On the outside, Samantha Reed has everything: the perfect home, the perfect family, the perfect life, but Sam spends her time watching the family next door, wishing she could be with them. The Garretts are many and messy, but to Sam they are the most perfect family she’s ever seen. And one day when Jase Garrett catches her looking, Sam finally gets the chance to hop the fence and see if the grass really is greener on the other side.
I had heard nothing but amazing things about this book, so despite my general lack of enthusiasm for contemporary novels, I was looking forward to reading this book, and for awhile I even enjoyed it. The characters were memorable and the romance was steamy with a nice edge of reality, but the soap-opera-like drama and anti-climatic ending left me feeling unsatisfied.
I do not have a good memory for characters, so the fact that I was able to remember this large cast shows the details that went into creating them. While I didn’t always agree with some of the characterizations (I’m looking at you, female characters), it was interesting getting to enjoy a variety of characters and the different way they interact. My favourite would have to be Patsy. She could only say two words, but somehow she managed to say all of my favourite lines.
The romance of this story was the high point for me, and more specifically the portrayal of sex and sexy times. There is one scene, maybe a little early in the book and relationship, that is definitely for the older side of the young adult spectrum. The discussion of female sexuality and power was very interesting to me, and if that had been the main focus of this story, I think I would have enjoyed it more.
Sadly, a young girl’s sexual journey was not enough for this story, and Fitzpatrick included several story lines that left me feeling as if I had just watched an entire season of Glee. I didn’t find any of the plot twists to be particularly twisty until one event that was the main force of the final third of the novel. I won’t say what happened, but I will say that this last third ruined what would have otherwise been an okay novel. Finish it off with an ending that ignores the consequences in favour of a more or less happily ever after, and I put this book down with the feeling that I had just wasted several hours of my life. It’s book like this that sometimes make me wonder if maybe I have gotten too old for the young adult genre.
Don’t just take my word for it!
“My Life Next Door is the perfect summer romance, on par with Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.” – Angel @ Mermaid Visions
“Overall, My Life Next Door is a candid tale about love, family, friendship, and the role choices, pre-conceived notions, and self-identity play in our lives.” – Aimee @ Penmanship Smitten
“My Life Next Door shines as a bright contemporary – with chemistry that never felt forced and characters small and large who worm their way into your heart.” – April @ Good Books and Good Wine
“MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick is one of the warmest, most wonderful debuts I’ve read so far this year.” – Amy @ Tripping Over Books
“Huntley Fitzpatrick certainly crafted one heck of a story, with characters that I won’t soon forget, and it is one of my must-reads for this summer.” – Alexa Loves Books
“I found My Life Next Door a satisfactory read, and won’t hesitate to recommend it to young readers who enjoy contemporary romance that isn’t too heavy, but it won’t be making it on my top ten books of the year list.” – Molly @ Wrapped Up in Books
“My Life Next Door is perfect for readers who are unwilling to let summer escape from their grasps, and I have no doubt I shall be reading it again and again in the future.” – Midnight Bloom Reads
“…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.” – Jen @ YA Romantics