That’s what I had when I read My Life Next Door.
Samantha lives with her sister and their posho snob mum in a seaside town in Connecticut. Next door live the Garretts, a loving, chaotic family who are the complete antithesis of Sam’s sterile family life. Sam watches the Garretts from her roof until one day she meets one of them for real (a boy!) and a collision course is set in motion.
This book. I just … I just can’t even. I enjoyed it so, so much. I finished it like three days ago, and I’m still feeling all blushy and fangirly over it.
If you look at the plot alone, it’s fine but nothing groundbreaking and I mean that in the nicest possible way. It’s a romance with some family-loyalty-type issues thrown in. The kind of thing you’d pick up for a holiday read. What lifts the plot above the run-of-the-mill contemporaries out there are the characters.
Fitzpatrick has created a cast of characters that I absolutely adored and want to get to know better. Literally every scene had me either cheering or booing for them. I even adored stoner Tim, and he was the kind of irresponsible character that usually gives me the cats-bum-mouth.
And the romance. Don’t even get me started. I am such a sucker for a boy-next-door romance, I can’t even tell you, and this one absolutely pushed my buttons. Jase had my heart thrumming and his and Sam’s relationship was paced exactly right. There was no instalove, no love triangle, just two people who adore each other. And the author also has to get brownie points for including a relationship where the two protagonists make a mature (albeit lust-filled, crazy-about-you) decision to have sex and go about it in a responsible way. Yes. Correct. We need to see more of this in YA, instead of having sex portrayed as something that is Shameful and Wrong.
I think ultimately what swung this book for me was the power of the writing. If you look at the plot objectively it just reads like a standard YA contemporary novel. Which is fine, obviously, but I didn’t go into it thinking, ‘Wow. This book is going to rock my world.’ And yet that’s exactly what it did. It’s rare that an author’s writing absolutely speaks to you, and not in a spiritual, yoghurt-weavery way, but more in a ‘Yup, I totally get where you’re coming from and I can picture it perfectly’ way. Will everyone think the same as me? No idea. But this book is still definitely worth a read.
My Life Next Door is absolutely a five star effort for me. I will absolutely be re-reading it (although next time it will be in the summer).
I received a copy of My Life Next Door in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Huntley Fitzpatrick, Electric Monkey and Netgalley.