Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
“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, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.
As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.
I initially shied away from this book because the summary sounded a little too romance-centric, even though a lot of contemporary books seem to focus on the romance. I am so glad that I didn’t pass up on this book, though, because I ended up loving it.
This book doesn’t seem to bring many new things to the YA contemporary world. Samantha is a rich girl with a distant, difficult mother, older and rebellious sister, friend issues, and a cute next door neighbour. Said neighbour is a cute and amazing boy who cares about his family and happily welcomes Samantha into his world. There’s plenty of drama, both family and romantic.
But you know what? I really didn’t care.
I don’t know what it is about this book, but I just loved it. I didn’t read it all in one sitting or anything, but I think that was partly because I didn’t want it to end. I was interested from beginning to end. I loved Samantha, I loved Jase (BTW, I was very surprised to find out his name is actually Jason – guess I’ve never heard a nickname for Jason; end random tangent), I loved the Garretts, I loved Tim (a friend – no love triangle here), I actually didn’t hate Samantha’s mom (which is quite surprising considering what her mother ends up doing), and I was suspicious of best friend Nan. So, even the characters you aren’t supposed to love are people I was interested in.
Right after I finished reading this and was still riding on the high, I read Snuggly Oranges’ review of this book. She was more impartial to the book and talked about various flaws she found in this book. I saw what she was saying, but her problems just didn’t even register to me while reading this book. So, if you want to read about some possible problems in this book, check out her review, but if you want to read about gushing, well, you already did.
So, yeah, I can’t think of much more to say than that I loved this. The ending seemed like it could have wrapped things up more – although I could partially be saying that because I want more! – but overall I just loved this book and any flaws didn’t really seem to register for me. Definitely want to check out all of Huntley Fitzpatrick’s future books!