My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

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Published by Dial Books, Jan 2016, 394 pages, 3.85

3.5 stars

I had this on the back-burner for a while. It didn’t seem exciting enough, so I kept putting it off and nearly forgot about it. I was sifting through my kindle archive last week and thought I’d give it try. It turned out to be quite a nice read, especially if you’re in the mood for something light and summery.

Samantha Reed lives a ‘princess life’, in a nice house, never having to worry much about money or grades. But she doesn’t come across spoilt at all, just lonely. Her mother had developed a passion for politics, so is always off campaigning and rising up the levels. Her older sister, a more rebellious and outspoken character spends most of her time with her boyfriend. Samantha is careful, quiet and overall good-girl, but this is put to the test when her mother brings home a disturbing boyfriend/political adviser. Clay hurtles into their lives, transforming her mother into a polished Senator barbie, and spreading his controlling streak everywhere.

Despite her mother’s prejudice against them, Samantha also has a secret obsession with the family next door, which have a Weasley/ Cheaper by the Dozen style: big, loud, chaotic but warm and affectionate. Each child has their own unique way about them and the parents are loving and all-knowing. After years of spying on them from her room, she stumbles across the second eldest son, Jase Garrett. He’s the cute, animal-loving, car-fixing, totally boy-next-door figure. They hit it off immediately and their relationship starts to grow intense. And then something happens to make her choose between her mother and Jase.

The book starts off fairly engaging with lots of characters and conflicts, especially the Garrett siblings. Half-way through when things are going good with Samantha and Jase, it does stray towards the boring side. It’s only towards the end when the real dilemma happens. Even though the ending nicely resolves this sweet-fuzzy style, there are some things from the plot left forgotten.

 

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