April 15, 2014 by Bernadette ~ The Bumbling Bookworm
My LIfe Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publisher/Year: Speak, 13 June 2013 (originally published 14 June 2012)
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: I bought it!
Other books from author: What I Thought Was True (coming April 2014), The Boy Most Likely To (My Life Next Door #2) (coming June 2015)
“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.
What I Thought…
I’d heard so much awesomeness about this book in the lead up to my USA trip last year, so I bought it from Book Depository to take away with me. Needless to say, all the hype was completely justified (IMO) and I read it in almost one sitting! This book was the perfect summer read and had all the elements of a great YA – beautiful boys, romance, angst, comedy… the works 🙂
Huntley Fitzpatrick has invited us all into the world of the Garretts and the Reeds, and it’s clear from the beginning that they have next to nothing in common as families. The Garretts are warm and inviting, and many in number, everything the Reeds are not. The Garretts struggle financially, and the Reeds are the type to eat at the Country Club and they have their very own regular table. The Garrett parents are involved in their children’s lives and open-minded; Samantha’s mother, on the other hand, is absent, prejudiced and pretty much awful most of the time.
Samantha is not your typical teenage girl and it’s clear that she’s yearning for something more that the Garretts can provide: family in its truest sense. She’s an avoider, especially of conflict. It’s why she avoids telling her mother about watching the Garretts all the time, and then also about her relationship with Jase. It’s also why she avoids dealing with the fallout when the abovementioned unthinkable incident happens, along with her role in in, minor as it may be in the grand scheme of things. IF it has the potential to cause conflict, you can bet that Samantha will be avoiding it. As much as I didn’t like it, it was in character and understandable in that context.
Her relationship with Jase, however, is just so lovely; they fit together so well. Ah, Jase. I don’t think I can really say anything about him that hasn’t already been said! I’ll leave it up to Samantha instead:
What I see, frankly, up close and in daylight, is pretty nice. In addition to the sun-streaked, wavy chestnut hair and even white teeth, Jase Garrett has green eyes, and one of those quirky mouths that look like they are always about to smile. Plus this steady-on, I-have-no-problem-looking-at-you-in-the-eye gaze. Oh my.
Oh my indeed!
This is one of those books that made me feel very strong for almost all of the supporting characters, both positively and negatively, which is a testament to Fitzpatrick’s writing as this doesn’t always happen. I think it’s pretty clear that the Garretts are loveable, each in their own special way. Most of all, I ADORED George. He was just so cute, from the minute he first appeared and was freaking out over black holes, quickly changing gears a short while later to propose to Samantha. He was just the most precocious 4 year old, and I loved every minute of him 🙂 Here’s one of my favourite George-isms:
I like eggs and bacon,” George tells me. “But” – his face clouds – “do you know that bacon is” – tears leap to his eyes – “Wilbur?
Samantha’s friend Nan was just awful. Everything was a competition for her but especially school. She seems okay in the beginning, a little intense maybe, but when it comes down to it she shows her true colours as a horribly spiteful person. Given that The Boy Most Likely To focuses on Tim, her twin brother, I’ll be interested to see if she makes an appearance and if she’s changed for the better. Especially given what she does to Tim. Horrible! Tim is no saint, but he shows character growth and it will be exciting to see that continue in the next instalment.
This book made me laugh out loud many times and at times it even made me a little bit teary. It’s lingered with me and I’ve read it again since that first time last year. I felt like I’d become part of the Garretts’ inner circle, and I don’t know how I’m going to be able to wait until June 2015 for the next instalment in The Boy Most Likely To! I’m pretty sure it’s going to be torture… At least I’ll have What I Thought Was True soon!
Rating: 4.5 Stars