Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Book Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Series: Standalone
Published: June 14th, 2012
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
395 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Contemporary young adult romance
Acquired this book: Won from Amy at Book Goonie
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Purchase this book: Book Depository || Amazon}

GoodReads Synopsis: 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.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick is one of many amazing debut novels of 2012, and in my opinion, one of the best YA contemporaries of the year. This book made me feel so much - I fell in love, I laughed, I cried, I swooned, it made my heart ache, and it made me happy and angry and everything in between. It was sweet, funny, sexy, romantic, and real.

I really connected with Samantha. I felt everything she felt - the disappointment, uncertainty, love, hurt, anger. She was such a great character - so genuine and relatable. And I absolutely adored Jase. He was so calm and unflappable and he really saw Samantha when so many other people - including her own family - overlooked her and took her for granted. I admired his love and loyalty to his family, and his willingness to do anything for them. The Garretts were the best thing to ever happen to Samantha - she fit in with them, and they loved her, accepted her, and needed her.

Besides Samantha and Jase - who are easily two of my favourite characters ever - the secondary characters really made this book, whether you loved them or they made your blood boil. Jase’s siblings were great, especially George and Patsy, the youngest two. They were absolutely hilarious, and whenever they were in a scene, I was laughing out loud. Although Nan, Samantha’s ‘best friend’ made me really angry, I loved Nan's brother Tim. He was proof that sometimes screwed up people just need a second (or third, or fourth, or fifth) chance to get things right. I loved that he really came through for not only Samantha, but also for Jase and the Garretts after a rocky beginning, and a stretch of being a not-so-great friend. He’s someone I’d love to see more of…maybe in a companion novel? *hint hint Ms Fitzpatrick!* ;-)

I disliked Sam’s mother from the beginning - she was such a hypocrite, claiming in her political campaign that family was the most important thing, and yet she neglected and mistreated her own family. I literally felt my blood pressure rising through the last quarter or so of the book when things got really bad with her mom. I’m a slow reader, but I was zooming through the pages, hardly able to turn them fast enough to see what happened next. I couldn’t imagine how it was going to resolve, and I loved that added tension and depth.

My Life Next Door isn’t just about romance. It’s about friendship, family, loyalty, second chances, truth, and life. Lovable characters, a great plot and subplots, a swoonworthy romance, and excellent writing make this book a must-read for fans of contemporary young adult fiction.

On a side note, my mum - who’s 72, by the way - doesn’t normally read YA. I’ve been trying to get her to for years, and she read Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock during the summer, and I convinced her to read My Life Next Door, and she loved it! We're actually still talking about it. I may make a convert of her yet!

Have you read My Life Next Door? What did you think? What's your favourite contemporary YA book(s)?


  1. I bet the next time I go to the library or the book store, I'll be walking out with a copy of this because of you! :P

  2. @Jessica - hehe YAY! :-D It was awesome, I really think you'll love it, Jess! :-)

  3. I might need to grab this one, too. Going to be doing another shopping trip soon, so we shall see. :) Great review!

  4. I have this one on my shelf and can't wait to read it! I've seen so many wonderful reviews already! :)

    Thanks for sharing, Marie!

  5. Argh! Everyone is raving about this one. It makes me want to pick it up right this minute!

  6. OKAY SO. I have read it, and swooned over it. I wanted to show your review some love because you really did an amazing job of highlighting the good, ESPECIALLY that the characters were so awesome. I related a lot to Samantha, too. And TIM. I am like PRAYING for some companion novels. I saw that her next book is set in the same area so I'm hoping we get a glimpse of the characters. I just, I feel like I KNOW them now and I didn't want to say goodbye!

    Fab review, Marie. The writing really was excellent - so enjoyable, so down-to-earth, not fancy but engaging!


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