Title: My life next door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Genre: YA contemporary
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“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, 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.
Samantha Reed has lived a life of being the ‘good girl’ in her family. Her sister, Tracy, always acted out to catch the attention of their mother who is the senator of the state; but she spent a lot of time looking at the Garretts who lived next door. She’d spent time figuring out who was who, which kid was in trouble this time or who was where. They were a big family and lively noisily, in complete contrast to Samantha’s home where its mostly quiet and spotlessly clean.
Then one day, Jase Garrett climbs on to her spot when she was watching his siblings and her summer changed. She spends a lot of time around his family, even babysitting the younger kids sometimes and develops a crush on Jase.
Back at home, her mother is running for senator again and now a new guy called Clay has her mother wrapped around his pinkie. Whatever her tells her to do, she does, and he promises that she will win again. Samantha feels as if her mother is a stranger now and since Grace Reed is very busy with her schedule, Samantha spends all the more time with the Garretts. The Garrett family become her escape from the woman who does not at all act like her mother around Clay.
What’s happening to my mother? When did Mom ever listen to anybody but Mom?
There are three main issues in the plot.
- One is Samantha becoming close to the Garretts after all the comments made by her mom for years. She finally gets around her mother’s disagreement about knowing the Garretts.
- Two, her mother’s personality transformation ever since Clay was introduced into their lives.
- Three, and the most important, the accident.
Grace Reed becomes involved in a hit-and-run case a little more that half through the book and this crumbles everything around Sam. Following is a lot of heartbreak, tears and sadness. It finally does work out, obviously. Throw in abandonment by Sam’s best friend Nan for no absolute reason and she’s all alone.
The ending of the book could have been written differently. I understand that it would be difficult to end this amazing book right but I was left unsatisfied with the ending.
Lets talk about the characters:
1. Jase. He is an absolute cinnamon roll. Filled with determination, love for his family and is also a really talented boy.
2. Alice Garrett. She might act like a bitch but is a very good sister and is slightly authoritative.
3. Tim Mason. Brother of Sam’s best friend Nan. In the beginning we see him as this struggling boy who was expelled from three schools and is addicted to drugs. He recovers woth help from Sam, Jase and Jase’s father and he becomes a really good friend. By the end of the book, he is practically the best support person ever.
4. George Garrett. Cute, cute, hella cute, did I mention cute? Best parts of the book include this cute little honeybun. And for a four year old, he knows an excessive amount of facts learnt from discovery channel and national geographic.
I think of George’s somber face bent over his animal books, of all the facts at his fingertips. “George is like his own college,” I say. “Garrett U.”
On the whole, a very lovable book about two teenagers falling in love in summer break and also about family, relationships, some prejudices in society and how one teenage girl’s life can take a 180 degree turn in a few short months. Read it read it read it!