My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door 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 dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

Characters:

Samantha lives a seemingly charmed life.  Her mother is a state senator in Connecticut and they have a comfortable lifestyle, thanks to her mother’s political career and trust fund.  But, from the beginning, I felt that, despite her friends and her family, Samantha is lonely. She watches the big, boisterous family next door, the family her mother abhors because they’re loud, messy, and numerous. As Samantha watches the Garrett family from her roof, she is certain she isn’t being observed in return.

Jase Garrett is the third child of eight living next door to Samantha, though at first she can’t really tell which he is. When Jase climbs up to her roof and inserts himself into her ordered life, he also makes Samantha a part of his by bringing her into their home and being there for her in a way that her “friends” and family haven’t been.

Conflict:

Samantha’s sister is gone for the summer and Mrs. Reed is busier than normal with her career.  Sam’s best friend, uber-competitive and type-A personality, Nan, is worried about her own relationship and academic career.  Samantha’s other friend, Nan’s brother, Tim, is on a downward spiral and there is nothing that anyone can do about it because he doesn’t want help.

Samantha’s mother does not and never has liked the Garrett’s. She’s one of the people who would stop Mrs. Garrett in the grocery store to tell her how stupid/selfish she is to have so many kids, except she doesn’t deign to acknowledge them other than to look on them in disdain.  Mrs. Reed is running for re-election and her new boyfriend/campaign manager is way too insightful and morally-deficient for anyone’s good.

Samantha’s new relationship with Jase and his family is a welcome distraction from all the loneliness of the summer.  She becomes ingratiated in the Garretts and comes to love them all, especially Jase, but cannot bring herself to tell anyone else close to her about her new-found friends.  She knows her mother would not like or allow this new relationship, but also that her friends wouldn’t exactly understand.

Overall Thoughts:

I really liked this book.  I was sympathetic to Samantha and liked her because she wasn’t prejudiced just because her family was richer and more socially acceptable.  Jase’s family was large and money was tight, but they had a love that was enviable and, like everyone else I know who’s read and loved this book, I loved this family.  Samantha’s mother, on the other hand, was horrendous and I HATED HER. There was so much about her method of parenting and being a human being that I disliked, she seemed irredeemable and selfish.  There is a lot of other things I liked about the book.  Jase is swoon-worthy and sweet. There was so much about him to love. Tim was another character I really liked, despite his issues and his way of coping with those issues.

Then there were the auxiliary characters, Nan, Mrs. Reed’s boyfriend, Clay, and Jase’s family.  All of them contributed to the story in a way that made Jase and Samantha closer, faster.  But Samantha’s capacity to keep secrets really messes a lot of different things up.  I understood the way she handled things, and probably would have done the same.  In the end, I didn’t see a way out of the mess that would allow for a happy ending, which is always interesting when you’re reading a book.  It’s the mark of a good author that they can find their way out of the corner they’ve painted themselves into, especially if the solution is believable.

Pecans:  4.5/5

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

  1. Alice in Readerland April 12, 2013 at 12:07 pm Reply

    This sounds so good! The Garrett family sounds like fun, and I’m definitely curious about the ending now after your last paragraph! 🙂 Great review!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

    • Daphne April 12, 2013 at 2:18 pm Reply

      some of the conflict towards the end was surprising and really added to the story in a bite your nails kind of way.

  2. Brittany April 12, 2013 at 2:07 pm Reply

    Oh geez Louise, why have I still not read this one yet!?!? I have it and I NEED to read it! It just sounds so swoony 🙂

    • Daphne April 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm Reply

      it’s really great. i am glad i finally opened it!

  3. Lucy April 12, 2013 at 11:25 pm Reply

    I loved this book too. I really miss the Garrett’s, and Jase/Samantha. And yes Samantha’s mom was horrible! The ending was a little uneven for me but still a very solid read. Glad you enjoyed it! Fab review 🙂

  4. bookgoonie April 15, 2013 at 5:49 am Reply

    I bought it for the school. I need to read it. I can’t wait to meet Garrett’s family.

  5. Alexa Loves Books (@alexalovesbooks) April 25, 2013 at 11:35 am Reply

    I’m so glad that you enjoyed My Life Next Door! I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started reading it, but I fell in love with the story, with Jase and Sam, with the Garretts. It’s such a lovely book, despite the craziness of the last part, and I think it would make a perfect summertime read!

  6. Top 10 Tuesday #71 | Gone Pecan May 14, 2013 at 7:30 am Reply

    […] you can really read back to back.    5.  My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick – Daph reviewed this one.  Such a great debut.   ~*~   Daphne: I have to start by saying that I’m not much […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: