ARC Review: My Life Next Door (My Life Next Door #1) by Huntley Fitzpatrick10:00
Series: My Life Next Door #1
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Published January 7th 2016 by Electric Monkey
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.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.
I had originally read and reviewed this book last summer, and when I heard that Huntley's book were finally going to be published in the UK, I thought I'd repost said review, with a few re-read tweaks, in order to gather the attention her books deserve!
Wow, just wow! I now understand why everyone seems to love this book so much.
In My Life Next Door we meet Samantha Reed, who seems to have the perfect life. Her mother is state senator Grace Reed, she goes to a private school, has good grades, etc., etc. However, she has always been intrigued by her next door neighbours, the Garrett's. Mr and Mrs Garrett moved in about ten years ago, and have eight children. They are also loud, and messy, and basically everything Samantha, her sister, Tracey, and her mother, aren't. When Jase, the third Garrett child comes into Samantha's life everything changes, mainly for the better. The Garrett's welcome Samantha with open arms, and she becomes like one of the family. Her and Jase fall in love, and everything is wonderful. Until it isn't.
I really loved the dynamics of both the Reed and Garrett families. Being an only children, I related more with Samantha, who seemed to be on her own for most of them time at the beginning. Though the Garrett's may be a slightly dysfunctional family, they all obviously love and care for each other, and would do anything for the family. The way they embraced Samantha was wonderful, and she definitely developed relationships with each member of the Garrett family, mainly Jase, George, and Andy. I did have a slight problem with how she kept her involvement with the Garrett's secret for the first half of the book, though I did understand why, what with her mother criticising them at every turn.
One character it's safe to I hated was Clay. He was a manipulative SoB, who did everything to further his own interests, going so far as to cause a crime later on in the book. He's Grace's new boyfriend, and is running the show in regards to her re election campaign. It was actually because of Clay that Samantha and Jase started talking, so I suppose that's something I should like him for.
With Grace running for re election, Samantha had a lot of time free, which she used to spend more time with Jase, the other Garrett's, and her friends Nan and Tim. Tim was amazing - an angsty, problem ridden boy, trying to overcome these issues, and succeeding. He was really there for Samantha when she was struggling with what was happening towards the end of the book, and I actually preferred him over his twin sister, Nan, as Samantha's best friend.
Jase and Samantha's romance was downright beautiful! It never felt rushed to me. Jase always wanted to be the best for Samantha, and though he had nothing to worry about, he questioned whether he was good enough for her. I honestly could not think of anyone better for Sam. Because of him, Sam came out of her shell, became less bigoted towards the Garrett's, like most of the town were, and questioned what was right and wrong. They both brought out the best in each other, and seemed like a real teenage couple.
As with most YA Contemporary books, something happens that causes a lot of angst, and could have MAJOR implications for the protagonists. I'm seriously glad that there will be a companion novel to My Life Next Door, about Tim and Alice Garrett, so that we can see how everything worked out after the somewhat vague ending of this book.
Nonetheless, I'm so glad I bought this book at Barnes & Noble while in Florida, as it was the perfect summer read. Re-reading the book again, when I received a UK ARC, made me fall in love with the book even more. If you haven't read this already, I would definitely get around to it ASAP. Now that Huntley's books are going to be published in the UK during 2016, you have no excuse not to get your hands on copies of the books!