Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publish date: June 2012
"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, 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?
A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over." (Goodreads)
My Life Next Door seemed like the perfect summer book to me before I read it: romance, fun, wacky family, plus the summary makes me think of Sarah Dessen books. I ended up liking this one, but I didn't love it.
The concept of My Life Next Door is pretty interesting and believable (in some ways). Who hasn't looked at other families and wondered what it would be like to be one of them or wish their family was different? It was fun getting to know the Garrett family, although maybe if there had been a couple fewer we could have gotten to know them a bit better. It was a lot of characters to keep straight and I kept getting Andy and Alice confused. Like I said, though, it was fun to read about them and I loved George. Pretty sure he was my favorite character.
I thought the book started out slowly, had a good middle, and then didn't end the way I was expecting. It took me a while to get into the story, but once everything got going, I was pretty intrigued and wanted to keep reading about Sam and Jase (who seems pretty perfect. Do boys like him really exist?). That said, I had a hard time believing everything was wrapped up so cleanly at the end. The ending just kind of...happened and then that was that.
I think my female students will really enjoy this one, especially the ones that like Sarah Dessen and other authors like her.