Warning: May contain spoilers—I tend to ramble.
★ ★ ★ ★ – Kept me interested all through and I liked it.
Why does something that’s supposedly wrong, feels so good?
“My Life Next Door” is a contemporary teen fiction.
Samantha is the good girl—the obedient A+ student, living with her sister and single mom. Her only reprieve is her fascination by the family next door; the troublemakers of the street.
Jase is the hot guy next door, and one day he sees Samantha sitting on her rough, staring at the loving chaos he calls family. He decides to join her.
It is super hard to review this because I honestly loved 80% of this book. But to me, it seemed that the last 20% was taken from a completely different book.
Where I thought I was reading a humorous contemporary YA, it suddenly turned over to some sort of psychological thriller, that kinda made me a bit afraid. (I’m a big chicken, I know.)
Thoughts while reading:
Extremely lovely and funny teen fiction. There’s no insta-love, and I enjoyed watching the two main characters slowly get to know each other.
Coming from a big family myself; I absolutely loved Jase’s siblings. It reminded of my own family, and the quirks I see every day. Might even have made me slightly homesick.
I know that sex is generally a no-no in most YA. But I was pleasantly surprised at the responsibility surrounding sex. This book will be read by teens, and many of those teens will be going through their sexual awakening. Having a book that doesn’t shun intimacy, but also shows how important communication AND prevention is? Magnificent. A+++ to Huntley Fitzpatrick.
So what did I like, and what did I dislike?
This will be the spoilery part.
– Jase is the perfect book boyfriend. I call dibs. He’s sweet and caring for his family, he’s handy when it comes to motors, he loves animals (Even the creepy ones), and he doesn’t pressure his girl at all. *sigh* I want five.
– There was no insta-love. It started with fascination—interest if you like. Maybe a tad rebellion. But it grew slowly, starting with friendship, and I loved how real this part felt. It gave me an opportunity to fall for Jase along with Sam.
– Loved how the alternative sister, who was clearly sexually active and alternative, were one of the most responsible people in the book (Studying to be a nurse). Way to kill prejudices.
– In general, I enjoyed most of the book that was set with the Garretts. I loved their family, the mess, the chaos and especially the humor. I loved the love.
There wasn’t a whole lot of things I disliked. Enough to bump it down to a four-star rating, though. One of the things I disliked was Sam’s family.
– Her sister is non-existent. Despite being the “rebellious” kid, and away on vacation, there was no interaction with her. I would have liked to see some more sister-love between the MC and her sister. Especially because that seemed like it would be in the MC’s nature, when I look at how she interacted with Jase’s family.
– The mom. I get the ambition. I kinda get the dislike for big families. I don’t get the rest of her. She is a horrible person. Despite being supposedly this super smart, career woman, she is so easily manipulated. And her behavior made me sick.
– Speaking of the mom. The biggest reason I didn’t absolutely LOVE this book, was because of her. It kinda makes me wish that this book had been written with the typical absent parent cliché, that so often fills YA.
The entire plot around Sam’s mom just felt like another book. A book written for a different market. Without her, the book would have been perfect.
Recommended for: Even though I disliked part of the book, it is a really good book. If you can overlook the random plot-change surrounding Sam’s mom, then you have a sweet teen romance, showing how to come of age, and realize that parents doesn’t define you. Would recommend to people who enjoy sweet contemporaries. Although, beware of the mom.