Monday, June 24, 2013

Book Review: My Life Next Door

My Life Next Door
Published By: Dial
Publication Date: June 2012
Page Count: 400
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

Summertime means my Kindle is constantly loading YA contemporaries. There is just something about them that I crave this time of year. I've heard so many good things about My Life Next Door that I decided to bump it up on my TBR list. 

Samantha's summer is following the same pattern as it always does - she works, attends her mother's political events, and follows the schedule her mother sets forth for her free time. Samantha rarely follows her own path and never rocks the boat, but all that changes the moment Jase Garrett climbs up her trellis. Jase is one of the Garretts who lives next door - a large, chaotic, vibrant family that inspires scorn and ridicule from Samantha's mother.

The relationship between Samantha and Jase begins innocent enough, but they soon learn that there feelings can't be ignored. As the weather heats up, so do their emotions. The romance between these two sizzles off the page and kept me reading. I will say it isn't something I could recommend to younger teens because of some sexual situations, but I did appreciate that responsibility was a major focus. Neither Jase or Samantha makes choices concerning their relationship lightly. They think through everything and are sure to do what is right for them. This relationship was certainly the strength of this story.

I was nervous the entire time I was reading because I knew at some point the conflict would rear its ugly head and throw a wrench into Jase and Samantha's relationship. Fitzpatrick throws in a wrench so huge I never could have predicted it. 

In addition, I also really love the commentary on choices, responsibility, and judging others. I think Fitzpatrick raises some really important issues - particularly about how one perceives families that are different from one's own. I know that I have been guilty of making snap judgements about people without truly knowing them. Grace's actions - while more extreme than anything I would ever do or say - made me want to be a little more accepting in my future interactions.

One of my favorite aspects of this novel was George, Jase's younger brother. George cracked me up and stole my heart from the beginning. I loved him!

My biggest complaint with this one was that the beginning dragged a bit. Samantha's life felt a little mundane at times. I didn't really care about her friendship with Nan or her relationship with her sister and mother. I did enjoy Samantha's interactions with the Garretts more than anything else. I began to dread the segments of the book where one or more Garrett was not present. I also kept waiting for something horrible to happen. I think now that I know the source of the conflict, I could reread and enjoy this one more.

In the end, I really enjoyed this one, but not as much as I had hoped to enjoy it. Fans of YA contemporary romances and those who are interested in socioeconomic status in YA fiction, will enjoy this one. I couldn't help rooting for Samantha, loving the entire Garrett family, and wishing for Tim to snap out of his funk. At its heart, this is a story about love, family, and forgiveness. My Life Next Door is character driven and realistic - a perfect summer read.


One Last Gripe: I was so angry with Tim's parents for ignoring their son's problems.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: Jase and Samantha's relationship

First Sentence: The Garretts were forbidden from the start.

Favorite Character: Jase

Least Favorite Character: Nan



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.

6 comments:

  1. Everyone loved this book but me! I felt there wasn't enough conflict and that some plot points were missing. I also had problems believing some things ( like Jase being "poor" but living next door to her).

    I'm glad you liked it though. And I think from your review I can understand why it's so popular.

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    1. The socioeconomic thing with Jase didn't bother me really. I understood that they bought the house before the downturn in the economy and anyone would have less money with so many children to support. I can certainly see your point about conflict.

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  2. Lol. You and I had about the exact same opinions! I thought the book dragged on a bit but their relationship was so cute! Great review(:
    Jackie

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    1. The characters and the relationship made this book worthwhile for me.

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  3. I really liked this book too. I just thought the relationship between Jase and Samantha was awesome. And Nan was my least favorite character too! She was just so Ugh! But George was too cute. He cracked me up. I think he might have been my favorite character. Great review!

    ~Sydney@Pika Pages

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    Replies
    1. George was in the running for my favorite character too. I adored him.

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