Friday, January 9, 2015

Review for My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

12294652My Life Next Door
By Huntley Fitzpatrick
Published June 14th 2012 by Dial Books For Young Readers
Borrowed Paperback from Local Library
394 pages

"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?" ~ Goodreads


My Life Next Door is sure to steal your heart and if you're fortunate, give it back to you at the end. The odds aren't great.

It's been a long time since I've delved into a contemporary. I almost forgot how character driven they are and what an absolute joy it can be to get to know - in depth - a variety of characters. My Life Next Door is the perfect example. I'll only focus on the two main families because the cast is just so widespread (but I would like to give a shout out to Tim - you rule!). I would like to start with the Garrett family. Some would say chaos, mayhem, yada yada yada. I say grounded, loyal, fun, affectionate and in the fullest sense family. A real family. It baffles me how the author made every single one stand out. I loved them to bits - all ten of them! (Okay, George and Pasty have a special place in my heart.) They are just so full of life. It radiates from the pages through hilarious scenes and witty dialogue. In sharp contrast is the Reed family. Controlled, precise, planned. Two very different ways of living.

Sam and Jase. Sam and Jase. There of course is attraction at first, but no insta-love. They start off slow and steady. Progressing into a firm, solid relationship. It was beautiful really and what I hope is realistic (cause that would be aw-some). They made such a cute couple, it melted me. Jase is patient and understanding and Sam is open to being a better version of herself with him. They bring out the best in each other. It is so refreshing that there is no romantic conflict (no bringing in an ex or a new love interest) and that the boy is just all around good (I'm sure others exist out there). No teen aghast, too. My Life Next Door is centred on their growing relationship, their families and friendship.

Since this is a contemporary and one that focuses on day-to-day kinda life it is a slower pace. But I can guarantee you that it will be engaging - after all, it has an eight-kid family in there with a full serving of politics. Yeah. Things get real interesting. I do wish the ending wasn't quite as rushed, but it satisfied me. Throughout the whole book, I felt like I was vicariously living through Samantha. Getting to enjoy the ups and downs of life.

I highly recommend My Life Next Door to readers who enjoy contemporary and sweet romance. But it is so much more. It's like... no, that's not it. There is so much... I already said that. Remember when...gah. You know what? Just go read it!


"Is Jase already going to marry you?"
I start coughing again. "Uh. No. No, George. I'm only seventeen." As if that's the only reason we aren't engaged.
"I'm this many," George holds up four slightly grubby fingers. "But Jase is seventeen and a half. You could. Then you could live in here with him. And have a big family."
Jase strides back into the room, of course, midway through this proposition. "George. Beat it. Discovery Channel is on."
George backs out of the room, but not before saying, "His bed's really comfortable. And he never pees in it."
The door closes and we both start laughing.
"It's okay. I love him," I say. "I think I will marry him."
"You might want to think about that. Or at least be really careful about the bedtime reading."