by Huntley Fitzpatrick
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Publication Date: June 14th 2012
Publisher: Dial Books For Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary
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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, 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. (Goodreads)
It seems like Samantha has the perfect life. She’s a good girl, she gets good grades, she listens to her mom and never does anything wrong. But her life is far from perfect, with her busy mom who is painfully strict, living in a house that’s too big and cold. Samantha has watched the family next door for years; they are wild and disorganized and so very different from her own. Samantha has always wished she could be one of them, and then one night, her wish finally comes true.
Samantha was an easy character to like. I empathized for a lot of the things that she went through in the book, especially with her family life. It was great watching her grow as a character though, especially after Jase and his family comes into her life. There were a lot of times throughout the book where I really wished that she would just stand up for herself, especially when it came to her mom. Luckily she does finally find the courage to do so, and that made me like her even more.
Can I tell you how much I absolutely adore the Garrett family?? I adore all ten of them, from the awesome parents to the eight wonderful kids who are all different in so many ways. You’d think having so many characters in a novel would be confusing, but it totally wasn’t. I love that each character is so different from the others, they were all so well written. This family is loud and chaotic, but so full of love and affection; it really made me want to just be a part of this huge, awesome family. Jase, of course, is my absolute favorite of the bunch, (is this boy perfection, or what?), followed closely by George.
While the storyline for the book has a really fun, sweet feel to it, it also touches bases on a lot of different issues that young adults face today, like sex, drugs, and even consequences that come with lying and not being true to yourself. I really love the way these issues were wrote into the story. The story came together really well at the end; the only issue that I had with the book was about something that I felt was left unresolved between Samantha and her best friend.
Overall; I really enjoyed My Life Next Door so much more than I expected to. I really do wish that I had read the book sooner, but now I’m looking forward to starting the next book, The Boy Most Likely To, and I can’t wait for Alice and Tim’s story!