Release Date: June 14, 2012
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"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?
It looks like Samantha Reed has the perfect life—proof that looks can be deceiving. Her mother, who is a senator and running for re-election has always liked everything in her life—and by extension, her daughter's lives—to be a certain way.Their family home looks more like a show house, she expects nothing but the best grades and every thing should be done with the "perfect family" image she feels her constituents expect in mind. One evening while Samantha is outside her bedroom window on the ledge—after a strange encounter with her mother's new campaign manager—contemplating and watching the Garretts (the next door neighbours and family of ten), Jase climbs into her life. Samantha slowly starts to live her life instead of existing in her mother's.
I thoroughly enjoyed every page of My Life Next Door. I love being able to sense a difference between the Samantha we meet in the beginning and the one on the last page. The relationship between her and Jase is one of the most realistic I've read. It develops and doesn't just happen. Fitzpatrick writes a teenage relationship how it could honestly progress and not an edited version where they have the mind and feelings of someone their age, but don't feel genuine in certain aspects.
Like Samantha, I never saw the twist and difficult decision she has to face coming. Difficult doesn't begin to describe the situation and position she's put in, but then you find out that the major plot has a another twist of its own—raising the stakes that much more.
This debut is a touching and true story about more than first love that ably captures the teenage voice. It's proof that you don't need any supernatural elements to be completely riveted. I can't wait to read what Huntley Fitzpatrick has in store next.
I think fans of Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits would enjoy this.