Monday, December 10, 2012

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

"Everything was wonderful and then everything was awful."
My Life Next Door

A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

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.

Something I've picked up on while reading is that, more often than not, main characters rarely have more than one sibling, if they have any at all. Coming from a big family myself, I've noticed that they don't pop-up in books too often. My Life Next Door is definitely an exception. The Garretts are a family of ten (count it, that's eight kids) and they were literally my favorite thing about this book. They're so realistic—it's not just a book full of big family stereotypes. The author does a fantastic job of bringing a real big family to life: there's differences from your normal family, definitely, but every moment isn't like a scene from Cheaper by the Dozen. The best part, I think, was seeing it through our main character Samantha's eyes. Having lived her life with a completely different family dynamic, I loved seeing her reactions.

Samantha, while we're on the topic, is just as realistic as a character as each of the Garretts. While most of us aren't in a situation similar to hers—a mother campaigning for office, rich, the golden child—it still feels somehow completely relatable.

And now, since it is a love story at its base, I've got to talk about the relationship. Jase is now high on my list of favorite fictional boys. Really—he's fantastic. He's sweet as can be, loves his family to death, and wonderfully honest. I rooted for him and Samantha the whole way through.

Usually when I'm writing a three-heart review, especially one where I've already listed so many good things, the bad parts of the book instantly spring to mind. This isn't one of those cases—it just felt like a three-heart book. While I loved the characters I mentioned and more that I didn't, I didn't love the book. I think, in part, it's because there's so many sad things that are happening or happen during the book, like Nan and her drugged-up brother. I hate to see people struggle, and when it's so realistic, it's just ten times worse. 

Just a reminder that this book is sort of PG-13—while it's not packed to the brim with cursing, there's that one character who makes the story particularly colorful. And it is a love story, so if those kind of things bother you, I'd steer clear of this one.

While I'd recommend it, this book isn't my new favorite. If you're looking for a summer read to make it through these winter months, you might just want to check this one out.


  1. Aww, Chey. I'm sorry that you didn't love it to death like I did. :(

    I am glad that you at least liked it, though! I just loved it because of the family and stuff--my best friend does have a family like that, and I LOVE THEM ALL TO DEATH. Except, you know, they're still alive. ;)

    Terrific review, Chey! Loves it. (:

    1. I know, I want to absolutely love every book I read! (: That's what I loved about it, too! I would read countless books about the Garretts—I adored them! (:

      Thank you! (:

  2. I've been seeing a lot of this book lately! It sounds like something I might like from your review! I'll have to add it to my Christmas list :)

    Really lovely blog and a terrific review!

    1. I recommend it! It's a lovely book!

      Thank you so much for the kind words! (:

  3. I keep hearing good things about Jase! I guess it's high time for me to read the book! Great review.

    -Inx from Inklings of two Booklings

  4. I just finished this book as well and I agree with the Pg-13 rating. But I think it gave the book a charm of first love.

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