Monday, May 27, 2013

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Here is my review from December 2012. I'm posting now in honor of it being named a finalist for the Rita Award for Best First Novel. It also was named to YALSA's (ALA) Best Fiction for Young Adults list.

The best YA romance I've read all year. Samantha reminded me of a friend I had my freshman year of high school who seemed practically perfect -- gorgeous, talented, smart, well dressed -- but seemed to be aloof. She presented a composed gracious presence but didn't really share herself with others. Samantha, in this novel, is beautiful and smart. She has secretly for the last 7 years or so, observed the raucous goings on of the prolific Garrett family who had moved in next door. Samantha's mother, a politician and the original Mrs. Nothing-Out-of-Place, has disliked the Garretts from the day they moved in with their many children, toys in the front yard, and unmowed lawn. When Jase Garrett invades her roof top observation point, Samantha begins to fall for him. Even though Samantha has plenty of money due to her mother's trust fund, she works two jobs during the summer -- waitressing and lifeguarding. As she draws close to Jase she develops a true affection for many of the members of his huge family while still holding everybody, even her best friend an arm's length away. The characters are amazingly real, multidimensional personalities.

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