Rating: 4.9/5 stars
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 14th 2012
Length (hardcover): 394 Pages
“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 have quite a story for how I came across this book! I had found it on Goodreads approximately 36781 times, thought, ‘Perfect!’ and searched for it on the Kindle store, only to find there is only a Spanish version?! Have I not looked hard enough? So, I left it to collect dust in my to-read list. Until! One day, in one of my many favourite bookstores, there it was! My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. I grabbed it, of course. Beautiful cover, too.
So! I fell in love with this book a few pages in. I love the circumstances under which the “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” (as I affectionately name them) meet. *Spoilers ahead!* They’ve lived next door to each other for many years, Samantha (our “girlfriend) secretly spies on the Garretts (our “boyfriend’s” sizeable and extremely lovable family), out of sheer curiosity and no, I don’t think it’s creepy! Then, one night, Jase (“boyfriend”) just hops up there onto her balcony. The beginning begun!
The relationship between the two of them is adorable. It’s raw. So real! The plot twist in this book is creative. I did not see it coming, and I’m pretty sure I audibly gasped upon reading it, and earned myself some sideways glances from unsuspecting strangers. The internal struggle that Samantha faces is incredibly well-written. She fits right in with Jase’s family, but he’s a secret from hers. Too often I feel like adult authors forget what it was like to be a teenager. I know; we don’t have to pay bills or look after tiny humans but everything is relative! Huntley Fitzpatrick seems to understand. I think she portrays Samantha, Jase, and all of the other teenagers perfectly. And the setting! So vivid! I could hear the wind. And the young children (namely George)? How adorable they are? And hilarious? Oh, if only all children were like the Garretts. I’m going to be honest here; kids aren’t really my cup of tea in real life, but I always seem to ADORE them in books. You?
Read this book. Please. Scour bookstores across the globe. Hopefully you can find a copy. Hey, maybe you speak Spanish? That works. Or you could buy it online. That works too.
“You have to kiss me,” I find myself saying.
“Yeah.” He leans closer. “I do.”
Did I cry? Definitely.