Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another. 

“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.

___________________________________

Beach reads can be great, but they imply a certain amount of fluffiness that simply doesn’t come to mind when I think about Huntley Fitzpatrick’s My Life Next Door. Not that you’d know that just from a quick glance at the cover art and brief description… so I was surprised when I quickly discovered that My Life Next Door is most definitely not a turn off your brain and settle in for a comfy, sedate ride kind of book. Instead, it was filled with angst, painful decisions, and intense romance and friendship and family drama. 


The characters of My Life Next Door are one of the best aspects of the novel. Each has a very distinct personality (even the littlest of the Garrett’s) so, despite there being quite a few children running around in various passages, each character was easily identified. I honestly felt like I knew these characters. Like maybe I lived on the other side of the Garrett’s growing up and we all happened to be neighbors. I found myself tightly wrapped in the emotional ups and downs of these characters. 


The main character, Samantha, is not perfect, though she’s spent much of her life trying to fit the image her mother so carefully cultivates. I cheered each of Sam’s rebel moments, proud of her for doing something for herself rather than her mother. And I appreciated the fact that Sam really didn’t do anything that would be harmful to herself. Her rebellion wasn’t full of drugs, alcohol, and sex, but rather the bravery to accept the sometimes messy, but rewarding parts of life outside of one’s comfort zone.


Huntley Fitzpatrick is a talented writer and I can easily imagine her novels gaining a healthy following, much like Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti’s novels. I, for one, am anxiously awaiting news of her next project!

Dial Books for Young Readers, June 2012, Hardcover, ISBN: 9780803736993, 395 pages.
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4 thoughts on “Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

  1. You've managed to completely change my mind about this book! I wasn't really interested in reading it for the exact reason you mentioned: I thought it was a fluffy beach read and I wasn't really in the mood. But a new, angsty Sarah Dessen or Deb Caletti??? I'm definitely there! Thanks for the honest and fair review.Lauren

  2. You and your reviews are GOOD. I loved MLND door as well and I too felt like I knew the characters personally. I love how I became apart of the story and seriously, the Garrets are, in my opinion, the BEST fiction family EVER created 🙂 SO EXCITED for Huntley's next story. Count me in 🙂

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