Monday, August 10, 2015

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Release Date - June 14, 2012
Publisher Website - Penguin
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 394 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**borrowed from a friend for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
"One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time."

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another. 
The boy next door. It's a romantic cliche for a reason and Huntley Fitzpatrick showcases exactly why the guy next door can be oh so swoon worthy in My Life Next Door. A novel filled with romance, family, and just the right amount of drama. A sweet, sensitive look at falling in love while finding yourself.

This is the kind of of book that begs to be read at the beach or by the pool. It offers up some quieter sexy moments, and a plot that examines loyalty, morals, and the strength behind doing what feels right in your heart. It's writing offers up a well paced, but leisurely read that is the definition of a summer read.

Both Jase and Samantha are well developed characters. The exist together and apart with their characterization not solely dependent on their romance. Samantha and Jase are both passionate about the people and things they care about. They both have a strong sense of self. While they grew up on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of family life, they fit as a couple. Samantha, in general, was a favourite due to her story arc of learning that her opinions do not have mirror her mothers. It's part of growing up, and something everyone has to struggle with.

The other Garretts are a delight. From George's tendency to see the worst case scenario in everything, and Patsy's adorable toddler speak, they are a vibrant, vivid family that feels full of love. The fact that they love one another is woven into each interaction between them. It's an integral part of each of them and who they are. Family being such a large part of the story, and how involved they were was refreshing. It made the characters feel more their age, and added an extra touch of realism to the story. Each of the older characters has the potential for their story to be told in a companion novel, but it's the family bonds that truly resonates in this story.

Equal attention is paid to the other side characters on the other end of the love story. The people in Samantha's life such as her best friend Nan, Nan's brother Tim, and even Samantha's mother and sister are more than what they first appear to be. Each of them has depth to them and even those who could have been caricatures come out feeling incredibly developed.

She showcases that people are neither all good or all bad. Good people can do horrible things, and 'bad' people can redeem themselves. We're the choices we make, and even if we make the wrong ones sometimes we're more than just that one choice. We have the ability to fix our mistakes, learn from them and make amends. Huntley Fitzpatrick embraces the sheer vastness of what makes up human beings and ensures all of her characters are given that brush stroke with her writing.

Sex positive young adult novels are always a pleasant surprise. The focus on realistic expectations was something that really stood out in this novel. Huntley Fitzpatrick included everything I feel is important when dealing with sex in teen novels. Talk of waiting until you're ready without any pressure, proper safe sex discussions and follow through with decisions being made by both parties, and the notion that your first time may not be perfect but it can be special because of who you share it with. This approach is healthy and encourages discussion which is so important, especially for the age group this novel is marketed to. It doesn't throw around labels or judgement. It just offers up a healthy, realistic take on the subject matter that is so vital to teen literature.

A perfect example of well developed and utilized for both primary and secondary characters. Huntley Fitzpatrick writes them as realistic, complex and layered in the most beautiful ways. A newly discovered favourite in the young adult contemporary genre. If you haven't already fallen in love with her books, this is the summer to do it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love comments. Thank you for stopping by my blog and thank you even more for leaving me a comment.

I have decided to make this an awards free blog. I appreciate the gesture, and love that you thought of my blog, however I simply can't pass them along as required.

You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...