Sunday 8 July 2012

Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door

  Title: My Life Next Door 
  Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
  Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
  Publication date: June 14th 2012
  My rating: 4 stars


For years, Sam had watched the Garretts from her bedroom next door.  They're life was so opposite from the one she led.  Sam has the perfect trust-fund mother who currently is a congresswoman, and the beautiful older sister always out with her latest conquest.  It's just the three of them, as Sam's dad left while her mother was pregnant with her.  The Garretts always had a lot going on with eight children: five boys and three girls.  They were the type that always had the toys lying about in the front yard, comings and goings at all times, loud pool antics and sports playing in the front drive.  In contrast, Sam's family has nothing out of place.  Her mother even makes sure to vacuum any trace of footprints out of the carpet before they leave.  It was an unspoken command to stay away from the Garretts.  But day after day, Sam found herself drawn to watching them until one day one of the sons, Jase, climbs up and talks to her.  From then on Sam is tied inextricably to the Garretts, but most of all to Jase.  When tragedy strikes their families, Sam's loyalty to her family and the Garretts is put to the test. 

I fell head-over-heels in love with the Garretts.  Their open love and affection they show to each other as so inviting.  Something Sam has had lacking in her life.  She falls not only for Jase, but for the whole family, and they fall for her. Little four-year old George seems to fall hardest, besides Jase of course.  He is so cute with his affinity for random facts, National Geographic Kids, and his constant worry over what might happen.  He loves Sam instantly, calling her Super Sailorgirl because of a waitressing outfit she comes home in one day.  But that's what she is to him, a super-hero, always able to calm him down, and find a good reason why he doesn’t need to worry.  She is drawn to this family and helps without being asked, it just comes naturally for her.  Like with all the helpful dating tips she sends Andy's way.  Or just watching baby Patsy so that her mother could have some free time. Sam finds that she fits in right away.  I think she craved to be part of their obviously affectionate family from the start. 

I loved Jase, he is the product of a loving family, able to give love so freely himself.  He's all about care and thinking about other people.  The way he helps with his younger brothers and sisters, without even thinking, or being told to, is so touching.  The romance between Jase and Sam is one you could imagine lasting for years, and there were lovely swoony scenes between them that had my heart all a-flutter.  Here's a quote from Jase, in the beginning of the story that made my knees go weak:

Jase's green eyes meet mine, then his lashes lower. "I guess I like things that take time and attention.   More worthwhile that way."  I don't know what it is about this that makes me blush, but something does.

Sam's mother, Grace, was a piece of work.  Vain, self-centered, and judgmental, this is a woman who should've never had kids. She looks down her nose at the Garretts, saying there's one in every neighborhood: messy, too many kids, yard full of neglect and children's toys.  Her mother is concentrating on her re-election campaign instead of her girls.  She only seems concerned at making sure their lives are lived in a way that optimizes them as a campaign tool.  Especially now that she has Clay, her new campaign manager and boyfriend.  He's younger, charming and has Grace wrapped around his finger.  Sam doesn't even recognize her mother and doesn't care for the effect Clay has on her.  I felt very sad for Sam to have been raised by this woman.

This was a brilliant debut for author Huntley Fitzpatrick.  I was riveted from the start of this lovely, touching and heartbreaking story.  I would love to see another story revolving around Tim and Alice!  That would be entertaining.  I will certainly be picking up anything else Ms. Fitzpatrick decides to write. 


Anonymous said...

Wow, brilliant review Rachel! I have seen this novel hovering around goodreads for awhile, but I was a bit hesitant to read it. Now, you've persuaded me to read this novel! I'm so thrilled that you loved it. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you loved it, Rachel. I fell in love with The Garretts too. They were such a colorful family. :)
George definitely stole my heart. He was so cute with all those facts inside his tiny head.
Jase was adorable, wasn't he? :)
Love the review, Rachel ! :D

Haddock said...

That cover picture befits the title.
The most difficult part of story is to get the right cover picture, and for a video to get the right music.

Vegan YA Nerds said...

I am so, so glad you enjoyed this, Rach! I really love the sound of Jase and his family and I can't wait to read about. Sam's mum sounds horrid, there are so many parents like her in YA!

Sam (Realm of Fiction) said...

I never wanted to read this book at first but all these positive reviews have completely changed my mind for me. I love the sound of the Garetts already! I adore families like that and it sounds like they are an easy bunch to fall for. Plus I really love the name Jase. ;)Amazing review, Rach! :)

Aa'Ishah said...

I wasn't sure about this at first but I've read some really positive reviews, and yours has definitely convinced me even more that I need to read this. I love the sound of the Garretts, it would be so amazing to be a part of that kind of a family. Brilliant review, Rachel! :)

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

Okay, that does it! I want to read this now, now, now. You know how I feel about contemporaries, but I can never resist a warm family story and the Garretts sound totally amazing.
Another wonderful review, Rachel!

Rachel said...

Beautiful review!!!!!!!!! Rachel really amazing writing is fully done well in this review. I love the way you describe the contrast of families at the same time revealing little facts of the story. The four year old sounds adorable and I definately want to read the scene Sam is in that outfit! <3

-Ria xo said...

Grace sounds like such an annoying character. I would hate to know somebody like her.

Jase and Sam sound ASDFGHJKL; that quote!!<3333 And George sounds super cute, I love the fact that the rest of the family are involved, rather than it just being a love story between two people.

I'm dying to read this now, Rachel, thanks for an amazing review!

Erin W. said...

I've heard so much praise for this novel so I might read it soon since it sounds pretty interesting. Great review!

Keertana said...

I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much as you did Rachel, but I absolutely loved the Garrett Family as well!(: Plus, I couldn't agree with you more about Grace being a real piece of work (as well her boyfriend who I felt like throwing something at)! Anyway, fantastic review! You've made me want to re-read this and try to like this more than I originally did! ;)

Ivy Book Bindings

Eunice said...

Lovely review, Rachel! Big families like the Garretts always sounds so fun! And I can't wait to meet Jase and little George too, of course! I'm definitely more excited to read this now after reading your awesome review. :D

Pooja. S said...

Brilliant review, Rachel :) I have fallen in love with the Garretts after your review and cannot wait to meet them! I love the plot behind My Life Next Door and have been wanting to read it for quite a while. So glad it was worth reading for you... sounds like the kind of contemporary I love! :)

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Great review! I always find bigger families fascinating...I loved the Cheaper by the Dozen I'm glad the Garrett's were just as great as they seemed. Sounds like a good book.


Jaskirat@SeeitORreadit said...

Lovely review! I have heard great things about this debut and now your review has me anxious to try it for myself. The concept sounds so entertaining and the characters sound so interesting. Thanks for sharing.


Celine said...

EEEEEE Rachel! I read My Life Next Door recently and really enjoyed it! I LOVE the cover and I love how the story is as beautiful as the cover. Jase and Samantha's relationship was really cute and I love the Garretts! ;)

Awesome review, Rachel! ♥ Glad you enjoyed it! :)

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

Hey girls! I am finally back! I grabbed a copy of this after reading a bunch of good reviews. I then read a not so good review, the blogger did not like the main character and her decisions. I trust your judgement, Rachel and am planning on reading this soon, Hope your summer is going well!

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