A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another
“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”
The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
There is something seriously awesome about reading a YA contemporary after an incredibly stressful week. Sitting down with a book you know is going to be chalk full of cheesy lines, encounters that make you go awww, and drama, yes lots of drama, is just so relaxing. So after the few days I had last week, My Life Next Door was exactly what I needed. I gobbled this book up. It took me no time at all to read it, and I loved it. Absolutely. Huntley Fitzpatrick is up there with Stephanie Perkins and Sarah Dessen in terms of contemporary YA authors as far as I'm concerned.
My Life Next Door begins with The Garretts moving into the house next to the Reeds. They are a large and boisterous family- as the blurb above mentions, the Garretts are everything the Reeds are not, everything Ms.Reed isn't- and she has no problem vocalizing her disdain for the family, and letting her girls know they are not to socialize with the neighbouring family. This however, doesn't stop Samantha from forming a relationship with one of the Garrett boys-Jase.
I really liked how Jase and Samantha's relationship developed. While I will be the first to say that it wasn't exactly realistic and relationships don't happen like that. It was easy to fall for them both. Jase pushed passed Samantha's comfort zone, he befriended her first, invited her into his life. And before you know it, they're kissing each other. I liked the transition in their relationship and I liked how they were together. The two characters were still able to be individuals while still being together.
The characters are what made this book. Both Jase and Samantha were wonderfully written. I loved Jase's loyalty to his family. He loved them, and he was one responsible seventeen year old. The parts of the book that involved the Garretts were my favourite. What an incredible family. I am SO hopeful that Fitzpatrick will include them in her future books, because they were really great. I am sure that every review of this book will mention George, what an awesome little boy. His irrational fear of death, just about killed me laughing (no pun intended). The kid was quick and witty and how could you not love him. Andy was a hysterical fourteen year old and I loved how she had no problems talking about things such as dating and kissing with her older brother and mother. The Garretts had a special bond.
I also think Tim- Samantha's best friend's twin brother- was an incredibly diverse character. And if he were to be featured in upcoming Fitzpatrick novels I would have no problem with that either. He went through some major character development in My Life Next Door, and it was beautiful. I still believe there is a lot of work that needs to be done in his life (possible future book's plot?), but he'll be fine. I loved seeing him and Jase become friends, I loved seeing Samantha's friendship with him evolve.
The overall plot is good, however it's not spectacular. I will say-without, hopefully, giving to much away- that Samantha has some major decisions to make in the novel and I thought that this moral dilemma was very well done, and unique.
Overall, My Life Next Door was really good. The characters were fabulous, the dialogue was quick and on the ball,and the story was good. I really enjoyed this read and Huntley Fitzpatrick is on my list of authors to keep a watch for.
~Happy Reading Everyone!