My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

12294652Book Review:
Published June 14th 2012 by Dial Books For Young Readers
394 pages | goodreads-badge-add-black-38px
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.

Book Review: 3.5 stars
~ Beware this review contains spoilers ~

I’m not sure why I have been in such a romantic mood lately, but the last three books I’ve read have been contemporary romances…maybe i’m developing a soft spot. 

My Life Next Door is a summer romance, and you definitely have to be in the mood for a first love kind of story. A story that makes you think back to the first time you were ever in love, maybe even with the boy next door. Samantha was an ok protagonist. In all honesty she did lose me towards the end. Maybe it was an immaturity thing, or an over bearing mother thing, but in the beginning she was a very weak character. Weak in the sense that she didn’t stand up for herself even when she knew a situation was wrong. Of course this all changes when she actually meets Jace. There was definitely character growth which I admired in Fitzpatrick’s writing.

I loved Jace! His kindness, love of animals and ability to fix things….if anybody knows me they know that I am always breaking machinery.13678-Rooftop-Kiss I’m just saying that someone like him would be handy to have around, and of course him being easy on the eyes wouldn’t hurt. The conflict that arose, which arises in every contemporary novel before they ‘fingers cross’ get back together, I thought was a bit unrealistic. As a reader it felt like the author had started off by writing this book about relationships and motivation but then Fitzpatrick had to end it but couldn’t figure out how. This was at about the 3/4 mark and I just lost interest. Although the dialogue during the ‘break up scene’ was heart wrenching the cause of it made me just go – well OK.

One thing that I really enjoyed reading was the relationship development between Sam and Nan. I loved the comparison between their boyfriends and overall relationships as well, and how this began to affect their friendship. I think we have all probably been friends with someone who becomes an incredibly negative person when they are stressed, or says mean things when they see you succeeding. Its people like Nan who I no longer make time for. For someone who was supposed to be Sams best friend, she didn’t really show an ounce of support nor happiness when Sam was actually happy.

Hence the characters were rather realistic. Even Sams mother who frustrates me down to the bone, well I’ve met people who are exactly like her. Even Tim as drugged up young man who no longer sees the point in anything, I’ve known people like him. The writing style made it easy to fall for the characters. Especially Tim who says the funniest things, but I still think a bit more humour could have been added in. Even so I loved the concept of something being just out of reach for most of your life and then the day that you get it you feel like your life has just begun.

The book was a beautiful light read with a cast of incredibly real characters.

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