Book: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzparick
Publication: June 14, 2012 by Dial Books (Penguin Teen)
Rating: 5/5 stars
Summary: “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 trellis and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love and stumble through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first romance, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own—even as she keeps him a secret from her disapproving mother and critical best friend. Then the 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?
My Thoughts: I used to not be a huge fan of YA contemporary novels. Give me a fantasy, a dystopian or a good sci-fi any day and I’d be a happy reader. But lately I’ve found myself reading more and more contemporary novels and I’m really enjoying them. And so I’d been hearing all sorts of amazing things about this book, all from bloggers whose opinions usually line up with mine, so I decided to pick it up and dive a little deeper into the contemporary world of YA fiction. And just, this book, THIS BOOK.
I fell head-over-heels in love with this book from the very first page.
My Life Next Door is, in my opinion, the perfect YA contemporary novel. The book is filled with stories and themes of love, passion, conflict, friendship, family, uncertainty and the fear that you don’t know what to do with your life. All of us experience circumstances like these when we were teens, maybe not all of them at once, but I would challenge you to read this book and not feel a kinship with a single character, to not intimately understand what they are facing and what they are dealing with.
Samantha is is the youngest daughter of a single mom who also happens to be a state senator running for re-election. Her mother is caught up in the world of politics and is focusing more on what their New England town needs and forgets to focus on what her daughter needs. Her older sister is away for the summer on Martha’s Vineyard, waitressing, spending time with her boyfriend and having a carefree summer before she leaves for college. So, Samantha is mostly on her own, spending time with her best friend Nan, working two jobs and trying to be the best daughter that she can be. Yet, she’s trying so hard to fit into this mold that she doesn’t realize that something is missing.
And then her entire world is turned upside down when Jase, on of those Garretts-next-door, crawls over the wall and into her heart. Jase is everything I want in a YA book boyfriend: he’s kind, understanding, independent, fiercely loyal and so devoted to his family. It’s so refreshing to see a boy who’s not damaged, who doesn’t need saving and who isn’t going to hurt Samantha, I feel like YA is too full of those types. Jase is a good person and he is so clearly devoted to Sam that it warms my heart (and if we’re being honest, stole a little of it along the way). He and his family, his messy, large, loud, loving family, are exactly what Sam needed to get through her summer.
This story will take you on a emotional journey and at the end you’ll want to pick the book up and start all over again. You’ll close the book wishing that you were SAmantha and that you lived next door to the Garrett’s. That you were able to be a part of this world and that you would be able to experience first love all over again the way Sam and Jase did.
And I know I’ll be picking up any new books that Huntley Fitzpatrick releases.