My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Speak (13th Jun 2013)
Genre: Contemporary, YA
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 trellis and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love and stumble through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first romance, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own—even as she keeps him a secret from her disapproving mother and critical best friend. Then the 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?
Being a book blogger, you tend to befriend other book bloggers and one of the things we do talk about is book recommendations, whether it’s on Twitter or Goodreads, I do trust the tastes of my fellow bookish people. One of the books that come highly recommended is My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.
I do read contemporary YA as well as the action-packed and magic fuelled variety of the genre, but it all depends on my fickle mood. I bought My Life Next Door a few months ago at a book sale and it was a total bargain. So I finally decided to give it a go.
My Life Next Door is your quintessential summer love story where a heroine finds love during the course of the summer and along the way, she discovers a few changes in herself and at the end of the book, she reflects on how much she’s changed and how different her life has become after summer. Though I might say that the story is quite predictable, do expect a few twists and turns along the way. But the predictability of the plot is the least of my concern because what really drew me in was the love story between Samantha and Jase.
Given that it’s already hinted in the blurb, it won’t be considered a spoiler if I were to mention that Jase first enters Samantha’s life when he climbs up the trellis and into her room. I really do mean her life, because Sam and Jase come from different worlds. Sam’s mother is a politician and everything in her life is well-organised and proper whereas life over at the Garretts is rowdy and loud. When their worlds intertwine, Jase and Sam fall head over heels in love with each other.
The romance in My Life Next Door is sweet, captivating and charming. I loved how Sam and Jase discovered about each other through the different parallels in their lives. The dialogue is funny, playful and sometimes just downright too darn adorable – yes, I’m talking about Geroge. He’s just too cute.
I believe that one of the biggest and most important element in a book is character development and in My Life Next Door, it’s not only Sam who goes through self-discovery and undergoes changes. But let’s just start with the star of the book. Sam, who in the beginning of the book, was the “good girl who didn’t trouble or cause inconvenience to her mother”. As she reflects on her childhood and growing up, she began to realise that she’s not her own person and how she decided to take her own stand was one of the pivotal moments in the book that made reading it really worthwhile. Another character I really liked was Tim, Sam’s best friend’s brother who has been fighting the bottle and drugs since the age of 12, who makes a massive turnaround in his life and I can’t wait to read more about him in the sequel, The Boy Most Likely, which focuses on him and Jase’s older sister, Alice. Eek, so much excitement!
My Life Next Door is like a slice of summery, sweet and tart pie that you will devour and crave for more. It’s romantic and you’re guaranteed the warm, fuzzy feeling inside of you. Reading My Life Next Door is like reading in bed, under covers with your favourite pair of socks on, preferably with a cup of tea and a whole packet of Reese’s Pieces by your side.