Series: My Life Next Door #1
Published by Dial
Published on June 1st 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon--Buy on B&N--Buy on Audible
Add to Goodreads
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.
This is such a gorgeous read! A sweet YA with a bit of drama and a beautiful romance. I loved it!
Samantha Reed lives a very ordered and controlled life. Her mother is cold and selfish, driven by her career in politics, obsessed with public image and caring of little else. And every day, Samantha climbs out her window onto the roof to watch the madness happening next door.
Her neighbors are the Garretts, a family with 8 children that is chaotic, loud and lively, but full of fun and love. Samantha longs to belong to something like that.
“Maybe if I can just sleep for a hundred years, I’ll wake up in a better story.”
Then one day, Jase Garrett climbs up to her window, and changes her life in ways she could never have expected. Suddenly she is swept up in the craziness of life next door and is immediately and effortlessly absorbed into the throng. She experiences family like she has never known, and she finds something very special with Jase.
I love Jase! Fun, responsible and deeply caring, he is exactly what Samantha needs. The two of them become good friends, and very naturally fall in love. And their relationship is so easy! No drama, no stress, they want to be together and they are, they revel in all that they experience together, and I loved watching them fall into blissful first love.
“You have to kiss me,” I find myself saying.
“Yeah.” He leans closer. “I do.”
But life goes on around them, and Samantha finds herself fighting to balance her relationship with Jase and the unending chaos at his house that she loves so much, with the unending pressure from her mother. Constantly striving for perfect, her mother loathes the Garretts and would never approve of Samantha’s relationship with Jase. And then there is the strain of her political campaign, the introduction of a campaign manager who is seemingly very involved with her mother, and the demands placed on Samantha to be present and perfect at all times. And when Samantha’s two worlds collide she is faced with a decision which will be life changing for everybody.
I really enjoyed this book, and was quickly swept up into the story. It’s told entirely from Samantha’s POV, and I love her. She is 17, and is still finding her way in life, but she is sensible while still following her heart, and I loved that about her.
I also love the time that the author took to develop each of the characters. Jase’s family in particular are written brilliantly! So full of life, each of the kids have their own distinct personalities, with their own issues going on, and I adored the time spent with them. Little George, in particular, stole my heart!
“Did you know that in space it’s very, very cold? And there’s no oxygen? And if an astronaut fell out of a shuttle without his suit he’d die right away?”
I’m a fast learner. “But that would never happen. Because astronauts are really, really careful.”
George gives me a smile, the same dazzling sweet smile as his big brother, although at this point, with green teeth. “I might marry you,” he allows. “Do you want a big family?”
And then there’s Tim. Samantha’s childhood friend, and brother of her best friend, he goes through a hard time in the story, but his sarcasm and cynicism are hilarious! I laughed out loud so many times while reading. But the boy has a heart of gold, and his growth throughout the story is amazing as I loved that he is woven in to play an important part of the story.
“Why do all the hot girls want the jocks and the good boys? We losers are the ones that need you.”
The climax is dramatic, and heartbreaking in many ways, but it isn’t dragged out too long, and I was happy with how it all ended up. However, I would have liked a more fleshed out ending. Not everything is finished off, and I still had questions I would have liked answered View Spoiler »What happened with Mr Garrett? Did Jase get to go to College? What did Samantha’s mother end up doing? And WTF was all of that with Nan? That came out of nowhere!! « Hide Spoiler.
Overall though, this was a really enjoyable read. A beautiful story of first love and family that is sweet, heartfelt, entertaining and fun.
I loved it – 4 stars.
I listened to this as an audiobook, and highly recommend it. The narration is fantastic!