Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door
by Huntley Fitzpatrick
on June 14, 2012
Hardcover: 304 pages
Ages 12+

From Goodreads: A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another

“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.

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At first glance this just seems like the typical young/forbidden/other side of the tracks love story with the boy next door. But the way it is written so well that I got sucked in and had a hard time putting this book down. One night I kept saying, just one more chapter, until I literally had to force myself to stop, or risk not being able to wake up the next morning.

What could have been, let's face it, an over the top story, completely works in Fitzpatrick's capable hands. She is a master manipulator and has created a world where the characters and their lives stay with you when you are not even reading.

This story is a classic example of not judging a book by its cover... From the rich girl with a senator mother, to the junkie boy who was kicked out of prep school and his smart going places twin, to the family next door with the house full of children just scraping by: No one is what they at first seem.

And the romance is so sweet. There is a bit of naivete to their relationship, but you get that it is the real thing and not just some summer fling. And Jase is definitely book boyfriend material. But he is not the only one. This is not a book centralized around the two main characters and their love. We get a glimpse into every aspect of their lives. At least from where we open up the story in medias res. But there is enough going on that it is easy to figure out what it must have been like for them growing up.

And Jase's huge family are not shoved into the background. They are a very loud unforgettable part of the story. Each sibling has their personalities spelled out, and although some might be hard to discern sometimes, there are others that stick out so far they grab your heartstrings and don't let go (George, especially).
When tragedy strikes, the right thing to do seems so obvious, but put in the context that Fitzpatrick does, you can see all sides of the situation. Ultimately, there is only one thing that can be done, but how to go about it is the big question.
The only problem I think I have with this book, and it isn't really the book at all, but the 12+ reading age. There are a lot of serious situations in this book that I am not sure all 12 year olds might be ready for. I feel this would be more of a parent discretion book if that child is that young. I might go 14+.
This is definitely a book I would recommend. 



8 comments:

  1. I agree with your review completely! I love this book too. The Garrett family is written so well I felt like I could imagine exactly what it is like to spend a day there. George stole my heart too, and of course Jase. Jase reminds me of my husband a little at that age. Though I didn't know him then he apparently had a room full of plants and creatures. His Mom didn't even know about all of them. Plus he was the oldest and watched his siblings as well as being good with fixing things.

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  2. Oh yeah... this book is so good. And there are definitely some situations that would be better for older teens, but I think you're right... with parent discretion it could be good for 12 and up. I think it's like with anything. It depends on the kid. And Jace was... sigh, my heart flutters just thinking about him.

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    1. Jase is great. It is not too often that you see the good guy as the main love interest. More often than not you see the Bad Boy as the one that all the girls want. This is a nice change from the norm.

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  3. I have been curious about this book. Your review makes me want to pick it up soon!

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    1. Thanks Andrea. I'm glad that you are raising it on your TBR pile. It is worth the read.

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  4. Lovely review! This one has been patiently waiting on my shelf, and after reading your review, I'm thinking it might be my next read. Thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. I am glad you are thinking of reading it soon after looking at it all this time. :) You will not be disappointed.

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    2. Read it over the weekend....WOW! Loved it. :)

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