The Garretts and the Reeds have lived next door to each other for 10 years but have never interacted. The Garretts have 8 kids and are loud and messy while The Reeds are a quiet and proper family of 3. Samantha Reed sits out on her roof and watches the Reeds and wishes that she could be a part of a family like that. One night Jase Garrett climbs up on her roof and Samantha’s life is chaneed forever.
I absolutely loved this book, so much more than I thought I would. I’m not even sure that I have anything I didn’t like except that I wish it never ended!
First, let’s talk about Jase and Samantha. I loved this couple so much. I thought they were so mature for 17 year olds. I’ve read books about married couples and all that surrounds them is drama and they act like children. It was so nice to read about a couple, especially a teenage couple who didn’t have a relationship that was surrounded by drama. They had their bump in the road, every couple has them but it wasn’t this long drawn out thing and it wasn’t this ongoing issue. There are so many books that I’ve read, not just young adult but adult as well where the couple is just arguing or breaking up and getting back together every other chapter and it just gets old. Jase and Samantha’s love story was a breath of fresh air. I loved watching them fall in love. Their relationship was so sweet and fun. Jase and Samantha are definitely one of my newest favorite couples.
I loved how Huntley Fitzpatrick portrayed virginity and losing it. I feel like in YA most of the time when the topic of sex comes up it’s just “have you done it?” “When are you going to do it?” Or “I’ve done it.” When it comes to having sex for the first time it’s almost always, they kiss and then there is something like a shirt gets unbuttoned or the boy asks the girl if she’s sure, but there is never really a conversation, it just happens. In My Life Next Door, Jase and Samantha talk about it and they go together to buy protection, which I very rarely read about in books at all. The act itself, although the author doesn’t go into great detail, she definitely shows the awkwardness and nervousness of a first time and makes it seem like this couple could be any teenage couple about to lose their virginity to each other and it just made their relationship seem all the more real. Let’s face it, teenagers have sex and nothing will change that so why not make it as real as possible in books especially topics like protection and being ready.
I also really enjoyed the family aspect. The novel shows two very different families. Samantha’s mother is the mayor and she expects Samantha and her sister Tracy to be these upstanding citizens who never make mistakes, especially in front of other people. She doesn’t like the Garretts even though she has never really tried to get to know them. She hates that they have toys and bikes all on their lawn and she is absolutely disgusted by how many kids they have. Yes, I understand that she has an image that she needs to maintain but she also has two teenage daughters who she wants to act the way she wants them to basically not be their own person. Jase’s parents on the other hand don’t care what people think about them. They care about their family and want their kids to be themselves and wants whatever makes them happy. These are definitely two families that many people could see their own families in and I really liked that.
I also liked the friendships. I loved the bond that Tim had with Jase and Samantha at the end. It was a friendship that grew naturally and at a slower pace, it wasn’t just nothing and then they were best friends. I even surprisingly enjoyed Samantha’s friendship with Nan. Starting out they were the best of friends but then slowly grew apart. They definitely had some tense moments and their friendship was true for a lot of friendships out there. Not every friendship is perfect and fun and people have fights and grow apart and some people find their way back to each other and others just move on. That’s part of life and I loved that this book explored that a little bit.
This review is already so long so I’m just going to mention one more thing I loved. GEORGE. Jase’s 4 year old brother George. He was so cute and funny and he really gave the book some comic relief even in the intense situations. I love when a book brings in side characters that you love.
My Life Next Door made me laugh out loud as well as cry. It was everything in a book that I really enjoy. Love, fun, light, intense all wrapped into one amazing read. I could not put this down and read it in one day. Highly recommend this book. 5 stars!