Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Release Date: June 14, 2012
Publisher: Dial Books For Young Readers
Description: 394 pages, Young Adult Contemporary
“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 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?
On The Right Side Of The Wrong Bed
For as long as I can remember, I have been apprehensive of books under the contemporary genre. I have been under the impression that the pragmatism behind such books would defeat the purpose of reading, an escape from the harsh realities of life come to naught. But that was once upon a time, and this is now. My Life Next Door was a piquant and captivating read, adorable one second and electrifying the next. Though I did find myself in a bit of a tight spot as I tried to cope with the leisurely pacing, I was thoroughly impressed with the writing style, forthright with its simplicity. Though the romance in the book could easily have been classified insta-love, I was fascinated by the way the author managed to move around it, keeping me under the pretense that Jase and Samantha had known each other for years. Despite how the ending seemed breakneck and abrupt, I for once admired the unrestrained, somehow open-ended conclusion that simultaneously left me unfulfilled and satiating, introducing me to one side of contemporary once unbeknownst, but now sweepingly endeared and appreciated.
In Silent Observance
Samantha Reed was the daughter of a politician, one of stern, draconian upbringing. Though I envied her the ease at which money flowed through, I could not deny the admiration of the fact that she was down-to-earth and plainspoken, not at all the prissy, Jase-centered girl I was expecting. Though I could have done without her constant second guessing, I found myself growing increasingly attached to her character, finally understanding the impact of the consequences she had to face on a daily basis. Samantha’s troubles were a challenge to relate to, yet easy to empathize with. Well into the book, I found her character in a state of development, ultimately admiring her eagerness to step out of the shadow of reluctance and into the light of self-confidence. She was loyal to her friends in the midst of trial and misconception, and at the same time had the strength not to let emotions get the best of her and lead her to ruthlessness. She stood for her beliefs without being boorish and impertinent, and in terms of Jase, I was impressed by the extent of her self-control. The romance was idyllic without being sloppy, and the scenes between Jase and Samantha were heartwarming without being over-sentimental. Safe to say I hold her in esteem.
Shot Through The Heart
Jase was, predictably, six feet of pure muscle, tufts of boyish hair, mesmerizing hazel brown eyes, and charm enough for total infatuation. I of course, was one of the unsuspecting many. Jase was a romantic, earnest and persevering son, brother, and boyfriend, chasing after an endless dream. I admired him his passion for excellence and uncompromising demeanor, which of course, served only to highlight his gentle perfection. He made sure to take things slow with Samantha, at her pace, not his, and I loved how effective he was when it came to fixing broken things, machine or otherwise. He was softhearted as well as good-looking, such that swoon-worthy would not even begin to cover it. He, however, was not the best part. George was one of the many adorable Garrett spawn, made out of pure cutesy and adorable. His childish one-liners cracked me up multiple times, and I loved how he could lighten the drudging mood in the blink of an eye. Tim was a sarcastic prig with a shitload of problems, but insofar as the book went, he was one of the most honest and realistic, slowly becoming one of my favorites. Though the rest of the characters lacked in depth, I was glad to note that the ones who mattered most made it count.
And You’re Too Late
Overall, My Life Next Door was a breezy and interesting read, a book that would serve an unorthodox, yet perfectly logical form of relaxation for one on vacation, and looking for adventure. Though the pacing was much too gradual for my taste, I found myself thoroughly immersed in the story somewhere through the middle-end. It was predictable at times, yet it kept me excited for scenes between Jase and Samantha, Samantha and the Garretts, and just about anything remotely involving Tim. The conclusion left the door ajar, and would probably bother those who would rather a solution to each and every problem, yet I myself loved the simple resolve, and would recommend this book to all those looking for a feel good title.
If you are interested in contemporary books with a modern family twist, set against a backdrop of politics and reticent secrets that dramatically raise the stakes for everyone involved, then I suggest you waste no time picking this book up, because I can guarantee you some form of enjoyment.
So what do you think of this book? If you haven’t read it, will you? And if you’re wondering what those nifty little buttons are, and what they stand for, check them out here!