Saturday, October 10, 2015

What we're reading: My Life Next Door

Samantha Reed and her uptight politician mother live next door to the Garrett family, and Samantha, as an only child, has always had a fascination with the "tribe" of children on the other side of the fence. Mrs. Reed's opinion is a lot more critical--the Garretts are everything Samantha's mom was dreading the day she saw them move in--loud, messy, affectionate--and Mrs. Reed considers their house an eyesore in their upscale neighborhood, and their family beneath notice.

Samantha, on the other hand, longs to be one of them. Her bedroom window with its tiny slice of roof outside is the perfect perch from which to study not only the stars (a hobby of hers), but also all the Garretts' comings and goings. She thinks that her wistful voyeurism is a secret from both her mother and the family she is observing, until one summer evening when Jase Garrett climbs up to talk to her, and everything changes.

Jase and Samantha fall for each other, and his family welcomes her with open arms, while she keeps Jase and her friendship with the Garretts a deep dark secret from her mother. But then something devastating happens, and that's suddenly not the only secret Sam is keeping, only this time it's from Jase. Now she has to decide where her loyalties lie.

I had read another of Huntley Fitzpatrick's books a year or so ago, and then apparently skipped over this one and read The Boy Most Likely To, which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago. That isn't precisely a sequel to this one, it's more like a continuation of the Garretts' story from a different character's point of view. I saw on Goodreads that some people found that one disappointing after having read and loved My Life Next Door, but since I read them in reverse order, I had a different perspective. This book was definitely a great story, but it was much more of a romance with some life drama thrown in, whereas I found The Boy Most Likely To more complex. Or maybe I just enjoyed the antics of "bad boy" Tim more than the less complicated (though infinitely better looking) Jase?

Anyway, a thumbs up from me for all of Huntley Fitzpatrick's books!

A personal note: The cover on this book looks like something from the 1970s! Don't be put off by it, though--if you enjoy Deb Caletti, Sarah Dessen, or Stephanie Perkins, I'll bet you will like these books.

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