Genre: Young Adult; Romance; Contemporary
“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.
This book is so much more than the fluffy contemporary I was expecting.
I think that’s what I liked most about it; the way in which Huntley Fitzpatrick managed to sneak in so many unique concepts and still fall under the category of “romance”.
I really liked the characters- Jase and Samantha, of course, but also everyone else: little George and his fears; Alice and her fierce protectiveness; Mrs. Garret and the weight on her shoulders; and so on. They are all so three-dimensional. Really, the only character I didn’t like was Clay. He is a perfect example of real life horrible people; they can’t tell the difference between right and wrong. To me these are the most dangerous kinds of people, because they believe that they are fighting for the good side. It actually reminds me of terrorists, especially in the last decade or so.
The plot itself starts out ordinarily enough, but once I got about two thirds of the way in- BAM. Plot twist. And man, was it magnificent. Honestly I had kind of been wondering what was going to fill up the last 100+ pages, but this definitely did. I’m not sure that I agree with how Samantha reacted, but I also don’t think that she did anything wrong. She goes through a lot- she falls in love with a boy from a family that her mother doesn’t like, and has to walk around with this secret over her head. A new man is taking over her mom’s life and it’s affecting hers. She finds out new, unescapable truths about her best friend and her twin brother. And, on top of all of that, the twist. It was something so horrible that it made Samantha question right and wrong, good and bad.
The thing about My Life Next Door is that everything it did, it did well. It had everything that I’ve come to expect from contemporaries, plus a lesson in morality. It was a nice treat.