Publisher: Dial Books
Release date: June 14, 2012
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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?
I absolutely loved this book. Both of Huntley Fitzpatrick’s books have been home runs for me.
If you’re looking for a book with a great summer romance, this is the one for you. It has a fabulous cast of characters and a really enjoyable plot. While it wasn’t the most unique and original plot I’ve ever read, it was very realistic and relatable… and I don’t think you can ask for more than that from a contemporary novel. I loved the way the story flowed. It was just so easy to read. The pace of the book was just right, not too slow and not too fast, which made it very comfortable to read. It did pick up in pace a little bit towards the end, and it became a real page-turner. I could not put it down. I really liked how the book ended, but I did want just one or two more chapters at the end to wrap up Sam and Jase’s story. But there is a companion novel coming out in mid-August and I guess we’ll be seeing more of them in that book.
I loved the characters in the book. Samantha was so easy to relate to, and I loved her voice. She was funny and it was just a lot of fun reading from her perspective. I did find her family and friends to be quite pretentious (which I think was the point), and I felt uncomfortable for her, which is something Huntley Fitzpatrick does so well. Her writing makes me empathise with her characters, and I really feel whatever they feel. There wasn’t a lot of character development, but I don’t think Sam needed a lot of development anyway. She just needed to stand up for who she wanted to be, and she did that, which was enough for me. I loved Sam’s relationship with Jase. It didn’t feel insta-lovey to me, and they came together in such a natural way. At times, there was some awkwardness but that made their whole relationship feel so real. They were adorable together, and became one of my favourite YA contemporary couples.
Jase is perfect. I said this about Cass from What I Thought Was True, also by Huntley Fitzpatrick, but Jase is even more perfect than Cass. Jase is just the ultimate good guy and I love that he’s just a nice and caring person. He’s got a great temperament and he doesn’t do stupid things. Best of all, he’s just in love with being in love. He’s great at fixing things, great with all of his younger siblings, and he’s also an animal lover. His bedroom is a zoo, with all different types of animals in cages and tanks. I loved this quote from the scene when Sam first visits his room and realises she’s interested in him:
“Maybe Jase Garrett is some sort of snake charmer. That would explain the animals. I look around again. Oh God, there is a snake.”
(The snake is called Voldemort by the way, which is just perfect). Jase also has the most adorable siblings. He’s the third of 8 kids and all of his siblings were fun and wonderful to read about. His 4 year old brother, George, is a genius who just spits out facts about the world and reads National Geographic Kids. George was probably my favourite of all of the Garretts (besides Jase). Patsy, the baby, is always being breast-fed and her first word was ‘boob’. I found myself wanting to be a part of all the chaos and fun.
There were some characters who I wasn’t sure about, and Tim was one of them. I did not like him at all at the beginning of the book but he grew on me. I don’t think we saw enough of him for me to completely change my mind about him. I feel like there was this gap in the middle that we didn’t see, where his character just developed really quickly. But the new companion novel, The Boy Most Likely To, is about Tim so I guess we’ll see a lot more of him and how he develops further.
I’m mostly just excited to read more about Sam and Jase.
6 thoughts on “Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick”
It’s funny isn’t it, I’m willing to overlook a slightly unoriginal book if the feelings are right, and I believe the story.
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Yes, absolutely! The thing with the contemporary genre is that it’s supposed to feel like real life and I want to be able to relate to the characters and the story. If it was a fantasy novel, then I’d look for originality.
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