Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Release Date: June 14, 2012
Publisher: Dial Books

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?  - Goodreads.com

I waited a very long time to read this story, and I was really hoping that it wouldn't disappoint me because I had built it up so much in my head based on the summary.  I shouldn't have been worried.  My Life Next Door was exactly what I expected, and more.

Samantha's home life with her mom isn't a bad thing, but her mom has some firmly held prejudices against large families like the Garretts, and she's a politician so her time with Sam and her sister is limited and sometimes seems superficial.  It's not hard to see why Samantha would have been drawn to life over the fence when she spends so much time watching the loving chaos that comes from the Garretts home.  There were times, when hearing Jase describe the way strangers in a grocery store treat his mother, asking questions like "You know there's birth control," that I had admit to having once shared a similar opinion of families that have so many kids.  But seeing this awesome family interact together, their love for each other, and how fun and loving they were, made me take a much different view.  They were quirky, caring, fun, and so loving with each other.  You had to love them.  And the scenes where Samantha interacts with them are some of my favorites in the book.

Her relationship with Jase is so sweet and endearing.  This guy comes from a wonderful family who loves each other, and being the product of that, he has an amazing character.  Sweet, gentle, responsible, and with an indefinable quality that really opens Samantha up and makes her realize what she's missing.  And for her part, Samantha was quiet at first, but opens up and fits right in with the Garretts.  She's strong enough to know what's right later in the book.

There were times in this book when I just wanted to grab her mother and shake her until her teeth rattled.  This woman was judgmental and hypocritic so much that it was hard to see her redeeming qualities, even if she did have them.  But I had to remind myself that people make mistakes and that it's possible to be redeemed from them.

I can't really say anymore without revealing too much for those who haven't read the book.  But suffice it to say, this book had a wonderful mix of intrigue, romance, mystery, and a little humor.  It was a perfect summer read, but with a little something extra that made it more than just a summer book.  There were some great life lessons here.

The authors writing was beautiful and engaging, and I flew through these pages and was disappointed when it had to end.  This was really a great book.


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