My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
"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?
A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another. (Goodreads)
My Life Next Door is a fun, sweet, YA Contemporary Romance that focuses on the developing relationship and first love of Samantha and Jase. Fans of the YA Contemporary Romance genre, Katie McGarry, Sarah Dessen, and Susane Colasanti will definitely enjoy this offering. I know I read it in only one day and I cannot wait for more!
I really enjoyed the focus on family, friendships, and first love. I loved the romance between Samantha and Jase - getting to experience their first "love", it was heartwarming and feel good - it just made you want to smile. The romance was fun and sweet, I was definitely in love with the Garrett family - I always wished I had a big, loving family and it was so great to read about them. I was definitely intrigued by them and wanted to see and hear more about each of the members - especially little George!
I think one of the strengths of the story was the interesting and varied characters. Whether I liked the characters or not, I found them intriguing and was eager to learn more about them and their backstory. I even found myself surprised by Fitzpatrick's ability to change my mind about a character - to expand upon a character and describe their growth and mold that character I didn't think I would like into one I looked forward to reading about. I obviously enjoyed George, Jase, and Sam - but surprisingly enough I was also intrigued by Tim! I liked that Sam wasn't necessarily "typical" - she was intelligent, observant, quiet, reserved and calm. I also enjoyed Jase for being this amazing person: level-headed, sweet, respectful, caring, and above all interesting.
One thing that I really enjoyed was reading about the relationship between Sam and her mother and hearing about her home life. I think the personality of her mother and their tense relationship is one many might be able to relate to. I always find it enjoyable in literature to see a variety of parenting styles and relationships between families. Not everyone comes from a perfect home, and I liked the contrast to the families in the story - nothing was "perfect" on either side and their were ups and downs for both sides.
While I very much enjoyed the story, there are a few things I could say I wished for during it. One thing I would have liked to see would have been a little more of a focus on a functional friendship - it would have been a nice touch to see that either Sam or Jase had a good friend outside of one another. However, that's more of a nitpick.
I did struggle with the main climatic episode of the book - it was very hard to read and wrap my head around, especially how certain characters dealt with it. (I won't say too much, I'd rather be vague than give away too much.) The climax of the story was very dramatic, but I think I would have preferred a different situation as the climax of the story. The storyline for me was a bit hard to take and wrap my head around or think how the characters could move on from. Maybe I wouldn't feel that way as much as I do, but the story was left rather open-ended and unresolved for me on a number of levels. Although, this might have to do with the fact that it appears there will be a second book.
Overall, I really enjoyed the story - the flow was great, the characters fun, the story intriguing. I would recommend it to a friend, and I will definitely be picking up the next one in the hopes of getting some more answers! Despite my nitpicks, I read this book in one day - it held my attention and it left me feeling a bit adrift: I wanted more! Immediately! So if you haven't had the chance, I'd say definitely give this one a try.
What Happened To Goodbye - Sarah Dessen
Stealing Heaven - Elizabeth Scott
Dare You To - Katie McGarry
Perfect Chemistry - Simone Elkeles
When It Happens - Susane Colasanti
4 out of 5 Doxies - Liked it a lot, definitely worth the read - I know I'll be reading more by this author!