My Life Next Door
Official Stuff –
Author – Huntley Fitzpatrick
Pages – 304
Publisher – Dial
“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?
My Rating – 4 Stars
You know what I loved about this book? Its total lack of supernatural beings, and brooding characters with dark pasts. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love bad boys and angsty characters and dark vampires/angels/fairies etc. as much as the next ex-goth chick that still shops at Hot Topic but sometimes it’s refreshing to read a book about a couple of regular people.
Samantha is a teenager girl, whose life it a little, well…lonely. Her father left before she was born, leaving her mom to raise her and her sister alone. But since her mother was a trust fund girl, Samantha never had to worry about a thing. Her mother is also a state senator (and a Republican. Ew. Lol) and hardly ever home. Since Samantha was a little girl, she has climbed out her bedroom window, onto a little terrace and watched the Garretts from afar. The Garretts are a huge family, eight kids in all. They are exactly as the officially summary states, loud, messy and affectionate. Samantha’s mom hates them. Her mom is one of those people that thinks big families are a crime against nature. She hates that they leave toys in their own yard, hates that Mrs. Garrett breastfeeds in public; basically Mrs. Reed just hates everything about them. It also doesn’t help that the Garrett’s are a little poor.
One night, while Samantha is doing her daily spying on the family next door, Jase Garrett climbs up her trellis to join her. Jase begins to suck Samantha into his life and she is more than willing. Their romance is cute, and realistic and actually healthy! She doesn’t blow off friends and family. Though she does keep their relationship a secret from her best friend, Nan. However Nan turns out later to be a not so good friend so that’s hardly an issue. She doesn’t blow off work or become completely dependent on him. Jase is just a good guy that likes animals and helps out at home and at his father’s hardware store. He has no past traumas, no crazy past sex life; he’s just a normal guy. (Seriously, I’m really hung up on that fact.) Jase and his father even help get Tim, Nan’s twin brother and also a friend on Samantha, off drugs and help him get a second chance at life. (Ok, I love my fiancé and all but I kind of want Jase for myself.)
With a reelection coming up, and her mom dating her campaign manager, Clay (who is really creepy) Sam’s mom is almost never home and Sam practically lives at the Garrett’s house. Until something unthinkable happens and Sam has to make a difficult decision that affects her family, the Garretts, and her relationship with Jase. Sorry to be so vague but I’m really trying to avoid spoiling!
So if I love this book so much, why only 4 stars instead 5? Well I have two issues with this book. One is almost every character in the book is despicable besides, Sam, the Garretts and Tim. Mrs. Reed is a terrible mom, Nan is a terrible friend, and Clay is just a terrible person. I feel like the author felt like she had to make the other characters horrible to make the Garretts more likable Which is unnecessary, the whole Garrett family is adorable. (Especially George. If you don’t love George after the first interaction between him and Sam, this book is not for you!)
Two is the “unthinkable thing” that happens has absolutely no repercussions and it pisses me off. It’s hard to describe without spoiling but I can’t imagine a single person letting something like that go without some sort of legal action but that also might have changed the whole tone of the book. So I get it but that doesn’t mean I think it’s acceptable.
Overall, loved this book. If you like sweet, realistic, romance stories, then definitely add this to your “To-Read” list.