Book Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Genres: Contemporary YA
“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 started My Life Next Door last year but stopped because I wasn’t really in the mood for it. My initial thought when I first picked up this book was that it was a bit boring. Boy, was I wrong! I decided to pick it up once again during the month of January because I felt very tired from my exams and just wanted something to distract me from all the stress. Since Fantasy requires a lot of focus, I went for a contemporary. I couldn’t be more grateful that I picked up this book again. Not only it helped me relax but it also made me so happy and giggly.
This book is about Samantha and how she used to watch and admire the Garretts from her rooftop perch, until one day Jase Garrett joins her and she suddenly starts interacting with his family. Since her mother doesn’t like the Garretts, Samantha tries to keep both Jase and the Garretts a secret. But things don’t turn up quite the way she hoped for. Besides Samantha and the Garrets, we also get to meet Sam’s best friend – Nan – and her problematic brother, Tim, who also play an important role in the story itself.
Beware that this review may contain spoilers (I don’t think it does but since this is my first review, you never know).
I REALLY enjoyed this book, my friends! Like I mentioned in the beginning of this review, I had tried to read this book once and failed. I actually asked myself why a lot of people enjoy this book when I initially found it boring. Let me tell you guys, if you ever felt like that while reading this, give it another chance because it’s so much more than just another contemporary novel!
I read this book in 2 days! I would have read it faster but, ugh, exams. I love that we get to see this big family (the Garretts) where everything is messy but they all so close and get along so well. The Garretts reminded me a lot of the movie “Cheaper by the Dozen” which made me really pleased.
I loved the romance between Samantha and Jase! It’s so rare to see a relationship develop in a YA Contemporary because most characters only get together at the end of the book. The fact that we get to see this beautiful relationship blossom just gave me ALL THE FEELS. They were both so mature for a couple of 17 year olds which was really refreshing and nice. The thing that made me feel very anxious throughout the book was the fact that I was always expecting Samantha’s mother to catch Sam and Jase together. It definitely made me keep on reading so that I could find out if that actually happened.
I feel like Jase is the ultimate book boyfriend. He is so kind, brave, straightforward, handsome and he is so respectful of Samantha’s feelings and wishes.
“I guess I like things that take time and attention. More worthwhile that way.” – Jase Garrett
I had mixed feelings about Samantha. I liked her in general, but there were some things that made me very frustrated, the first one being the classic comment: “blond hair, blue eyes, freckles – nothing special” *eye roll*.
I didn’t particularly enjoy the fact that she was so naive and didn’t stood up for herself when she actually needed to, which she could have done in a lot of conversations with her mother and with Nan. I did, however, enjoy her character development and, in the end, we get to see that she is a strong character and she knows right from wrong (despite taking her a long time to actually see what’s right in front of her).
Can we talk about Samantha’s mother for a second? Why? Why? So judgemental and rude (and way dramatic). Also, how could she like Clay?
I feel like some things were left unsaid and unresolved regarding Sam and Nan’s friendship. The whole friendship was extremely confusing to me. One day they were extremely close and in need of each other but then Nan would be 100% jealous of Sam and saying things that didn’t even make sense. I didn’t feel connected to this friendship at all and it all seemed very fake to me.
TIM THOUGH! I kind of hated Tim in the beginning, but his character development is fantastic! I loved how close he got to the main characters and his connection with Jase’s younger siblings. it was all very “AWWW”.
Overall, I really liked this book. I didn’t really connect with Sam that much but I felt really comfortable and happy (because Samantha and Jase = *heart eyes emoji*) while reading this book. It was just what I needed to get my mind off of university – the right book at the right time. Despite the fact that some things were left unresolved and that the ending was a bit convenient, I was very pleased with this book and would recommend it to all the YA contemporary lovers. It definitely has everything you’re looking for in the right amount: summer-y scenarios, romance, drama, unexpected situations and a lot of family dynamic!
Plot: 4 stars
Writing: 4 stars
Characters: 3 starts
Romance: 5 stars
Pacing: 4 stars