That Boy is part of a series, usually when I am reviewing a book from a series I review all the books from the series so far. However, this time I am only going to review the first book, That Boy. When you read the review you will understand why. I will review the second book in a few weeks when you have had a chance to read this one!
They say a girl and a boy can never really be just friends. So when a Jaydn James Reynolds has two best friends and they are both boys, this couldn’t possibly be right! Could it?
Phillip MacKenzie and Jaydn have been best friends forever. Their parents are best friends so they have always been in each others lives. They are almost like brother and sister…almost. One day Jaydn looks out her window and see’s a new boy playing football .Danny Diamond. When she meets him she finds he doesn’t want to play with her, just Phillip, girls can’t play football he says. A comment he was soon regretting.
In no time at all the three of them are best friends, inseparable. They start growing up, meeting other boys and girls – getting jealous of other boys and girls. Danny leaves to play College Football and though they visit loads its back to just being Jaydn and Phillip. When Jaydn’s parents tragically die in a car accident she needs both her boys to get her through and they become closer than ever.
Soon Jayden and Phillip join Danny at College and they all live together in the house Jaydn has bought with inheritance money, and things start to get even more interesting.
I think Jilian Dodd says it best herself
One boy will give me my very first kiss.
One boy will teach me to make out.
One boy will take me to prom.
And finally, one boy will ask me to marry him.
They will both be my best friends.
But only one of them will be the boy I fall in love with.
Only one of them is That Boy.
I think it is hard to write a synopsis of this book without giving it away, so I would imagine I have failed miserably at it! I absolutely loved this book. It was real life, I love reading about things that can and often do actually happen, that aren’t far-fetched or to fantastical to believe. There are good times, not so good times and down right awful times. These are the bits that made me laugh and made me cry. There are parts of the book that have reminded me of great moments in my own life, bringing a smile to my face, and parts that reminded me of more horrific times that brought more than a tear to my eye. That’s what a good book should do isn’t it? Stir up the emotions and give you something to think about.
I think all of us who have read this book had a soft spot for one of the boys, be it Phillip or Danny. I think for me it was Danny. Why? I loved his cheeky sense of humour, and he didn’t look too shabby – well it’s all about the imagination isn’t it? Either way though, no matter who she had picked – she was laughing! Two amazing boys, surely its only right to test drive them both? Show me a girl who doesn’t like to have her cake and to eat it too! There is no point having cake if its only there for decoration.
The story starts at the end, I loved it, you knew it was going to end in a dramatic scene, but you didn’t know which boy was in that scene. Then it will transport you back to when they are little kids and you develop a relationship with each of them and have your own hopes and wishes for them. It’s always a sign of a great writer when you can transport yourself into the life of a character and feel what they feel. I loved this book, it was easy-going and it was no great effort to read it and with that I lost myself in it for hours. Jaydn fell in love with her best friend, the boy next door, but which one?
When I was finished I wanted more, good job No. 2 – That Weddingwas waiting for me.
There is no need to take my word for it either! Check out reviews on Goodreads
How lucky am I that the super busy Best Selling Author that is Jillian Dodd took time out to grant me an interview? Not ony that but it was returned less that 24 hours after I sent it! Someone up there likes this blog!
Who is Jillian Dodd?
Jillian Dodd is a mom, a painter, and a dreamer. She makes up stories and loves to write.
I loved the 2 books in the That Boy series so far, when can we expect No. 3?
Probably more of the same. Some things that make you laugh. Some things that make you cry. Friendships that stand the test of time. That Baby will have something different in it though. There is something pretty sad that happens in the story, so instead of being told from Jadyn’s point of view, it’s told from Danny’s POV. And that part is sad, but also pretty cool, because it causes him to remember some major scenes in their lives and you get to understand what he was thinking then. The party in the cornfield. Prom. And the hammock. The decisions that he made had an effect on their lives. And it’s cool to hear why he did what he did.
