Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Monday, June 18, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door
by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Published by Dial Books for Young Readers
On June 14, 2012

Source: e-ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. Read my review policy and disclosure here.


My summary:  Samantha Reed is the perfect politician's daughter: pretty, high-achieving and scandal-free. While her mother is all tied up with a political campaign, Sam's eye wanders next door to the Garrett family. They're everything Sam's family is not -- loud and disorganized. When Sam begins to fall for Jase Garrett, she keeps her new relationship secret from everyone in her well-ordered life. But then something terrible happens, and Sam has to choose between Jase and her family, between what's right and what's easy.

My take: Huntley Fitzpatrick does a great job setting up a gripping fictional collision course: Sam and her control freak single mother, the lovable yet chaotic Garrett family, plus the pressures of a cutthroat political campaign.  The characters in this book are vivid and complex. The Garrett children steal the show, from surly Alice to adorably neurotic George to baby Patsy. Love interest Jase is a caretaker of family and pets-- he has a bedroom chockful of gerbils and snakes -- making him a perfect foil to high-strung Sam.  

The two characters I was most skeptical about from the get-go were the Mason twins, Sam's ambitious friend Nan and drunken screw-up Tim. But by the end of the book, the twins proved to be two of the most surprising and interesting characters in the book.  

I also loved the political plot line of this book -- the pressure Sam's mother feels as her campaign heats up is palpable. Her mom's slick campaign manager, the opportunistic Clay Tucker, is always stirring the pot. As I read, I knew that some huge, juicy scandal was brewing -- and it was! Sam, who has a hard time speaking up for herself, faces a loss of innocence and an impossible decision: duty or love.

Watching tightly-wound Sam and laid-back Jase slowly fall in love was also a pleasure. Their relationship was far steamier than I was expecting, complete with a frank discussion of birth control and a trip to the drugstore. When unexpected circumstances threatened to tear them apart, I honestly wasn't sure their relationship would survive.

I won't tell you whether or not true love prevailed. But I will say that if you enjoy contemporary YA with colorful characters, a compelling plot line, and a hefty dose of romance, My Life Next Door should definitely be on your summer reading list.

25 comments:

  1. I loved that trip to the drugstore! And how open and honest they were with each other...for the most part, anyway. Also, I completely agree that Tim was a very interesting character. I expected to dislike him a lot, but he really surprised me!

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    1. It was a great scene. If characters do take that step in their relationship, I am always happy to see them being responsible about it.

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  2. I loved this one so so so so much. Sigh.. And Tim was my favorite character. I had no idea where Fitzpatrick was going with his character and I was worried it would end up being all preachy, but I felt that the whole thing was incredibly realistic and true to his character and came from a place of honesty instead of a place where "This character is to teach you a lesson". Sigh... I love this book.

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    1. I know. Tim was really way out there at first, and I wasn't sure about him either. Now I really hope he gets a book. He was my favorite too :)

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  3. Great review! I really, really, really want to read this one! I've loved it since I saw the beautiful cover. I'm not even going to bother requesting it at the library because I know it'll be one I want on my shelf. :)

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    1. I have it on Netgalley, but I may buy it too :)

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  4. Somehow I missed that a political campaign was part of this book as I heard more about the noisy family next door. That aspect makes me really interested especially in this election year!

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    1. That was one of my favorite aspects -- added an interesting layer to the story.

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  5. This books sounds better than I expected, what a nice surprise! It's on my TBR list & I haven't been in a hurry to read it, but it looks like perhaps I underestimated it. You know Contemp. is my favorite these days:) And I love that sweet cover!

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  6. I love how you summarize this book, I learned a lot of new things about Sam and her mom. Now I really see the whole opposites attrack because Sam is so uptight. The Garretts sound like such a fun loving family and I am already loving Jase because he takes care of everybody including the pets. My Life Next Door sounds like such a great book and I definitely need to read it.

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    1. Thanks -- that is so nice of you to say!
      Let me know what you think after you read it!

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  7. This book sounds really fantastic!! I love that the family is part of the book too since so many times they are just left out. It sounds like a very good summer read. (Or anytime really lol) Awesome review!!

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    1. Yes, the Garretts are a very unique and fun family -- an integral part of the book!

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  8. i heard amazing things
    tnx4the gr8 review

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  9. Great review Jen! This one is on my TBR! Definitely sounds like my kind of contemporary read :-)

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  10. Thanks for the review! I would have probably ignored this one based on the cover (too teen summer fluff whatever) but your review showed me...not to judge a book by its cover. Duh. I like the sound of scandals and love against a backdrop of family shenanigans!

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  11. I will put it on my reading list thanks. The cover & title seem so ordinary. I should not judge, but I do. Thank goodness for your reviews.

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  12. Yay!!! I'm so glad you liked this book. I immidiately thought of you when I read it. haha I love, love, LOVED it! My fave contemporary of the year so far! :)

    I loved the family relationships, even more than I did the love story. Little George stole the show for me! And you are totally right about the twins. They REALLY shocked me! I loved how the author told more than just a love story, it was a story of family, love, friendship, betrayl, and sooo much more!

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  13. This sounds like a good one. I like family-centric books with romance thrown in!

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  14. Sounds like I'll have to read this one! Great review! I really like good contemporary books :)

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  15. Added it to my to-reads shelf on Goodreadss!

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  16. True love has to prevail!!!! LOL Glad to hear it is steamy! I like some hot steam! I think YA books should contain sex cause duh that's all teenager's think about, or maybe just me, but it is good that they contain birth control talks. I watch 16 and pregnant and I can not believe how naive and stupid some 16 year olds are and how they just think by some magic they won't become pregnant! I didn't realize this story had such a political storyline. I bet being the daughter of a politician does add a ton of stress to your life.

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  17. This one sounds soo good! I want to read it even more after reading your review! I love it when characters end up being more complex than you originally think! Great review, Jen!

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