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My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door (edition 2012)

by Huntley Fitzpatrick

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4404823,849 (4.02)13
Title:My Life Next Door
Authors:Huntley Fitzpatrick
Info:Dial (2012), Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:2013 Archive
Tags:Romance, Teens, Contemporary, Tweens, Issues, Aimee Swift, 2013

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My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick


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My Life Next Door is a cute, light summer read. It's about a girl named Samantha who live with her over the top single mother that is running for Senate and Jase, the boy next door who has a lot of siblings. Sam's mother is very judgmental of the Garrett's, Sam sits outside to watch them often while growing up to see the chaotic world they live in with so many people. One day Jase comes up to her while shes outside and they fall in love, she gets more involved with his family while she never introduces him to her friends or mother, when she finally does it's surprising. Then the book takes a weird turn that I found unnecessary. Sam's mom hits and run Jase's father one night with Sam in the car but she's asleep. Sam is unsure if it was her mom when she hears Mr Garrett is hurt, realizes it is, confronts her, threatened not to tell by her mom's boyfrined, breaks up with Jase, tells him, back together, her mom finally confesses and drops out of the Senate race. Okay.

I liked the start of this book because Sam and Jase seem like normal teenagers and their relationship comes off as real. There is nothing supernatural, no drama, no over the top romantic gestures. Just them and their growing relationship over the summer. The real plot through out the beginning of the book is how will Sam's mom react if/when she finds out she's dating Jase, but instead that part is just glossed over and the book goes off in a tangent with the hit and run. I didn't care for that part at all, why can't the book just be about their relationship and her mom's reaction? Or even take it a step further and have Sam get pregnant and Jase takes off like her dad did, that's what I expected to happen. Or at least nothing as dramatic as a hit and run lol. 3.5/5 ( )
  GrlIntrrptdRdng | May 14, 2015 |
The fiction story, My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick is about Samantha Reed. Her whole life, she has lived next door to the Garretts. Her mother, the Senator of their small Connecticut town, has always despised of them because there were 8 children and their house always look liked a mess. Although, Sam’s house was tidy and just big enough for her, her sister Tracy, and her mother Grace. Sam, ever since she was little, watched the Garretts from her roof. She spied on the children. Eventually she learned their names and faces just by looking over the big fence that separated the two houses. She had never even talked to a Garrett, until one night, when Jase Garrett, climbed up the side of her house and confronted her about her spying. Throughout the story, they start to fall in love. Though, Sam’s mom would never be okay with Sam dating a Garrett, though not coming home until late and always leaving the house early gets her mother suspicious. Eventually she finds out, though she approves of Jase. Just as everything is starting to work out, Samantha's mother runs over Jases dad with a car. This unfortunate event tears apart Jase and Sam's relationship. Though, they get through this tough time and their love is stronger than it was before.
This book was great. The author made the characters grow so much throughout the story. Also, the author described Sam and Jase’s relationship so perfectly. I recommend this book for 8th-10th graders. I recommend this because it is to inappropriate for anyone below 8th grade. Though, it might be an easy read for anyone above 10th grade. Overall, the story My Life Next Door was fantastic. ( )
  PaMu14 | Mar 22, 2015 |
Find more reviews at The Beautiful World of Books!

"Mmm-hmm?" He lifts up on one elbow, his face barely visible in the twilight.
"You have to kiss me," I find myself saying.
"Yeah." He leans closer. "I do."

Well holey-moley, as far as chick lit's go, this one isn't all that bad! It's got pretty much everything a chick-lit needs for it to work - compatible, likeable heroine, hot, sweet love interest and some funny quips to make it a light, enjoyable read.

So why the three stars?

I have a very particular rating system when it comes to chick-lits. I love them and they're my go-to books when I want something light, fluffy and sweet. Something to relax me after a day of work, or something to take my mind off the last book I read. [b:My Life Next Door|12294652|My Life Next Door (My Life Next Door, #1)|Huntley Fitzpatrick|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1394240144s/12294652.jpg|17271423] ticked the following boxes:

-An abundance of fluff
- Likeable characters
- Flowing writing

However, there were some things that didn't quite sit right with me, and that starts with the summary:

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?

