Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Life Next Door

By Huntley Fitzpatrick
4 / 5 Gnomes

“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?

~Amazon Description~

So this book contains all of my favorite summer reading criteria.  It’s a swooney, coming-of-age(ish) story with fun, memorable characters and moments.  It’s book candy for those of us who just can’t get enough of lighthearted yet emotional teen romances and the boy next door, literally in this case.

Samantha has been watching the Garrett family next door for years.  Her uber-clean, non-nonsense mother always discouraged neighborly friendliness, but there was just something Samantha admired about the super big, messy family.  Then one night, Jase Garrett climbs her trellis and into her life.

Let’s talk about Jase.  Let me start out by saying that Jase might be right up there with Sarah Dessen’s Wes from The Truth About Forever.  He’s a genuinely kind, compassionate, level-headed boy who respects girls and appreciates honesty.  Plus is cute, which just kind of makes him the total package.  And that leads to my one problem with the book.  Jase is just too good to be true.  Nothing rattles him, he’s super quick to forgive, and the boy has, like, zero flaws.  No one is that wonderful.  I wish they were, but I find it highly unlikely and a bit fantastical.  I still adored him and was more than willing to overlook his near perfect being.

Samantha wasn’t so bad herself.  She wasn’t whiney or needy.  She might have been privileged, but she didn’t care about money and held two summertime jobs.  And like Jase, she was genuinely kind and compassionate, and apparently had nerves of steel because, dude, her mother is awful.  I MEAN AWFUL!  Mrs. Reed is a local politician with dreams of bigger and better arenas that has fallen for the consultant from uugghh, and, to top it all off, is a compulsive vacuumer and neat freak.  Fitzpatrick did a great job of mirroring the coldness of her mother with the coldness of a home that was more like a museum.

Finally, my favorite character, George.  George is one of Jase’s 7(1/2) brothers and sisters, and George likes to watch educational television.  The problem with educational television and George is that George misinterprets much of what he hears and is terrified that everything is going to kill him.  He needs constant reassurance that eskimo ice cream is not actually made of eskimos and that sharks do not live in the family pool.  He’s adorable and sincere, and hilarious pantsless for ¾ of the book.

My Life Next Door might sound like fluff, but it has substance which is always refreshing.  This debut books shows great promise, and I eagerly away Fitzpatrick’s next novel.  If you’re a fan of Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, or E. Lockhart, definitely check out My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.

1 comment:

  1. This book has been on my TBR list for ages and I haven't gotten round to reading it yet, but reading your review of it reminds me of all the reasons why I put it on my list! I'm not used to people saying about male characters being too good, usually its the whole bad boy debate that I read about, so this is actually quite refreshing. Will be nice to read a book with a good boy in it.
    Hearing that Jase has 7 brothers/sisters has actually made me even more excited for this book. I love books with big families with loads of siblings, their interactions and relationships are always brilliant. One of my favourite is the Benedict brothers from Joss Stirling's Benedict series. George sounds brilliant though!
    This review has definitely moved this book up to the top of my (enormous and ever growing) TBR list! Thanks for a great review and for once again getting me excited about a book that I had completely forgotten about!


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