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Monday, January 21, 2013

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Release Date: June 14, 2012
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: E-book
Source: Purchased
Pages: 396
Buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
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?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.
My Life Next Door is one of those books that I’d heard all of the great things about from all of the people whose opinion I trust, but it was also one of those books that I couldn’t fit into my ridiculously busy reading schedule. So I let it slide. Once it started showing up on so many Best Of 2012 lists, though, I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I threw the TBR list out the window (because I’m wild and crazy like that) and stepped into Samantha’s world. I knew I would love this one, but I didn’t realize just how much or why it would resonate with me.

Due to the recommendations I’d received, I went into this thinking it would be a sweeping summer swoonfest where it takes from page one to page end to get these two rascals together. Instead, it was something even better—a sweeping summer swoonfest where the rascals find each other quickly and swoon you to pieces until page end. This is the kind of romance I love to read.  It’s the sweet, sincere, and so believable. Samantha’s draw to Jase and to the Garrett family made complete sense to me, seeing as she came from a regimented, overly planned life. Jase is easygoing, talented, and able to keep a level head in any situation.  He’s sensitive but masculine. Basically, he’s swoontastic. They complemented each other so perfectly. And his family… oh my goodness. That kind of chaos is magnetic. 

Speaking of the Garrett family, I loved every single one of them from Mom & Dad Garrett straight through to baby potty-mouth Patsy. I spent the majority of my senior year of high school at my then-boyfriend’s house who was one of 7 (now 8), and Huntley Fitzpatrick gets it exactly right. The big family dynamic has always interested me (partially because of the time I spent with them), and this was one of the truest-to-life examples I’ve read before. Like Samantha, I was once proposed to by a pantsless four-year-old.  Ah, awkward memories. Clearly, my favorite Garrett, besides Jase, is George (and frankly, Jase barely wins).

About two-thirds of the way through, I realized that everything was peachy… too peachy. Samantha and Jase were living in blissful cuteness, her mother accepted their relationship for all intents and purposes, Tim the Bad Decision Maker seemed to be back on track. And that’s when the craziness hits. In the moment, it felt like it came out of left field, but now that I’ve had some time to process, I see how beautifully the big, big moment was set up. I could not turn the pages fast enough, but I certainly tried. Drat, I’ve only mentioned Tim briefly but Tim! Love Tim! I’d love to read more of Tim, if that could be a thing that happens.

Again, I went into My Life Next Door knowing that I would love it, but honestly, I didn’t know it would be like this. Judging by my ranty-raviness, you can easily tell that I didn’t want to tear myself away from these characters. Huntley Fitzpatrick is absolutely on my must-buy list from here on out, and she should be on yours too.

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, I really liked this one! And, when I passed it on to my students, they loved it, too. The Garrett family is fantastic -- I want more families like this in novels!