MY LIFE NEXT DOOR is a contemporary YA novel written by the wonderful Huntley Fitzpatrick.
I have been hearing about Huntley and her writing for quite some time. Many of readers who like the works of Kasie West, Jennifer E. Smith, Morgan Matson recommended her books to me. This was a first book by Ms Fitzpatrick I have read and I must say, the rumours were true. I was blown away with her writing.
On one summer night, everything changed.
Life in Samantha Reed's home is newt and clean and orderly - precisely planned by her local politician mother. Next door, at the Garrets', things are loud, messy and irresistible. And when gorgeous Jase Garrett climbs the trellis outside her bedroom and enters her life, she finds herself falling passionately in love with him and everything he brings with him. Then something unthinkable happens, and Samantha is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
Let's talk about the easy thing first - the edition. I have the paperback published in 2012 by Penguin. It's quite a soft edition. 394 pages divided into 53 chapters. There is a photograph of a young couple kissing in the front of big wooden fence. I think this represents Sam & Jase. It's quite a lovely design. Easy on the eye and beautiful. I quite like the edition. There is one thing I have noticed about Fitzpatrick's books. They all have pastel lined spines which match each other. So they compliment each other wonderfully. I quite like the summery feeling which the novel brings.
The writing. Oh how much I like the writing. So modern. Emotional. Lovely. Adorable. Huntley manages to capture the first moments of falling in love so perfectly. You cannot help but to fall in love with the story and the characters.
The story is a perfect summer read. It has all the key elements a summer romance has to have. First love. Parents against it. Unexpected twists and turns all packed in a beautiful tale. It's un-put-down-able. Seriously, as soon as you start reading it, you are hooked. You cannot help but keep reading on. Just one more chapter becomes your mantra which you break time and time again.
It's a story of first love, friendships, family and what really matters in the world. I love the contrast between Sam's own home and Jase's family home. It just shows that you don't have to have all the money in the world, to be happy with what you have. It teaches what is important. What qualities you need to look for in people. And sometimes people do disappoint you with their choices. But don't let them bring you down. As long as you are planted firmly with your feet and know what is right, you have a good future ahead of you.
All the characters in the story are loveable and so so relatable. Seriously, every single person can find a piece of us in them. We have the beautiful, intelligent Sam who always played by the rules and expectation and who's life is finally getting some colour and adventure in it. Then there is Jase. The adorable and attentive guy who love her and his family so dearly. Of course I cannot wait to forget to mention my favourite character who literally changed his world and turned it upside down - Tim. And then there is Sam's mum, Grace who is blinded by prejudice. These are characters with real emotions and character flaws and therefore we love them even more.
As I said at the beginning, I have fallen in love with this book completely. It made me giggle, laugh out loud, swoon, cry, holding my breath... It was an emotional ride but I loved every page, every chapter, every minute spent reading it. It was charming. Cute. Mesmerising. Un-put-down-able. And absolutely adorkable. A perfect summer read.
So thank you Huntley for putting this story on paper and sharing with us hopeless romantic always chasing the dreams. You created a beautiful tale I loved from the first page. I cannot wait to read more of your stories. I have already purchased 'THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO' and 'WHAT I THOUGHT WAS TRUE'. I am excited to bite into these novels.
So Ms Fitzpatrick, I think it is safe to say that you got yourself a new fan. I will keep on reading what you write !! Excited!!