Thursday, 7 March 2013

Book Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick


Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publisher: June 2012
Released: Dial Books 
Summary: 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?   Goodreads    

My Life Next Door is for the most part an eezy breezy summer love story, of similar ilk to the entire works of Sarah Dessen. However, as we Dessen fans well know, there is more going on under the surface. In My Life Next Door the tension and drama comes in the form of the protagonist's, Samantha Reed, mother; an upper class, soon-to-be Senator, with an unhealthy love for her vacuum cleaner, and a extreme distaste for the large, noisy, sprawling family next door. When boy-next-door Jase and Samantha embark on a summer of love, these very different families collide with shocking results. 

Fitzpatrick paints these two differing families with such detail and thought that it's easy to immerse yourself into their lives. The Garrets, you just can't but help love them. They're a huge family; totalling 8 kids and everyone of them as precious and funny and real as the next. From Patsy, the youngest, whose first word was boob, to George, who has an aversion to wearing pants and is a little encyclopedia. And of course the main love interest Jase. While it seems like bad guys are all the rage as of late, I really love a good guy. And that's exactly what Jase, and his family, are; good people. The well developed characters meant that each emotion was felt more vividly on the page, and when things take a turn for the worse I felt Samantha's pain deeply. Samantha, and the reader, are drawn to this vivacious family next door, who are a bright spot in Samantha's cold and sterile world. 


Fitzpatrick really pulls this story together in the last quarter of the novel, as we see Samantha have to make some hard choices and stand up for herself and her beliefs. My Life Next Door, is a can't-put-down book. Its complex characters and beautiful, realistic romance make it a must read, and put it up there with some of my favourite reads from 2012. 



Recommended for people who like: contemporary, Sarah Dessen, summer romance, star crossed lovers. 


Who was your favourite Garret? 
Do you think Samantha's mother is an irredeemable character? 

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