Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Pages: 304
Publication Date: June 14th 2012
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers

The Basic Summary: If you didn't know her, it would seem that Samantha Reed has the perfect life. She's pretty, does well in school, and her family has money. Samantha should be content, but she's not. Samantha often finds herself on her room, spying on the neighbors next door. The Garrett's are everything that Samantha and her family are not. Loud, close, and numerous. For years, Sam has been spying on the Garrett's, watching them interact and grow with each other, dreaming about what it would be like to be a part of a family like that, and one night, she gets a chance to know. What happens after that is crazy and wonderful and confusing- it's her life next door.

My Review: Another book that I absolutely adored. If Samantha had attended my school, she's one of those girls who I would've written off as a snob. It's not because she's rude, in fact, she'd incredibly mild tempered. Samantha Reed is, for all intents and purposes, incredibly socially awkward. It's not that she's weird (she's actually quite normal), she just has a hard time relating to people, which is why she was not only an interesting character, but one I could relate to. The same goes for all the Garrett's. Each member of the Garrett family was oddly endearing and it quickly becomes clear why Samantha was so drawn to them. Samantha's mother, Senator Grace Reed, is a different story. I realize that she isn't exactly supposed to be liked, but Fitzpatrick may have gone a little overboard with the bad mother character. Grace has every negative personality trait anyone could possibly dream up for a fictional mother. She's vain, controlling, distant, but worst of all, she has a hard time owning up to her mistakes (this becomes quite important towards the end of the novel). Through all of this, Samantha still manages to come out relatively unscathed by her mothers poor choices, and for this, I am glad. I really enjoyed the romance aspect of this novel, and I am SO glad that Fitzpatrick didn't pull a classic YA romance move (you know, the one where the characters meet, and within 3 days are completely head over heels in "love" with each other?) Overall, this was a pretty good book, the story was convincing enough, and while it was primarily a novel about a romance between Samantha and Jase, Fitzpatrick still managed to cover other topics (addiction, friendships, making difficult decisions) and deal with them in a convincing way.

My Overall Opinion: I would definitely recommend this book to someone else, in fact, I'd gladly read it again, something I usually don't do with books. 

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