My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 6-14-12
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? – Goodreads
My Life Next Door is one of those books that starts out as one thing and turns into something even better than you could have imagined. From the outside, it is a touching YA romance with many romantic gestures and a lot of trellis climbing. A little more than halfway through the book something happens that turns everyone’s world upside down and our wonderful protagonist, Samantha, is faced with a terrible decision. On top of that decision, Sam is also faced with a lot of disillusionment regarding friends and family. Her relationship with Jase alters her view of many things in her life, including the realization that doing the right thing isn’t always the easiest path, but it the most worthwhile.
Sam’s character development over the course of this book was a joy to read. She transformed from an “obedient” daughter of a driven and uptight single mom, to a young woman who is forced to make a very tough choice. In a way, it’s as if the Garrett family wakes Sam up to the possibility that there is no limit to love and no obstacle that can’t be overcome by love, both romantic and familial. Of course, one of the things you will hear about this book is Jase. Jase might be Jay’s (The Body Finder) new competition for best YA boyfriend. He is grounded, handsome, understanding and exactly the kind of guy everyone wants to date. (If anything, this book might be setting up many real life guys for a hard act to follow.) Even as perfect as he may seem, Sam and Jase still have a lot to teach each other and the evolution of their relationship really made the book the amazing read that you keep hearing about. My Life Next Door was a wonderful and sweet story that drew me in so completely that I read the book twice in a row because I was simply not ready to leave its pages. I could go on and on, but I’ll just say that this has been one of the best YA books I’ve read this year and it’s definitely worth a trip to your local bookstore.