Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers (June 14th, 2012)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 395 pages
Source: ARC Tour
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
"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 trellis and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love and stumble through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first romance, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own - even as she keeps him a secret from her disapproving mother and critical best friend. Then the 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?
I highly enjoyed My Life Next Door. It is a sweet romantic contemporary with a group of fabulous characters. This book doesn't just revolve around two people, it truly incorporates 2 entire families.
Samantha is a good girl and she is used to a "buttoned up" life since her mother is a politician. She spends a lot of time alone and, occasionally, she admires the Garretts. The Garretts are a huge family full of rambunctious kids. They way they act seems crazy to Samantha, but deep down, she wishes she was part of that family.
Then one day Jase comes up (literally) to introduce himself and invite her over. This introduces Samantha to a household that could not be further from her own. Although the Garretts are a bit messy and uncontrollable, Samantha enjoys seeing how much love they have for each other. And it doesn't hurt that she and Jase have established a nice little romance.
Although Samantha's mother is physically there sometimes, she has little to do with Sam and doesn't really acknowledge her or her feelings. She's just pushed into one political situation after another so Sam fights the loneliness by surrounding herself with the family next door. Then after a tragedy strikes, Sam is put in a terrible position and she doesn't know what to do.
First, I found myself falling in love with the Garrett household! It reminded me of my childhood hanging out with my best friend at her house where she had 3 other siblings running around. I, being an only child, was amazed by the craziness, but at the same time I longed for my own siblings to have around. This really helped me to connect with Sam's character. Jase and his family helped her to break out of her normal routine and open up to people.
Jase was wonderful! He was so kind-hearted, responsible, and passionate. He showed Sam how important it is to never judge others. The twist in the story is definitely dramatic and it was nice to see how Sam decided to handle it. Sam's mother was so frustrating and I just wanted to scream at her! Yes, this book brings out some intense emotions. :) Huntley Fitzpatrick did a great job portraying 2 completely different families and showing how, in the end, people just want love and attention.
Recommended: Contemporary fans looking for a sweet romance, lots of great characters, and a nice twist!