Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Series: My Life Next Door
Blurb from Goodreads:
"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 the one person you love without betraying another.
"The Garretts were my bedtime story, long before I ever thought I'd be part of the story myself."
This book blew me away. It had everything. Love, family, friendship, second chances, finding yourself, mysterious twists, hard decisions, and betrayal. My Life Next Door kept me on my toes the whole read. I knew this story was going to make me fall in love the instant I turned the first couple of pages. And boy did I fall in love with the entire Garrett family. Each family member had their own unique quirk that just made you love them. Especially adorable little George.
"I might marry you," he allows. "Do you want a big family?"
The whole Garrett family take to Samantha so easily and warming that it was so sweet how kind and welcoming they were. They didn't give her a hard time upon meeting her at first at all. George loves her from the second he meets her and relays facts to her and clings to her. Harry asks her if she can do a back dive and instantly wants her to help him. Andy immediately sees her and begins asking advice for a date, and Joel just breezed over her presence like "oh you're with Jase? Cool." (Speaking Joel, Where was he? He only saw him like twice for five seconds). Only Alice is the only one to warn her not to break her brother's heart. Which I think was rather sweet. The whole family is protective of each other and extremely close. Even if they are in debt, counting pennies and don't have much, they have everything they need. They are still happy.
"Who are these people, and why do they think their own opinions are the only right ones?"
The Reed's are a whole other story. Samantha's mother is a senator and quite cold. I never enjoyed her character at all because she just seemed like she was too strict and needed to let go. I hated the way she would regard the Garretts and just shake her head at their house or her annoying comments about their kids, etc. I found it unnerving how the only person that could get her to loosen her leash on Samantha was a sleazeball like Clay Tucker. I won't even get into his character because he was just a snake and I never trusted him one second. Everything about him screamed gross.
Nan and Tim Mason were Samantha's oldest friends. Nan was Samantha's best friend and Tim used to be closer to Samantha when they were kids before he got into drugs and drinking. I enjoyed Tim a lot. I thought he was a good character showing his own struggles with trying to fix his past and get over his demons. He pulls himself together to get sober and try to get his life together. He also adds a comic relief which was nice. There is just so much more to Tim than meets the eye and I really enjoyed him.
"Why do all the hot girls want the jocks and good boys? We losers are t he ones that need you."
Ugh, but Nan on the other hand? *rolls eyes* She was terrible. I did not care for her one bit. Every single time we read about Nan she is just a whiny little girl who doesn't care about anyone, but herself. She is a perfectionist who completely ignores Samantha when she needs her even though Sam is always there for her when she needs her. She is always complaining about her boyfriend Daniel or her parents or Tim and college. Then when she learned that Sam is dating Jase she gets nothing but completely jealous! Saying that she gets stuck with guys like Daniel. Why do boyfriends have to be a competition? Why is she competing with someone she calls her best friend to begin with? How can see be so incredibly jealous and resentful towards Sam blaming her for her life and accusing her of getting everything she wants? She was just a lie and a cheat and honestly? if she has to cheat to get into Columbia how is she going to even handle all the work?
Now Samantha and Jase had a refreshing relationship. I know it was a bit instalovey, but I thought the pacing was perfect as well. They took time to get to know each other. They spent every day together and even talked about sex with each other rather than just jumping into it. We don't see that in a lot of novels. The fact that they even went to the drug store together to buy the condoms together was actually pretty cute. They made the choices together. I loved their relationship. I loved their friendship as well. And I just loved Jase so much! He was so sweet. caring, kind, sexy as hell, tall, strong, protective, loving, and hello! He can fix almost everything and works on cars? How hot is that?
"You can't do this. You have to give me a chance to fix whatever it is I've done. What have I done?" TEEEEEAAAAAAARRRRRRRSSSSSSS!!
Samantha was a great character to read as well. She handled her decisions perfectly. I felt so sorry for her when she was faced with her impossible decision. I have no idea what I would have down but you can't help but hope that she'd choose Jase because it was just the right thing to do.
"I don't know. I didn't have that choice. But I know what's happening right now. And I'm choosing to stay with you."
In the end, I am proud of her. She was there when the Garretts needed her. She still tried to be a good daughter to her mother even when she didn't agree with everything. She was a good friend to Nan when she didn't deserve it and an ever better friend for Tim. I just really enjoyed her. She wasn't whiny or annoying. She was funny and strong and relatable.
I really enjoyed this book. I highly recommend!