Samantha Reed has lived next door to the Garrett’s for ten years, but has never spoken to any of them. One day, Jase Garrett, one of the many Garrett children, climbs up to Samantha’s roof. Just like that, her world is turned upside down. Samantha falls in love with Jase, his crazy family, and their life next door. It seems like the perfect boy/girl next door fairy tale, except Samantha’s mother doesn’t like the Garrett’s. Mrs. Reed is a State Senator and likes everything to be perfect; the Garrett’s are chaotic and the furthest thing from perfect. Samantha finds herself living a double life: one with the Garrett’s and one as the Senator’s daughter.
I really fell in love with this book. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick is a perfect end of the summer read. I was instantly consumed into Samantha’s life and her summer of romance with her first true love: Jase Garrett. Even though they have lived next to each other for ten years, they might as well have lived on different sides of the train tracks: Samantha goes to private school and Jase goes to public school. This is another novel that can be compared to a modern day Romeo and Juliet. The Garrett’s were forbidden territory for the Reed’s even though they lived less than 100 yards away.
I loved that this novel was set in the summer because when you’re a teenager, summer romances feel so much deeper than other romances. Summer romances, much like summer, seem to never have an ending. Both Samantha and Jase spent much of their time together, when they both were not working. Jase works with his dad at his hardware shop, and even though Samantha doesn’t need the money, she works two jobs, one as a waitress and one as a lifeguard. Samantha also helps out the Garrett’s when they need a babysitter.
Jase’s little brother George is the cutest little boy character ever written for contemporary literature. He is so innocent, yet so smart. Everyone has to constantly distract George from his “worst case scenario” situations that he comes up with. He is so sensitive and watches the discovery channel way too much. One character that I couldn’t stand was Clay, Samantha’s mom’s boyfriend. He works with her on her political campaign. He is arrogant, rude, and condescending. I kind of wanted to scream at him through the pages of the book.
I was really confused about Samantha’s best friend, Nan. I hate how she is so self-centered and can’t see that she has issues. She likes to blame all of her problems on her dysfunctional family, especially her brother Tim, and doesn’t look at her herself as having her own set of problems. I didn’t like how their relationship was left at the end of the book; it left me with a lot of unanswered questions.
This is a great YA book that would also be interesting to many adults. It’s a great beach read and a good book to read on those last lazy days of summer. I can’t wait to read other novels by Huntley Fitzpatrick. Her debut novel, My Life Next Door is an A in my mind. Her next novel, What I Thought Was True, is due out in 2014.