Review of My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door

My Life Next DoorΒ by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Published: June 14, 2012
Genre: YA Contemp.
Pages: 394
Source: Library

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? (Goodreads)

Β mythoughts2

So. I just wrote this whole review, was about to press publish, and guess what? The whole thing was gone. Stupid WordPress with it’s stupid settings. So now I’m going to try and type this out from memory (and a lot of fist pounding on the keyboard in anger).

Okay, so, I loved this book. I completely resonated with Samantha, who lives a pretty average, kinda boring life, and is always watching the Garretts and wanting to be part of their fun, messy, crazy life. I’ve always wanted lots of siblings, and when I was little I would watch Cheaper by the Dozen and Yours Mine and Ours on repeat, non-stop. So reading about the Garretts and their crazy and loud family was just so fun for me. I was a bit upset at how lucky/coincidental it was that that the Garretts just happened to have a 17 year old son who just happened to be rather good looking and nice, but I guess it had to happen to drive the book forward. Either way, I absolutely could not put this book down.

Another thing that I really loved about this book was how it dealt with tough issues of substance abuse and family dynamics. Throughout the first half of the book the plot focuses mostly on Samantha and Jase, but underneath that, Fitzpatrick presents, in a realistic and emotional way, the conflicts, tension, and fear that can come about when someone around you is dealing with an alcohol or drug addiction. On top of that, there are the issues between Sam and her mother as well as the life changing incident that happens to Sam. The book went from light, fun, and happy to deep, emotional, and intense within a couple chapters. The variation in Fitzpatrick’s writing showed that she’s easily capable of writing both kinds of stories. A lot of the time you find contemporaries that are summery and fun with heavy undertones, but often those undertones are either overdone or bland. In My Life Next Door, the light parts and the heavy parts were both just as engaging and well written, and it was refreshing to read something with such a well-rounded story line in YA.

Lastly, I’ll just touch on the romance between Sam and Jase. Did I think it was a bit insta-love? Maybe. Did this detract from how sweet and realistic their relationship was? Not at all. I loved how their relationship developed through the book, and how things were just so easy between them. There was one point that I wish had been explained a bit more, but it sounds a bit silly when I say it aloud. See, we are under the impression for most of the book that Samantha has been hiding her relationship with Jase from her mother. But we don’t really know if Jase is aware of this. Does he know that Sam’s hiding their relationship? It seems like something that should matter when you’re dating, if you’re keeping your relationship completely secret from your family. This issue is finally discussed later in the book, but I wish we had known all along what was going on. I know that’s just a dumb little thing, but it bugged me.

Overall, this book was fantastic. I loved everything, from the plot to the characters to the writing, and I can’t wait to see what Huntley Fitzpatrick comes up with next.

4.5 birds

Sweet read! Would definitely knock out a few birds for this one, and then some!

  • Katie Latham

    Love this review! I read this book at the start of June and I completely agree with your views on this book, I loved it too! I have reviewed this on my blog and would love it if you checked it out and told me what you thought!

    http://blondestreak1996.blogspot.com/

  • MajiBookshelf

    This book sounds AWESOME! AND LOL AT YOU FIST POUNDING ON KEYBOARD!!! Anyways, I used to watch Cheaper By the Dozen and Yours Mine and Ours too!! I was so jealous of how big their family is! I only have two other siblings, and it’s so boring!! hhahah! Sam and Jace sound like awesome characters! Really can’t wait to read this! Great review, Chloe!

    – Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  • artsy musings

    A book with a bit of insta-love that doesn’t detract from their actual relationship? I must read this book soon! I always love a good contemporary that deals with issues realistically. I’m not so sure about the whole secret relationship thingy but I guess I’ll know when I read the book. Sometimes little things in books does bug me, too and then I end up not liking the book if it’s too much. But I’m glad you liked My Life Next Door despite everything.

  • http://www.respiring-thoughts.com/ Renae M.

    I really enjoyed this one as well! I wasn’t planning on it, but the author’s portrayal of romance and teen sexuality was so perfect and realistic, and it totally won me over (even though some of the drama-llama stuff toward the end felt like a bit much).

    • Chloe (YA Booklover Blog)

      It was really realistic wasn’t it? Oh but I totally agree with you that some of the drama was over the top.

  • Nikki @ The Paper Sea

    I’m glad you really enjoyed this one, Chloe! Unfortunately I couldn’t quite enjoy it like everyone else did, but I still agree that it is an enjoyable summer read!

    • Chloe (YA Booklover Blog)

      That sucks that you didn’t enjoy this one. It’s definitely a good summer read πŸ™‚

  • Cassie

    THANK GOODNESS. This is one of my absolute favorites. So glad you loved it. And JASE <3 LOVE HIM!

    • Chloe (YA Booklover Blog)

      Hahahahahaha yay!!! Jase <33333333

  • http://storiesaftertwelve.blogspot.com/ Dianna @ Stories After Twelve

    Yay, so so happy you liked this book, Chloe! I’m planning on reading this when I go to the beach and it does sounds like a great summer read. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it and after this review I’m completely sold. πŸ˜€

    • Chloe (YA Booklover Blog)

      Thanks Dianna! You should totally read this at the beach – it’s perfect for a beachy summer day!!

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