Let's analyse this, shall we?

Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

I despise it when people fit types of families into their own categories. None of the families in this book are considered 'perfect'. Jace, our love interest, comes from a huge family of ten people. They're loud, messy, and disorganised -- like most big families are, I can imagine. Samantha, on the other hand, comes from an even less perfect family - her mother is running for State Senator, which means she's never around, her sister even less than average and they don't have a father.

Personally, I would consider these families less than perfect, and I can't stand it when someone or something is considered 'perfect'. It's a very strong word to use. It would've sat better if it said 'Which imperfect family will save her?'.

Another point: Or is it time she saved herself?

From the offset, you're predisposed to thinking that Samantha is a weak character with no backbone, purely for that one sentence. I, for one, thought exactly that before reading the book. However, that's not the case. For the situation she is face with, she's quite a strong person. It might come off as #whitegirlproblems or #richwhitegirlproblems, but it's far from that. Throughout the novel, we're shown time and time again Samantha taking situations into her own hands and sorting the problem. Alcoholic drug abuser friend? She sorts him out with a job and a friend that will take care of him. Cheating-on-tests-for-years best friend? She does the right thing and confronts said friend. Again, the summary could've been worded better.

The 'plot-twist':

Fitzpatrick did well with giving the relationship between Jason and Samantha some build-up before getting together. It spans over two/three months, and she handles all the characters incredibly well. The only complaint I have is the 'twist': we're given so much of Jase&Samantha lovin' that by the time it happens, it's almost a bother. Also, the way it's handled so quickly and no real drama happens, I think Fitzpatrick could've dealt with it better and maybe giving us more time to adjust to it. But no, the twist is over and done with in three very short chapters, and it adds nothing to the story, apart from the overused theme that love defeats all.

The writing:

It's a mixture of Sarah Dessen meets a screenplay. The paragraphs and chapters, although flowing nicely, reads very much like a TV show. It jumps from one scene to the next, like you'd expect in a TV drama -- there's no cut to adverts but there might as well be. In one scene, Samantha is at work and the next she's at home making out with Jason. Although it fits well around the book, it can get quite annoying, especially when you want more out of a scene.

The characters:

The characters are great! I absolutely loved Samantha and Jason, as well as Jason's huge family.

Especially little George, who is a bundle of laughs:

George backs out of the room, but not before saying, "His bed's really comfortable. And he never pees in it."
The door closes and we both start laughing.

There's Patsy, the baby:

George and Harry, my loyal fans, rave to their mother about my accomplishments, while Patsy immediately bursts into tears, points an accusing finger at her mother, and wails, "Boob!"

There's so many in the Garrett family that it's hard to keep track of who's who and how old they are and sometimes Mama Garrett will say someone's name and you'll forget who they are, but it works well for the messy, loud, large family they're supposed to be.

