Title: My Life Next Door
Reviews: FRIENDS Style is a new feature. Basically, I wanted a way to express my love for Friends, my all-time favorite television show, along with my love of books. Thus, this feature was born. It probably won't be super regular, maybe a couple times a month. But I had a blast putting this one together! I hope you enjoy it. Warning: Image Heavy.
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Published: June 2012 (Dial Books For Young Readers)
Summary: A boy. A secret. A summer. 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?
My Review: I mentioned My Life Next Door in a Waiting on Wednesday back in April. At that point, I had already been waiting on it for a while, and I talked about how I'd felt that instant connection with it and knew I had to read it ASAP. Well, the day finally arrived. Allow me to escort you through my journey with My Life Next Door.
Yes, sadly, this is pretty much exactly what I looked like, except for the fact that I was alone. Well, Little Cousinette (my 4-year-old cousin with whom I am living for the summer) was there, too. But she was just sitting on the couch, looking at me like I was insane while I flailed and jumped around in a circle.
I wanted a good setting with no interruptions to read the book, though, so I didn't start it until later. I finally got a chance that night. I sat down and read it. At that point, I was introduced to Samantha, whom I loved. She was the wealthy daughter of a politician, but she was still a very relatable and lovable character. I never felt put-off by her circumstances or personality at all; I really liked her. I read all about how she had spent years of her life peering over from her "perfect" household over into the Garrett's chaotic, but loving, life. Much like the Friends would peer into Ugly Naked Guy's apartment, except more habitual and lonely, longing for what they had.
The story went on, and Samantha and Jase met. Jase. Where do I even start with him? He was wonderful and swoon-worthy from the very first moment he appeared on the page, and he only grew more so over the course of the book. He was so genuine and sweet and awesome.
I really just loved all the Garretts, honestly. I adore the whole idea of a huge family. The original Yours, Mine and Ours is one of my all-time favorite movies. The dynamic of a huge family with all that love and organized chaos is just very appealing to me. It was very well portrayed in this book. It didn't feel glorified, but you could still feel how they were such a draw for Samantha.
I talked in the Waiting on Wednesday about how I was going to devour My Life Next Door all in one sitting. And that's usually my approach to a book I'm loving - I'll read as much as I can, as fast as possible. If I need more of it, I'll reread again soon. But this book had the opposite effect. I read it over several substantial sittings, but I wanted to savor it. I took my time and purposefully drew it out for several days, never wanting it to end. But then, as I was reading along one night, the "secret" mentioned in the summary happened.
❝And that can be, I learn, how it happens. You’re walking along on this path, dazzled by how perfect it is, how great you feel, and then just a few forks in the road and you are lost in a place so bad you never could have imagined it.❞
SO MANY EMOTIONS. At that point, I did begin voraciously reading. I couldn't put it down, and I finished the book that night.
There was so much more to this book than I expected. I expected a good summer romance with, of course, some drama happening. But this book was full of a beautiful romance, people with real problems to overcome, personal growth, decisions with huge potential repercussions, genuineness on so many fronts, and a possible side romance build-up with a character I grew to dearly love over the course of the book. The relationship between Jase and Samantha happened pretty quickly, with much less build-up than I would usually like. But it worked perfectly for them, and I wouldn't change it even if I could. I loved watching their relationship progress.
Finishing My Life Next Door was like saying a temporary goodbye to a friend I dearly loved. I was smiling in the end, but it was bittersweet, too. I didn't want it to be over! I just sat there for several minutes, reflecting on what I had just read. The characters, the circumstances, the emotions. I am very glad I bought this book, because I will most definitely be re-reading in the future.
My expectations for My Life Next Door were sky-high. Fitzpatrick took a different course to get there than I thought she would, but she absolutely met them.
❝I’m not sure I can pull off being just friends with someone whose clothes I want to rip off.❞
❝Seeing him is like that feeling you get when you’ve gotten the wind knocked out of you and then can, at last, draw a deep, full breath.❞
❝I’m pleased by all the parts of him I know, and each new part I discover is like a present.❞
❝I close my eyes, trying to imagine having this conversation [about sex] with my mother. Inconceivable. No pun intended.❞
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