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.
(Description from Goodreads)
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I’m a total sap – I love a good romantic read. Of course, in the past whenever I have read a YA romance novel, I haven’t truly been impressed with the characters, as teenage angst and immaturity are typically present. That is not the case with this book. Again, I was drawn in the cute cover – I’m am a total sucker for pretty or cool looking covers. I’m glad I decided to get this book though. It was a stunning YA romance book, and definitely is a great summer read.
As the description says, Samantha is the main character of the book (it’s all from her perspective.) She comes from a single parent home where she (along with her older sister and mother) live in a picture-perfect world; everything is absolutely spotless and the world is practically handed to them on a platter. The total opposite lives next door in the form of the Garretts, as they are a large family, who work hard for what they have and are usually down on their luck. Despite this, Samantha constantly watches the family from her balcony (I wish I had had a balcony from my room when I was a seventeen-year-old!) After a chance encounter with Jase, one of the Garretts, Sam’s world turns all around.
First of all, Sam and Jase are extremely mature for their age; there was also none of that teenage angst present that typically follows along in YA books. Though Sam and Jase come from different backgrounds, they are extremely compatible with one another. Jase seems like he’s the perfect catch: caring, strong, goal-oriented, loving, family-oriented, and so many other qualities that are outstanding, especially for a teenage boy. The characters were extremely likable, including Tim, the alcoholic/druggie brother to Sam’s best friend, Nan. I found myself enjoying ever single character, even if they were the “bad” characters (they were all so realistic.) Each character had a real personality, even the characters who only showed up a few times. They were all REAL.
With any YA book (heck, sometimes even books that aren’t YA) there is bound to be drama. But drama is not always a bad thing. In My Life Next Door, the drama makes the story progress. At one point, Sam and her best friend, Nan, have tension come between them, creating teenage girl drama. However, instead of being immature drama, it is the kind of drama that one could possibly relate to (I won’t say what happens, as that would spoil it.) I enjoyed that the drama wasn’t what defined the book; instead, it just helped it move along.
The writing style of this book was amazing. Maybe it’s just a stereotype I have in my mind, but I usually place YA romance novels with being slightly cheesy. That is not the case with this book. The words float on the page (getting poetic here) and draw you in further and further; every chance I had to read this book, I took it and would end up forgetting the world around me, as I was engrossed in the story. Fitzpatrick definitely has a talent for writing.
The only hangup I have from this book is the ending. Perhaps this is the sap in me coming out, but I wanted something more…defining? I wasn’t exactly satisfied with the ending, but again, it was a more realistic ending for how the events of the book turned out. I still enjoyed it, even if it wasn’t what I would have wanted to happen.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in YA romance and young love. It was a whirlwind of a story and I was sad to see it come to an end. Love, love, love!