Overall, 3 solid stars. It's not a bad rating. It's my I-liked-it-and-will-probably-read-it-again rating, but the book just lost its momentum around 80% and didn't climax the way I hoped it would. ( )
  Aly_Locatelli | Jan 26, 2015 |
I hadn't really thought that I was one for contemporary romance. I thought that they would be too boring and the conflict too shallow, so I sort of stayed away from them. Then this book changed my mind. To this day, it is one of my favorite contemporary romances, and was the book that really got me interested in the genre of teen contemporary romance.
One thing that I loved, and what really made the book, was the characters. I absolutely adored Jase, and loved Samantha as well, though her decisions often irritated me. I felt like all the characters were generally pretty real, with only a few exceptions. Jase's little brother George never failed to make me laugh, always having something humorous to contribute. Each character, even the ones that you only saw a few times added a new layer to the story.
One thing that surprised me was the depth of the plot. As I had said earlier, I had perceived these sorts of books to have a shallow conflict. However I didn't find this book's conflict to be shallow at all. It wasn't really focused on boy drama or any sort of love triangle. While I may have had some issues with how the situation was handled, I still give the author points for making it go beyond the oh-woe-is-me.
The only complaint that I can think to make is that some of Samantha's decisions (namely one) made me so angry. To me, it was obvious what she should do, but she chose to do the opposite. Reasons were given and understandable to a degree, but her choice irritated me none the less. I can sort of see why she made the choice that she made, but it definitely wouldn't have been the decision I would have made. Luckily though, Samantha didn't spend a lot of time pitying herself and trying to make you feel bad for her when it definitely could have been worked in there, which redeems things for me.
While it may not have been perfect, I would still say that it's pretty dang close. It opened me up to a new genre, and epitomizes the teen romance genre for me. It proved my previous thoughts wrong, and was really a delightful surprise. If you've been thinking about reading books like this but don't know where to start, I would definitely recommend this book as one to consider.
Four Point Five out of Five Stars
Find this review, among others, here: http://themessengerreviews.blogspot.com/2014/06/my-life-next-door-my-life-next-d... ( )
  TheMessengerReviews | Nov 23, 2014 |
My life next door for me was a mix between The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler and The Distance Between Us by Kasie West and most of the time I hate when books remind me of others, but this was something that in a way made the book more special to me. It had the forbidden love from The Book of Broken Hearts and the financial differences of The Distance Between Us.

I've wanted to read this book for a long time, its a book that has been talked about and talked about and that is not always a good thing. But I'm lucky that with this book, it was. This books was hyped up for a reason, its fluffy, its moving and it flows really well. I started it purely for the fact of reading it for the read-a-thon. I finished it in a day because after just a few chapters I was hooked and already in love.

This book is centred around Samantha, a girl who comes from a single parent home with a judgemental politician mum. She has been told for most of her life to stay away from the Garretts who live next door. A family with too many kids, and an unkempt garden. But Samantha feels drawn to the family, spending most of her life sitting just outside her bedroom window watching them go about their life. All she does is look, until one day she gets company on her ledge, none other than Jase Garrett from next door. She's never fallowed her mothers, or the rest of the towns, opinions on his family, but its not until she starts to spend more time with not only him but his family, does she realise just how wrong everyone is. And just how much she fits in with them.

The one thing you see from the start is just how realistic everything is. The characters, the love that developed over time and not instant, the political mum who is too concerned with her own career and the rebel sister who tries anything and everything to lash out and get attention from the absent mother. One of my favourite things about this book was the characters. Jase and Sam are people that stick in your mind. They are such a sweet couple, and as a pair are so a like. They both have this deep routed caring nature that’s' genuine. They aren't perfect people, they have flaws just like everyone else and that's what makes them so likeable and relatable

there is one aspect of this book that, while done often in YA books, is hardly ever done right. Sex. I have never been against having sex in young adult books, but when it's done right like it did in this book, with the embarrassment, the confusing and the awkwardness of it was perfect. Because sex is a big deal and going in to your first time thinking that its all going to go without a hick up and you'll just know what to do, it can leave you very hurt at the end of the day. Anyway, like I said, I think Huntley Fitzpatricks take on it was brilliant. The fact that this is in fact her debut novel is also astounding.

Everything about this book was spot on, and you should try it as not just another book to read, but another book to fall in love with. ( )
  Staciesnape | Sep 14, 2014 |
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Of course, to Colette Corry.
The words “best friend” will never say enough.
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The Garretts were forbidden from the start.
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When Samantha, the seventeen-year-old daugher of a wealthy, perfectionistic, Republican state senator, falls in love with the boy next door, whose family is large, boisterous, and just making ends meet, she discovers a different way to live, but when her mother is involved in a hit-and-run accident Sam must make some difficult choices.… (more)

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