Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Published: June 14, 2012
Amazon Summary: 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?
Finally I got to read 'My Life Next Door' which I've been anticipating and practically counting the days to. Coming across this book I instantly liked the idea of it and the beautiful cover. Though it turned out to be different than I'd imagined which I guess is unavoidable - the book was longer than I felt was necessary for the plot, took some time to warm up, and the ending was too hasty.
Fitzpatrick has a perfectly smooth writing style, nice and flowing. I liked how the chapters were so easily divided and nothing was carrying out for too long (positively on my part), though frankly, little was really happening that grasped your attention; that could've been a deal-breaker having read over half of this nearly 400-pages contemporary. There wasn't really anything that gave the story a push (until the conflict during the latter third half.)
Already from the get-go I was a little disappointed in Jase's entrance. It was so simple. Samantha has been keeping track of her neighbors, the Garretts (despite knowing her high-strung, anti-Garretts mother would strongly disapprove) for several years but never actually met them and suddenly one of them sneaks up her terrace and is talking to her as if nothing.
It wasn't really realistic and the relationship growing between them was just sudden. The whole part when they're so eager to eventually sleep together took me completely by surprise, it just felt so out of place. There hadn't been enough to bond them emotionally.
There were several times when I felt like I wanted to reach inside the book and give Samantha a push to do something, or say something. It's so easy to trace these situations were the protagonist isn't brave enough to make the right decision or raise her voice and know that it'll eventually backfire on her.
You're presented to many characters in 'My Life Next Door' (mom and boyfriend, sister and boyfriend, best friend and boyfriend and brother, and the whole Garrett clan) and it was a little hard placing the important supporting characters. Instead of reading so much about Samantha's mom's annoying boyfriend, perhaps I would've wanted to get to know the best friend more.
The page before the ending I thought to myself, "I'm sure this isn't the ending," flipped the page and saw that it was. Maybe and most likely if the conflict had occurred sooner in the book, the ending would've had more time to wrap itself up and tie up loose ends.
I really wish I could've given 'My Life Next Door' a better rating, I feel like it was a better-rating kind of book but the dominating lukewarm portion of the story is, well, dominating. I liked the initial idea for the book and the Garretts and really felt for the heartbreaking chapters past the middle!