Samantha Reed has spent years watching her neighbours from her window. The Garretts are a diverse household of contrasting personalities, alluring Sam away from her seemingly ordinary and fortunate lifestyle. The day Jase Garrett appears at her bedroom window changes everything for her, and she is enlightened by his extraordinary presence. Living in the shadow of her high profile political mother, family problems never seem to be far away for Sam, startling events cause disrupt for her and the people closest to her. Faced with tough judgements, Sam must decide between what she thinks is right and what is best for her loved ones.
*I was provided with a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review *
The love between our two protagonists is a refreshing rendition on the typical teenage romance story. It’s a cute (although with a slight annoying insta-love emergence) tale of first love, that is told from the perceptive of a more pragmatic temperament as apposed to the regular YA contemporary voice that usually takes up every other romance story. Sam is very aware of her privileged position, she’s rich, pretty and well off but never does flaunt this in the faces of her friends or social associates.
Additionally, this story is not all about this blossoming romance. After the relationship was established, a firm theme of family and the concerns accompanying coming of age came into play. Even though the amorous relations between Sam and Jase was the elevated central premise during the recital, I believe the more significant notions lie with the family issues that arose. Sam cared, but it wasn’t purely all about her new-found love. She wanted to help because she cared for the whole family that she had been living next to for the last 10 years. She genuinely wanted to provide assistance with babysitting along with everything else because she wanted to do a favour to the Garretts, not to just see Jase everyday.
“Yeah, I know, it’s completely unlike me to quit without notice […] But the Garretts need me.”
It was a brilliant balance of cute love moments, accompanied by other realistic and customary ideas that may not always be included in as much depth, in other contemporaries. All that, along with the impressions of morals and principle ethics, combine to fabricate a well rounded storyline revolving around a teenager’s allegedly perfect life.
Admittedly, it took me a while to warm to the story and grasp the characters connections and establish their individual identities, but once this was accustomed, I became fond of the mature relationship. Certain characters also begin to grow on you more. Proving his worth, Tim is a prime example of this. Initially coming across as an arrogant and unnecessary addition to Sam’s life, he develops further into a diverse and well spoken individual, that demonstrates an unlikely, inspiring motivation for our heroine.
It’s a well constructed and satisfactory tale, with a nice ending (although slightly disappointing in terms of the concluding scene), with most disputes having been solved. A typical boy-next-door scenario with a constructive and alternative spin, a lot of depth has been interlaced through the characters, providing a more interesting and absorbing story.
Despite this positivity and favourable observations, it wasn’t much more than a decent teenage read. It was nice to see the two sweethearts enjoy their first moments together in classic youth styles – from first kisses and taking their relationship to next levels. Jase was such a honest and family-orientated character, almost too perfect at times. It was pleasant and delightful at times, may not be a new favourite, but still adequate and suitably composed to reflect the style and substance.
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Published: 2012 by Dial Books