- My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
- YA Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Chick-Lit, High-School, Summer
- My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟
“The Garretts were my bedtime story, long before I ever thought I’d be part of the story myself.”
MLND is told from teenager Samantha Reed’s POV. Sam is a good girl who does everything her mother tells her to do. She’s not outspoken like her older sister, Tracey, but is kind-hearted and polite. The Garretts are everything her family isn’t – messy, loud, and affectionate. Despite her mother’s apparent dislike of the constantly growing family next door, Sam can’t help but long to be a part of them too and has watched them from her rooftop since they moved in. When she and the naturally charming Jase Garrett finally meet face-to-face and grow closer, Sam finally has something of her own that she doesn’t have to share with her mother – a secret.
First and foremost, I hate almost everyone in Sam’s life. Her mother is a control-freak who totally takes advantage of Sam’s sweet and obedient nature. Her mother is weak and spineless, especially when it comes to her new beau, Clay, who is ten years her junior and a manipulative bastard. Senator Reed lets him control her and her re-election campaign for Senator, and then reasserts her control over Sam’s life. Senator Reed has done well for herself financially and her daughters live extremely comfortably, but after being left with two daughters by her long-and-gone husband she is just a heartless mother, honestly.
Tracey’s a pretty typical sister – she’s not as scared as Sam is to speak her mind to her mom and will run off with whatever boys she wants. But I don’t know why Sam misses her so much when she leaves – Tracey doesn’t really do much to defend her until the end of the book.
Sam’s best friend, Nan, has actually earned Worst Best Friend of the Year Award. Nan will do whatever it takes to escape her home and Stony Bay. Let me just tell you this: she is one salty little girl. She may be determined to make a life for herself, but she is absolutely narrow-minded and selfish and I don’t know how Sam hasn’t noticed it over the years they’ve been friends.
Secondly, I really like Sam. Her loyalty to the people in her life, regardless of how terrible they are, is natural. I like that she almost always thinks before she acts. She’s extremely humble and doesn’t register when people are jealous of her, but know how privileged she is. I think she tries to look at most situations from everyone’s perspective except for the one that should matter the most – her own. She doesn’t know it, but she lets the people she cares about walk all over her. She rarely speaks up for herself, but she often defends other people, even when they don’t deserve it. She’s extremely selfless, but just a little dumb LOL.
Lastly, Jase is…amazing. He is just such a good boy which I guess is part of the reason he and Sam are so good together. A lot of romance books tend to be on the whole “opposites attract” trope and this book, at first, makes it seem like Jase and Sam are a part of that thread. Sam lives with her Senator mom and sister in a big fancy house and attends a private school. Jase is one of eight children, whose parents don’t make nearly enough to be able to send all their kids to college. But when it comes down to what really matters, Sam & Jase are the same. They are both kind-hearted and hard-working kids who care about their families. Do boys like Jase actually exist? He can fix nearly anything with his hands, is probably the sweetest boyfriend ever, and is extremely understanding even in the darkest of situations. I can get over the fact that he keeps a zoo of creepy-crawlys and slitthery animals in his bedroom because he’s just such a great guy.
Verdict: I thought this was a really cute story, perfect for summer. Sam is a quiet kind of heroine. She has a strong sense of morality, but she’s not the first person to act when someone does something wrong. She’s not impulsive, but it was a bit frustrating to sit back and wait for her to finally do something. Also…this book is really long.
I own the second book, The Boy Most Likely To and I think I’m a little more excited to read it than I was to read this one because of the leading characters. Nan’s brother Tim is sarcastic, a smoker, and high-school dropout. Jase’s sister Alice is bossy, a soon-to-be nurse, and fiercely protective of her family. They sound a little more up my alley as a leading couple!