Monday, 23 July 2012
My Life Next Door Review
“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?
A debut novel about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.”
Let’s get one thing straight, right off the bat. I love the cover, I love the title and I love the concept. Sometimes you just see a book that has your name written all over it and My Life Next Door by debut author Huntley Fitzpatrick was that book for me. Also, who doesn’t love a story about the boy next door?! This was a fabulous character driven contemporary novel and the characters felt like real people to me.
Let’s talk about our main protagonist, Samantha or Sam as she’s known. I really liked how just because she is from a privileged background – she goes to a private school and has a trust fund – she doesn’t act like a spoiled brat. She has a part time job as a lifeguard over the summer and makes her own money. She doesn’t drive a BMW or a Mercedes Benz, in fact she doesn’t even have her licence yet. Her older sister has a rebellious streak (or just seems to get away with overstepping the boundaries) whereas Sam is considered “the sensible one”. Sam has grown up with the family Garrett next door for the past ten years but has never engaged with them due to her mother’s snobby and judgemental attitude. Then one day Jase talks to Sam and BAM, just like that she’s part of the family and their relationship grows from neighbours to friends to something indefinable and then well beyond that. This is all pretty much in secret of course as her mother is a *insert bad word here*. I’m a sucker for forbidden romance although really it’s only Sam’s mother that has the problem. This is the mother who is so wrapped up in her political work that I often wondered whether she really gave a shit about her kids at all. And the Garrett’s? I love them all and sometimes I long to be part of a big family like theirs.
Now, I love a bad boy as much as the next girl but you know what really melts my heart? A NICE GUY and really, they should be cheerleaded a hell of a lot more! Jase is a decent guy – he’s hard working, kind, sharing, family oriented and btw he’s not bad looking either and incredibly athletic. YES PLEASE. It’s worth mentioning at this point that one of the things that was addressed exceptionally well in this book, was the issue of sex. It was done responsibly but it was also authentic - it wasn’t glamourised or dressed up, it was a tender moment between two teenagers in love but it shows readers that the first time isn’t necessarily mind blowing and I think this is to be commended.
As far as secondary characters go, I want to give a shout out to Tim (Sam’s best friend’s brother – you know how I love the brother characters) as he was hilarious at times although he paints a somewhat tragic figure. Towards the end of the book though, there’s a glimmer of hope for him and I hope Alice gives him a chance ;)
My Life Next Door is not a comedy but it had plenty of comic relief when needed with definite laugh out loud moments. The latter part of the book however is a little more serious as Sam’s world instantly falls apart and she’s forced to make the hardest decision of her life so far. My Life Next Door will give you all the feels and I thoroughly enjoyed the book but I almost felt like the story stopped before the true ending but then again, the reader can draw their own conclusions and who knows whether there will be a continuation of the story. I’d certainly read it! I’m not always a huge contemporary fan but My Life Next Door definitely gets my seal of approval as a perfect summer read.
My Life Next Door was published on 14th June, 2012. To find out more about Huntley Fitzpatrick and her books, please click here to visit her website.