The Boy Next Door: "The three main characterizations are a little thin. The story starts with Betty waiting for her brother Robin to return home from boarding school, and since her cousin Lucy is also due to arrive the same day, Betty is excited at finally having someone to play with! In the usual Blyton fashion, ages are quickly established, in this case with Betty thinking to herself, 'Robin's eleven, Lucy is ten, and I am nine.' Both Betty and Lucy are almost like hangers-on, not integral to the plot in any way. Robin starts out being a bit of a snot, by shunning Betty's enthusiasm to see him and announcing that 'it will be dull with only two girls to play with.' Robin warms to Lucy when he sees she's brought her dog Sandy (after all, a Blyton book wouldn't be complete without a pet of some kind—although the Secret series managed quite well without any regular pets at all)."