Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Source: Bought it
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"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.
I didn’t hate My Life Next Door, but I didn’t love it either. That makes me very sad, because it seems that everyone and their mother absolutely LOVES this book. Probably people will want to know, why didn’t I love this book? The thing is, all the ingredients were there. So why didn’t I love this book? I have no idea. Don’t ask me.
Maybe it’s because I completely failed to form a connection with this book. It felt like my emotions were locked away in a place that couldn’t be touched by this book, and so I didn’t care. I didn’t connect with any of the characters, and the longer it’s been since I read My Life Next Door, the more “meh” I feel about it. This book just failed to bring out any emotion whatsoever.
And that’s a really strange thing, since technically, this book is really good. I can see why people love this book. Hell, if you described this book to me I would say that it sounds like something I would love.
For example, the characters were amazing. Technically amazing. Each and every character was well developed and not two characters felt the same. They all had different personalities and I never confused anyone with another. This is fairly impressive, since just the Garrett family consisted of ten (I think) members, and there are a lot more characters than that. There was George with his never-ending questions, Andy who has the tendency to make any sentence sound like a question, Alice with her bad-girl attitude… It was all there. I would almost dare say that the characterization in this book was perfect. Unfortunately, I failed to connect with, or even care for, any of them. I have no idea why, but it just felt like there was this huge barrier between my emotions and this book.
My Life Next Door is also really good at portraying a healthy teenage romance. The devloping relationship between Sam and Jase isn’t romanticized like in so many YA books these days; it has its awkward silences, it has its lust, it felt real. Real relationships aren’t perfect. They don’t always go smoothly. People don’t always have a way to fill the silence. Fitzpatrick managed to portray that perfectly whil still holding onto the feeling of a summery romance, full of sun and joy.
However, I also had a problem with this romance. Because mostly, I’m still trying to answer the question, where did it come from? Everything was going well. I wasn’t really on board with the Sam/Jase ship yet, but I defnitely thought that would come. They were sweet, they talked a couple of times, and then they’re kissing. Wait, what? Where did that come from? They were in the middle of a conversation and suddenly BAM. I was really confused and that was the exact moment this romance lost me. And later, when they started confessing their love to each other, I didn’t buy it. I get it, they’re young and in a relationship and just happy, but I simply couldn’t get behind it. And this is really sad, because I think that if I had connected with this book more and if the romance had moved just a bit slower, I would have loved it. I would totally have been on board with this ship. Sadly, though, that didn’t happen, resulting in me… just not really caring.
In all, I would just call My Life Next Door a disappointment. And it pains me greatly to say that. *sigh* I wanted to love this, I really did, but the complete lack of any kind of emotional investment plus a romance I didn’t really buy prevented me from doing so. I definitely see that Fitzpatrick is a skilled writer and I do actually think this book was really good, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of her. I hope I’ll connect more with her future books. In the end, My Life Next Door is, sadly, an it’s-not-you-it’s-me situation.
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