Publication Date: June 14, 2012
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Pages: 394 pages
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion of the book.
It's a week later than expected, due to a really bad cold, but I am finally back and will continue posting reviews on my regular schedule (twice a week)! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and that you all got wonderful books that you can read!
One of my first reads of the year was My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick ; a novel that already seems to be very popular in America, but was only released in the UK last week. The story is contemporary and fluffy romantic, exactly what you would expect from the cover.
Samantha Reed has a very proper family with a politician mother and a rebel sister who leaves her no room to do anything wrong. However, she lives next door to the Garretts, who are everything she is not. They have more kids than anyone count, have a messy house that annoys Samantha's mother to no end, and most of all they always look extremely happy. After years of looking in from the outside, Samantha meets one of the boys, Jase. Their love happens fast, but along the way their different home situations turn out to be more difficult to converge than imagined.
I really enjoyed the love story in this one. It was done in a cute way without being too barf-worthy. Jase and Samantha fall in love fast, but also spend a lot of time together and both seem kind of lonely generally in life. This combination makes it pretty believable that they would cling on to each other fast. At the point where I really started to root for them, everything went downhill and that's where my only trouble with this book started.
Samantha is an enjoyable character, but undoubtably really really messes everything up towards the end of the book. She makes some awful choices and continues to drag out lies that she shouldn't have. Though it is explained in the book why she does this, it's really no justification for the amount she lies. But in the story, once she confesses to everything, she is immediately forgiven by everyone. Now I love a good Disney movie, so I get the happy ending concept, but I didn't buy this ending at all. You can't just mess things up for a hundred pages and be forgiven in one. Life is not a fairytale and while the romance aspect of this book does a very good job at portraying that, the unrealistic fast wrap-up at the end left me completely confused.
So while this is a good book, very similar in style to Sarah Dessen who I love as a writer, I felt like the ending needed more depth. I get that this book is light and fluffy, but if serious issues are brought in, they should have been dealt with accordingly. It's perfect to read if you want to really focus on the story, and the writing is amazing so it's easy to do, but only if you also want to forget all about real life, and real consequences.