Monday, October 29, 2012

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

When the Garretts moved in years ago when Samantha was 5, her mother said, "Oh, no, not one of those families" and told her two daughters to never talk to them.

What Samantha's mom meant was, the Garretts have 8 children, a messy house and yard, and nothing is ever quiet or in their proper place. A total nightmare for Samantha's mom.

But an intriguing setting for Samantha to observe. She's always been fascinated by the Garretts and has envied their lifestyle, since it's just Samantha and her older sister Tracy with their single mother.

Now, years later at 17-years-old, Sam's mom is the senator of the state, and Sam has grown up in a very strict household to keep her mother happy.

And it's also the first time Samantha has talked to Jase Garrett - Number 3 in the eight kid household and also 17-years-old.

Soon, Samantha finds herself lost in the Garrett household. She visits their house more often than staying at her own house and has now learned how to feed an army of 8, while also changing her first dirty diaper.

Samantha finds out, though, that she is a natural at it and really enjoys the insanity that happens everyday.

She is also finding herself falling very much in love with Jase. But Samantha is okay with that. She just needs to find a way to tell her mother without being evicted from the house or "ruining" her mother's chance for re-election come November.

Things that are too good to be true often show the dark, ugly side later, as Samantha found out the hard way. Everything is going amazing until her mother ruined not only Samantha's life, but another family's life.

Now Sam has to make a decision. Keep quiet and let her mother run for office with a clean slate, helping her chances of winning again, will ruining a family's life, or betraying her mother to do the right thing, the moral decision that she was raised to do.

Whichever choice Samantha picks, she is going to hurt someone in the end, and Samantha isn't sure what is the right thing to do anymore... Read My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick to find out what Samantha does!

My Thoughts/Reflections
I've been eyeing this book on Goodreads for awhile and was very happy when I checked it out from the library. However, I have to say this book didn't live up to the hype I thought it had originally...

Don't get me wrong, I really liked the storyline even though most of it was just being a rebellious daughter and dating a boy her mother doesn't like.

And there were tons of topics in this novel, like the political side with Samantha's mother and the sport aspect with Sam loving swimming and Jase training to get a football scholarship for college after senior year.

But for some reason I wasn't able to connect with the characters as well as I wanted.

I think the beginning of the book was the worst, especially when Jase and Samantha first talk to each other after 12 years of silence. Jase seemed really weird and his style of talking was abnormal.

Toward the middle and end, though, when Jase and Samantha became comfortable around each other, their personalities got better. But then it just felt like Samantha was trading families and moving from one lonely house to a house with too many people to keep track of.

One thing that I absolutely loved about this novel was Jase's family. Just think, a family of 8 - 10 if you count the parents. It's like 7th Heaven only a little bit more. And a lot more chaotic. Yet Jase's parents made it work, from having a 20-year-old to a some-odd-number month old baby. And I absolutely loved the scenes with the younger Garretts because they talked about the most random topics - just like normal kids to today.

So, this was a good novel, but not a great novel. I would like to see if I can connect with other novels from Fitzpatrick in the future, since this is her debut novel. I think I could get into her writing after reading her style a few more times.

Anyone who wants another read like Maureen Johnson and Sarah Dessen will love this novel. A summer romance ending in a twist, showing how life throws twists and turns in a relationship and whether love can outlast betrayal and family.

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