My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick [G!veaway Alert]

Publication Date: June 14th, 2012
Dial for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover, 394 pages
RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars
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.

This book made me smile like a doofus; even at times when I wasn’t supposed to . It was just one of those super romantic book that will take you down the memory lane and remember the awkwardness of first meeting, the anticipation of getting to know one another and the sweet, sweet feeling of falling in love (look at me all sappy and sickly sweet!). And in the backdrop is a story about a chaotic but happy family – ideal to some, but suicidal to others. I absolutely loved this book. It has the most mature teenagers, minus all the usual drama and angst of the pubescent life. Totally involved parents (Jase’s), adorable, intelligent little kids and the most heartfelt, feel-good, sweet and sappy story of love and family.

Samantha has only ever known the Garretts from afar most of her life. She’s made it her daily entertainment to watch them from her perch. Their chaotic, messy but very loving family dynamics was very different from hers; orderly, neat, quiet. Then one night, as she sat on her terrace, Jase Garrett unexpectedly joined her. Sam’s life has never been the same since. Instantly, she was pulled into the vortex that is the Garretts; eight children – all with larger than life personalities eager to bring her into the fold. Soon after that, a relationship between her and Jase developed. She was happy, content, FULL. Until it was all taken away in a blink of an eye. She’s left to make a choice, one that could either destroy her relationship with her own family or make the boy she loves, hate her.

Choices. They suck when you have to be the one to make them. Poor Sam. They say you can’t possibly know what the right thing to do until it’s staring at you in the face and I was glad that the author didn’t conveniently make her do the right thing right away. It took courage to do she had to do but in th end, the difficult decision was all hers to make. I couldn’t imagine what I would’ve done had I been in Sam’s feet especially at her age. But this girl was so put together. She was one of the most likable, well-conceptualized, well-rounded character I’ve ever read. She didn’t do drama but she was far from unemotional or an unreachable character. She’s got a good head on her shoulders – steady and stable. Even when the Garrett’s life was falling apart and she knew the reason why and even when her own life was falling apart she was remarkably staid.

Jase Garrett is a freaking saint; he was good, ideal and was detrimental to the health of any woman within a ten-mile radius. If there was such a thing as a perfect book boyfriend, the boy is it.

VERDICT: Read this book – if not for the amazing story within its pages but for the chance to meet some worth-knowing characters. This is how contemporary fiction should be done.

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