Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: 14th June 2012
Edition: US hardcover, purchased copy
“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 night Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and everything changes. 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 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 the one person you love without betraying another.
Huntley Fitzpatrick’s debut is a book that I saw glowing reviews for everywhere I turned so I knew I had to have it. And, boy am I glad I did!
My Life Next Door has all the elements of my favourite type of contemporary YA: lovable and complex characters, a sultry summer in a small American town setting, a healthy dose of life-altering drama and an intense first love. Perfection. It’s all-consuming and so vividly real and I devoured it.
I adore the Garrett family. I immediately understood Samantha’s fascination with them. The chaos and sheer aliveness in that house is infectious and I wanted to be a part of their family. I have a big family like Jase – the exact same number of siblings actually – but we all live in different places as the ages are quite spread out! I love the noise, the energy and the love between them all. For such a big cast of characters, Fitzpatrick kept them all distinct and easy to tell apart without them being caricatures which was fantastic. Apart from Jase, I have to say that George was by far my favourite Garrett. He’s adorable.
The prejudice that Mrs Garrett faced for her choice to have a large family was surprising. She loves them all, looks after them and they’re all happy so I really couldn’t see why she got all of the snide comments and looks that she did. It was an unexpected, but very interesting. Another part of My life Next Door I didn’t expect was the inclusion of a political figure in Samantha’s mum in the novel. As her campaign continued and her agenda became even more serious and severely Republican, everything began to fall to the way side. I really didn’t like her.
As we got in to My Life Next Door and Samantha and Jase’s relationship began to heat up. They slept together for the first time and it was awkward and sweet and fumbling and so brilliantly written. The new adult genre should really take note. After they had cemented their relationship I was constantly dreading that something or someone would come along and shatter their perfect summer. I honestly didn’t expect things to pan out like they did, but it put a really strong challenge to the characters and I couldn’t stop reading.
My Life Next Door is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year and I can’t believe I waited so long to read it! Bring on Huntley Fitzpatrick’s next book.