Jaydn was best friends with 2 boys, which boy would you have chosen as your boy? (not giving anything away of course)
Well, I’d say that in real life, I chose a Phillip. And in real life, my best guy friend is more of a Danny personality. When we used to hang out in college, we tended to bring out the worst in each other. We had a whole lot of fun, but I’d say the whole opposites attract is very true. When someone isn’t just like you, you can balance each other out in good ways.
Did you get emotional in the writing of That Boy? I sure got emotional reading it.
My family laughs at me. My husband will come in my office and I’ll be at my computer in tears. Even when I’m editing. And he’s like why are you crying? You already know what happens! So yes, I’m emotional about my characters. My new series, The Keatyn Chronicles, the main character is younger and it makes me cry every time she does something that shows her growth. It makes me proud.
When you started writing did you know which boy would be ‘That’ boy?
Yes, That Boy started from three dreams I had with the same characters. The strip football scene at college. The party in the cornfield. The engagement party.
I loved how the ending was the beginning, was that always the plan or is that something that happened after?
That was always the plan.
Are you a big Football fan?
I am a huge football fan. I grew up in Nebraska, where there is not a professional team and only one major college. So I’ve been a Nebraska Husker fan for as long as I can remember and have fond memories of watching the games with my dad when I was a kid. We live about 10 hours away from there now, but we still have season tickets and I try to get to as many games as I can each fall. And any that I don’t attend, we have a watch party at our house.
Here in Ireland we really don’t get the whole College Football thing, is it as big a part of the culture in America as it seems?
I’d say football is a lot of fun. The tailgating. The eating. The spending time with your family and friends. College football is a really fun tradition.
At this point i had to email Jillian and ask the following question..
I have never understood. .. what is tailgating?
Tailgating is basically a party in the parking lot before the football game. Lots of people have pickup trucks. They have a tail gate that folds down that allows you to load stuff in and out of the back of the truck. Lots of people fold that down and sit on it. That’s where the term came from.
Now it’s a whole new level. People set up tents, tables, bring televisions, games, all sorts of food and drinks. Also at college football games, you can’t have alcoholic beverages in the stadium, so people eat and drink before the game.
People here tailgate before most sporting events. NASCAR, Professional Football, College football.
Do the names of any of you characters hold any special meaning to you?
Phillip’s last name is Mackenzie, which is my daughter’s first name. One of the boys Jadyn dated in college was named Jason O’Connor and my son’s name is Connor.
Do you find it difficult to name characters?
Not at all. I go through baby name sites and try to make them fit. All the character’s names, other than Jadyn’s are very basic, relatable, Midwestern names. In my new series, the characters have more unique names. Unique spellings.
What is you favourite TV Show?
Gossip Girl. But I also got addicted to Say Yes to the Dress and My Fair Wedding when planning That Wedding and I still watch them. I also love decorating shows on HGTV. But I really don’t have much time to watch television.
Who would play the roles of the lead characters in a movie?
I’m not really sure. I’m working with a small production company right now about the film options for That Boy, so it will be fun to see. I have dream cast boards on my website. They give you an idea of how I picture each character looking.
What is the best piece of advice you ever heard?
Both of my favorite pieces of advice from my own grandfather are in That Boy. He used to tell me, “Walk in the place like you own it, and people will think you do.” Which is all about confidence. If you look and act confident and like you belong. No one will question you. I tend to do this and am usually able to get in places that surprise people. My husband worked at a bank many years ago and his floor was “secure” I showed up in his office one day and he was like, How did you get up here? They didn’t call me. And I was like, I don’t know. I walked in the place like I owned it. No one stopped me. The other one, also from my grandfather, which is also in That Boy: “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” And because of my creative mind, I’m fairly good at the bullshit side of things.
Anyone who knows me would agree this is a motto that i live by, i’m full of bullshit and can talk myself out of quite a bit!
What would you say to other authors chasing their dream?
Write. Keep writing. Don’t give up on your dream. Don’t wait around for someone to make it happen for you. Make it happen yourself.
If you have read That Boy, join us on our Facebook page to discuss it. Or just join us to talk about any book of your choice. I look forward to seeing you there!