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.
My Life Next Door was a release I was highly anticipating in 2012. When it was published and reviews started pouring in, all I saw was love and flails so I immediately bought a copy. But sadly, there it sat on my shelf for months, which is truly unfortunate because this book was just as amazing as I imagined!
Sam has always been enraptured with her neighbors. The Garretts are an extremely large family, by today’s standards, that put each other above all else. This couldn’t be more different than Sam’s life in her pristine house with her politician mother. One day, after years of observing from her window, Jase Garrett climbs up the trellis and into her life. Have I ever mentioned how I love romances between characters who live next door? There is just something about all the sneaking into windows and being so close to each other that I love (Remind me I said this in a few years, since the neighbor girl is basically the same age as my oldest son – lol).
But it isn’t just Sam who is enraptured with the Garretts. The more she got to know them, the more I fell in love as well. Little George and his naked behind always worrying and little Patsy. Those two were by far my favorites. And what was remarkable about what the author was able to pull off so seamlessly was having this huge cast of characters, but allowing the opportunity to develop each one so well. Take Tim, Sam’s best friend’s brother. I literally went from despising him, to laughing at his humor and rooting for him to succeed in every way. He was a shining star that I can almost see having his own story spin from this novel. That’s probably wishful thinking though. 😉
Back to the romance and the wonderful Jase. *sigh* He was an absolute sweet, kind and wonderful boy. Usually I find myself drawn to the bad boy type but oh, Jase… He was beyond swoony. Such a selfless boy who takes care of his family and strives to become the best man he can. What more can you ask for, really. He will definitely become one of my favorite fictional characters.
Obviously there is a plot that delves a little bit more on the heavier side. It glued me to the pages and made me want to reach my hand through it and strangle a couple of characters. No lie. I read until my eyes hurt with sleep, went to bed, and then crawled back out to read some more. It was that good!
My only tiny little nitpick is that I wish I could know more about what happens next! The ending left a lot of questions floating through my head about Nan, Tim and Sam’s mother, but that’s the beauty of novels and the imagination; I can now picture how things turned out all on my own.
If you are a lover of contemporary fiction, do not let this novel pass you by, or sit on your shelf as long as it sat on mine!
I lie on top of him, skin to skin. He’s tall, I’m not, but when we lie like this, we fit together. All the curves of my body relax into the strength of his.