My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Samantha Reed sits atop her roof and watches the Garrett family (in a totally non-creepy, anti-Edward Cullenish way). They’re so opposite from her own small, reserved family, so large and overflowing with children and laughter and toys everywhere. Sam’s life is bland and predictable by comparison, spent often alone or in the public eye due to her mother’s political career. Every move they make is planned, crafted to create the image of the Senator with the ideal family and the perfectly contained life. Her father is out of the picture and her sister is away for the summer, so Sam has little to do but watch and imagine life for the Garretts, that family her mom has always snubbed her nose at.
One night Jase, one of the boys next door (hence the title!!!!) surprises Sam by climbing to her sacred rooftop and joining her. He’s funny, he’s nice, and the two begin an easy friendship that quietly turns into a pretty swoonworthy romance. Sam becomes enveloped into the Garrett family, tumbling headfirst in love with not only Jase, but his siblings, his parents, his life. She keeps this love and these relationships secret from her mother, the one person who would deeply disapprove. When the families reach a crossroads she ultimately has to choose where her loyalty truly lies.
Man, I loved–absolutely adored–this book. It has everything: love, kissing, sa-woon, family drama (not melodrama), summer (why are books set in summer so superior?). Fitzpatrick does an amazing job at conveying the beauty and fumbles of first love, the force with which it completely consumes us, the sweetness in all those awkward first moments. She created so many characters to fall in love with here: Sam, Jase (sweet holy moley, you will love him), and all of Jase’s family. There is such warmth, such humor that radiates from each person. Her writing felt vaguely Dessen-ish (a huge compliment in my book). It made me want to climb inside and be a part of this world that wasn’t extraordinarily different from yours or mine, but gorgeous all the same.
Crush Intensity: 4.75/5 I loved it!
Thank you: Someone wrote me an e-mail about fifty billion years ago, telling me I should read this book. Being an intense e-mail cleaner outer, I’ve since lost the message. To whomever it was, thank you, thank you, thank you! I put myself on the wait list for this book at my library when you recommended it to me and it has taken that long for it to come in. Still, it was soooooo worth the wait. 🙂