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Friday, February 8, 2013

Review: My Life Next Door

Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Release Date: June 14, 2012
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Pages: 394
Source: NetGalley
[add on Goodreads]
Summary: 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 Favorite Lines:
“He instantly covers my fingers with his own, giving me his slow, intoxicating smile. I feel a pang, as though I'm handing over a part of myself I've never offered before.”

Did you know that in space it's very, very cold? And there's no oxygen? And if an astronaut fell out of a shuttle without his suit he'd die right away?"

I'm a fast learner. "But that would never happen. Because astronauts are really, really careul."

George gives me a smile, the same dazzling sweet smile as his big brother, although at this point, with green teeth. "I might marry you," he allows. "Do you want a big family?” 

Why I Loved It:  It breaks my heart that I didn't read this first when I was approved for a NetGalley copy.  Life got busy and so on, sob story, and moving on.  There was a review of it a couple weeks ago that I saw, full of raving compliments which then led me to Goodreads, also full of raving reviews.  I knew then that it was time to read this book.  And so it began.

First off, the book meets all the hype head on with confident swagger.  *Yes, that is possible*  I mean the book just oozes confidence.  It's good and it knows it.  There is nothing more attractive than confidence. *Hence my unhealthy attraction to fictional bad-boy characters*

Sam, daughter of a wealthy state senator, meets the not-so-typical boy next door that lacks some of that wealth.  They come from completely different backgrounds, her's from a life with a huge void and his from a home full of love and life.  She is one of two children *many times feeling like the only one* and he is one of eight.  EIGHT!  Now I know a family of seven going on eight kids, so I can say that the author got the family dynamics completely right, though the family I know is a lot more conservative.  So minus the crazy hair dye, motorcycle, and the lack of girls in the room restrictions, I have seen this type of family in action.  The reality of the family is definitely helped by the fact that the author has six children.  That sounds so fun.

My favorite part of the book wasn't the love story.  It was Sam's interaction with Jace's family.  In all honesty, it was the huge sense of family all throughout the book that drew me in.  It's amazing how the absence of that type of love and devotion we only get from our families was filled in a small way by each member of Jace's family in Sam's heart.

 Now my issue, which I am prepared to receive all kinds of criticism and eye rolls for, is that I did not like how fast Jace and Sam's relationship went.  Call me old-fashioned, because I am, but buying condoms with a boy she only knew for about a month is a little crazy.  I know it's a book, but gah that seems fast for someone as level-headed as Jace was.  Anyways, it bugged me.  Otherwise I loved Jace. He was thoughtful, loved fixing things, and he had the heart that Sam needed.  My other tiny concern was that I wished for more resolution.  What happens with Jace and college, Jace's dad, and Sam with the swim team?

 I loved how the characters were totally turned around at times.  It was interesting to see which one of the twins ended up being there for Sam.  The author will make you love, hate, and laugh.  For a moment, you will long for a big family.

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