Summary from Goodreads: 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?
In an interview with YA Bound, the author – Huntley Fitzpatrick – summarised her book in ten words. I think they also fit perfectly:
A girl who watches and a boy who knows it.
There are many reasons to read this book: the story is compelling, the writing flows and the voice is mostly natural. Some may say that it feels slow at times and maybe rushed at others. But isn´t it how life sometimes is? Slow, rushed and everything in the middle? Everybody always stayed in character. I could have come up with even more reasons to fall in love with My Life Next Door but I tried to contain myself.
1- George: One of Jase´s little brother. This child is ADORABLE. He is neurotic, granted but his worries and his wit make him so real and so cute and just a little child you want to protect to make sure that he doesn´t find additional reasons to worry about every single thing.
“His bed´s really comfortable and he never pees in it”
George gives me a smile, the same dazzling sweet smile as his big brother, although at this point, with green teeth. “I might marry you,” he allows. “Do you want a big family?”
I like that. You look like Sailor Supergirl.
2. Jase: There are not enough words to describe Jase. He is…confident, honest, mature, sexy, funny, smart, driven, athletic, real. He is the type of guy you can lean on, talk to, make a fool out of yourself with, have fun, laugh, do daring things. Yep. Quite a character.
3. Jase and Sam: For those two, I´m just going to put four quotes from the book. I think it pretty much says a lot about them.
“So now you’ve met my mother,’ I say to Jase that night, leaning back on the roof.
‘I sure have. That was awesome. And completely uncomfortable.
“You have to kiss me,” I find myself saying.
“Yeah.” He leans closer. “I do.”
But I like being Sam. I like being Jase´s Sam. It sounds relaxed, easygoing, competent. I want to be that person (Page 184)
And the way he does look at me makes me feel absolutely beautiful.
4. Jase´s parents, all of the Garrett family: What really amazed me in this book was how I could picture each and single one of the members of the Garrett family. The little one who says “boob” and “poop” a lot, Alice the angry one who´s actually quite tender, the other hot brother and I could continue but I will leave you with another of my favorites i.e. Andy:
Andy spends all her time on Facebook and reading, rereading Twilight again and again.
5. Tim: The way he speaks about Hot Alice, the way he messes a lot of things but he´s actually not that messed up, the way he was there for Sam when she was young and is still around and because he says things like this:
“Why do all the hot girls want the jocks and the good boys? We losers are the ones that need you.”
When to pick up this book?
- Great Summer Read (but really you could cuddle with it in all seasons)
- If you like Sarah Dessen or Jennifer Echols. Plus some of the first time moments did remind me of Judy Blume (!)
- When you’re in the look for a great set of characters
- If you want something which makes your heart feel warm
- As a writer: The Life Next Door shows how to handle many many characters while giving them all a different personality and something which stands out. They don’t fall flat.
- The kisses and the steamy sexy scenes
I am already anticipating Ms Fiztpatrick’s next book especially after getting a glimpse on what she’s working on (see below excerpt from an interview with YABound)
My next book, now tentatively titled, WHAT I THOUGHT WAS TRUE, takes place in the same region as MY LIFE NEXT DOOR, but features a very different couple—one who have had a rocky history. Gwen Castle has come from a long line of fisherman and cleaning women on her small, exclusive Island. Cass Somers is heir to a boat-building business, and Gwen’s Biggest Mistake Ever. Now that he’s spending the summer slumming it on “her” Island, can they get beyond their rocky past and find common ground.
I even dared to contact the author on Twitter (overcoming my shyness and all :-)) and she was so kind to answer my question!
So tell me, did you have good relationships with your neighbors as teenager?