grown-up decisions when one of them is diagnosed with terminal cancer, twisting them into an unpredictable nightmare. Best friends since toddlerhood, Samantha and Jesse grapple with the realization that they are actually in love. What now? 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?

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Selene is pleased to team with the Anthony V. Mannino Foundation helping young adults in their fight against cancer. She will donate $1 for each book ordered during THE GIRL NEXT DOOR's Blog Tour!

Selene will send a free autographed copy of THE GIRL NEXT DOOR to anyone who donates $25 or more to the foundation (click here to donate!). For your purchase to count and/or to show proof of donation, just send a screenshot or receipt of your order or donation, along with your shipping address if necessary, through "Drop me a line" in the "Latest News" section of her website,

The AVM Foundation Mission:

The Mission of The Anthony V. Mannino Foundation is to financially assist young adults in the age group of 18-28 while they are undergoing their cancer treatment.  We also want to help development support programs to aid this unique age group, with their special needs, as they battle cancer.

We found that Anthony's age group of 18 plus, doesn't have the emotional or financial support that other age groups do. We are also aware of the unique situations that this age group faces and want to help those adolescents and their families.


Grand prize is a  Kindle Fire + THE GIRL NEXT DOOR ebook (US only), and 10 second prize winners will receive an ebook copy of THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (International).

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            “Life begins perpetually. . .

Life, forever dying to be born afresh,

forever young and eager,

will presently stand upon this earth as upon a footstool,

and stretch out its realm amidst the stars.”


--H.G. Wells

            My novel The Girl Next Door is about Jesse and Samantha, a teen couple struggling with Jesse’s cancer. But like all literature, it addresses a universal theme. The real question behind GND is: How can someone walk around, function and feel safe in a world where at any moment disaster might strike? We have no control.

            When I was a teenager I was struck by my inability to guide my own fate. Sure, I could study and be good, but that didn’t guarantee a happy life – or any existence at all. I realized this after my first experience with death, when a classmate’s sister died senselessly. On a dare, she’d climbed a pole to retrieve chuka sticks dangling on a wire. She was electrocuted. Her name was Debbie De Surrey. I knew Debbie; I played with her at a summer recreation program. She was always happy and oh, so vivacious and then – poof! She was gone. How could that happen? Weren’t we immortal? That smiling, beautiful girl lives on in my memory, and she is one of the people I dedicated the book to. So, yes, cancer strikes – but so many other things do, too.  Few people wake up and say, “Today I am going to die.”

            I live in New York, and 9/11 made me think about mortality even more. One minute those people were working, drinking coffee. And the many were gone. Life or death was determined by luck, and which floor they were on. How tenuous life is.

            In the book, Sam lost her father in 9/11. That’s a result of my experience, peripheral compared to others’ but still life-altering. That day, it was like the world was ending. For thousands of people, it did.

            The loss of Sam’s father echoes the theme. His ghost stands in the background, either to prepare her for further grief or simply to say goodbye. I’ll admit the mentions of him were Hamlet-induced, though it is for the reader to decide if Sam’s father truly appears. Real or imagined, it is he who gives Sam this counsel: “Death cannot rob us of the love we give away.”

            So how do we cope in a world where the people we love can at any moment be stripped from our lives? I don’t have all the answers, but Sam arrives at her own. All I can hope is that this book provides solace, and provokes thought.

            Many readers have resonated with a poem Jesse writes for Sam, so I’ll close with it:


Eternity, evermore

That’s how long your love is for

Angel beside me, saving grace

Sunlight shining on your face

The world, my world is what you are

Guiding me, a shining star

A rainbow reigning over me

Brightening the sky, all I see

Passion and goodness, lover and friend

You hold me when my heart descends


The missing piece to my puzzle

The key to unlock my door

I’ll love you from the heavens

for eternity,

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. She is also a contributing author to UncommonYA.  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!
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