Series: My Life Next Door #1
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers on June 14th 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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"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.
I’m not exactly sure what perpetuates the idea of “The Boy Next Door”. All of my neighbors are meth addicts or kids. Well, respectively. I haven’t seen a lot of bleary eyed babies around here of late.
Anyway, seeing as that I’m not attracted to the concept of being high, nor am I a pedophile, you can see why I wouldn’t relate to Samantha’s problems.
Samantha is the daughter of a state senator, whose next door neighbors are a family of ten, AKA the Garretts. Jase Garrett is the love interest of this story, and they have an epic, and rather marshmallow fluff love story. And that’s basically it. Nothing particularly radical happens in this story. It’s what one might call a “summer read”, the kind where you sit in your beach chair with your Kindle and look at hot lifeguards and imagine yourself in this novel, having imaginary almost-sex with that steamy lifeguard.
The big “thing” at the end didn’t surprise me at all. That’s because, you know the copyright page at the beginning of books? You know how there’s a summary on it? Well that summary gives the big frugging thing away. However, I do have to admit, though I knew what happened, it gave me some chills reading Samantha’s narration during it. If Fitzpatrick had written the whole book like that moment, I’d have given this book eight million stars.
I wasn’t particularly happy with the romance in this either, though this is mostly a romance book. It was very rushed at the beginning. Let me give you an example. (Minor spoilers from first 100 pages)
I wanted to slam my head into a bed of nails, as that would cause less pain. I considered dropping the book, but I kept going. All of the characters were archetypes, as there were just too many of them. None of them were layered or that interesting, and all of them have the luxury of being white. True, Samantha didn’t much drama, but that’s not interesting.
In short, they were too goody-goody for my tastes. Which is okay, some people like that and I respect that. But people can be smart and bad. And NO, breaking curfew does NOT count as “bad”, Samantha. I’m thinking of bad like… like my high school’s valedictorian, who made a vagina joke to the Spanish teacher. That would get my palms sweating.
However, this book did redeem one star because of Nan, Samantha’s friend. I could identify with her because, I, too had a blonde, perfect, friend that I wanted to stab in jealousy and I always thought I was competing with. She was such a memorable character. From this, I can easily tell that Fitzpatrick knows how to write secondary characters- now can she do it for the main ones?
It redeemed another star because it became more readable as it eased off the romance, which I was rolling my eyes at. As much as I enjoy sexy time, tales of friendship are valuable as well.
All in all, you should give it a try, as I see everyone else has given this five stars, and I can’t deny it is a good book. Everything’s good, the characters are good, the plot is good, all is good in shangri-la. However, there just wasn’t that factor that pushed me over the edge. It was too safe in my opinion. So give it a shot, you won’t be disappointed, and I shall be reading Fitzpatrick’s novels in the future.