Thursday, May 12, 2016

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick and read by Amy Rubinate

Summary 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 one person you love without betraying another.
This book has been on my radar for years. I have to admit though that I have not been able to get into this author like other YA bloggers have. I did notice my library had an audio book copy of this one, the one everyone seemed to love, and I thought I’d give it another try. I still just don’t think this author is quite for me.
I love a good YA contemporary and I was hoping for something light and romantic. While this book certainly delivered on the romance, it wasn’t exactly light. It was very much a family drama. And don’t get me wrong, I tend to love romances that are more than just romance. For some reason, though, this book just read super slow for me. And the plot was too familiar/expected. Also, I never really grew to like Samantha all that much.
The one thing the main character has going for her is that she does grow and learn as the book goes on. That being said, she comes off as very ignorant, spoiled, and rather un-intelligent. I kept having to back up and remind myself she was being a teenager and teenagers tend to make stupid mistakes. That being said, I never got into a car with a drunk/drug addicted driver as a teenager. And I certainly would not have done this twice…
Also, I wouldn’t be able to “pretend” an accident didn’t happen and go to sleep while the drunk adults figured out the situation without me…
Also, so much of the last quarter of the book/plot felt too much like a Lifetime Original movie I’ve seen done a few different times before. I did like watching Samantha learn how to handle the conflict and eventually even come to the right decision. But, I still just never really connected with her. She was too ignorant for me to immediately bond with. And after getting to know her better, I still just never really liked her.
I did really enjoy the romance. And I really loved the character next door. I loved the kids and the big family dynamic. I even loved Samantha’s fascination with them.
I wish the book wasn’t so long. Not much happens in the first 75% of the book and then a lot goes down in the last 25%. It took me about 2 weeks to finish, which for me, is a long time. I never really liked the main character. I loved the romance and the side characters. However, the plot was a little too cliché for my liking. I give it a 6.5/10.

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