Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer Series
I love summer books. I love the romance of summer. I love books about different vacation spots. I love books about road trips. I love seeing the beach on the cover of a book. To celebrate this lovely season, every Thursday I'm going to post a book and review of a summer book I'd recommend reading by the pool, at the beach, while driving across America (or whatever country you call home), in a hammock, in a cabin, on a boat, or at home as you dream of vacation. Happy Summer, everyone! 
 
This week's summer book is: 
 
My Life Next Door
My Life Next Door

Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: June 14, 2012
Number of Pages: 362

Synopsis from 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.

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MY THOUGHTS:

Samantha lives in a hermetically sealed, obsessively clean house (her mother vacuums literally everyday) with her senator mother. Her older sister is away for the summer with her boyfriend, and then is leaving in the fall for college. Samantha, although rich and privileged, works two jobs and watches the loud, joyful, messy house full of kids next door in awe. Her mother has always been disgusted by this family, the Garretts, shaking her head at the noise and mess and at Mrs. Garrett who is constantly pregnant. Samantha, though, is intrigued, and she watches their lives from her special spot on the roof outside of her bedroom. Then one day, Jas Garrett climbs up the trellis to sit next to her and their story begins.

My Life Next Door is one of those swoon-worthy stories of first love. You can feel the sunshine radiating out of this sweet book and can't help but feel that warm first brush. This is one of those perfectly done books of two people falling in love for the first time that will transport you back to your own halcyon summer days. First love is so hard to get right, but under this author's capable hands I was positively a-swooning. The author also handled sex in an appropriate, healthy and realistic way that is also so rare in YA.


The story is not all rainbows and butterflies, however. Her mother is currently working on her campaign to get re-elected and has hired an asshat named Clay to oversee her campaign, and seems to be falling for him. Samantha watches on in despair as he pulls her mother along on puppet strings. Her mother, while distant, is also completely controlling and unnatural strict, and Sam, the consummate good girl, tries her best to tow her mother's line. Samantha's best friend's twin brother, Tim, has become addicted to drugs and alcohol and is headed for disaster. There is also a real divide between Sam and Jas financially, which shouldn't be an issue, but how can it not be.

These things make for a stronger story, of course. So as sweet as the story is, it stops short of being saccharine. The book stays fairly real. I really enjoyed this one. I loved Jas's large family, his younger brother, George, especially. I loved both Sam and Jas and was invested in their relationship. I love books like this. These warm, summer, love-fest reads that make life seem that much sweeter. Highly recommend.

22 comments:

  1. I found this realistic and sweet as well. It was such a cute story and that thing that happened with Sam's mom was a great addition to the story for the fact that it made it not so overly sweet. I loved George, too:) Yay, I'm so glad you enjoyed this, sweetie!

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

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    1. George was the best. So cute. Overall, I just found the whole book to be well-done. The author really did a great job of balancing the line between sweet and true. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Realistic sex that's treated in a healthy way! *swoons* I will HOPEFULLY be reading this over the summer. I'm so excited!

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    1. I know! It's so rare for YA, but done so well here. I hope you are able to get your hands on a copy this summer. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I read this book a few weeks ago, and the one thing that stuck with me was actually something really random. How the hell did she make it through 17 years of life without getting called Sam? My name is Samantha, and I rarely ever get called by my full name. Sam, Sammy, I've even had Samuri and Samasaurus... Just sayin'...

    Great book though, and great review!

    Samantha @ Reading-AndCoffee

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    1. Agreed. That is weird. I get called Nat all the time. It's so natural to shorten names, even if you don't know the person that well. Thanks for stopping by, Sam! :)

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  4. This book sounds so sweet! I like that it seems like it also doesn't have a problem dealing with some tougher issues as well! Thanks for the wonderful review!

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    1. I like fluffy books occasionally, but I do tend to like the books that are a little more grounded in reality more. The romance is so, so sweet, but life is still life. Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I loved this book. Such a great review. I especially loved little George as well. Probably one of my favorite scenes was when he told Sam that she could move into Jase's room. Funny and unbelievably cute. I'm wanting to reread this now so bad haha

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    1. This is a good re-reader. Little George was the best and that scene was sweet. Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I really loved this book, I need to go back and read it! It combines so many of my favorite subjects: summer romance, boy next door romance, and a big wacky family. I also totally agree with you about the way sex is handled in the book, it's so nice to see a relatively normal approach to sex. Great review!

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    1. Isn't it though? I loved the Garretts. I wish they had lived next door to me when I was in high school. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. I loved this one! Wish I had the time to reread it. Fantastic review, Natalie. I completely understand what you mean about the sunshine-y books.

    -Taylor @ Reading is the Thing

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    1. I need to find another sunny book. I love warm, funny, sowing books in the summer and it's so hard to find good ones. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Great review Natalie! I have been eyeing this one for SO long now! Hopefully I'll be able to grab it and delve in soon!

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    1. Thanks, Jessie. I hope you're able to snag it soon. It's perfect for summer. Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Really glad you loved this one. It's been on my owned but not read pile for what seems like centuries but I keep hearing wonderful things so I am so looking forward to when I can finally read it.

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    1. It's a great summer book. I hope you get the chance to read it soon. I know it's hard to get to older books sometimes, especially when you own them. Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. I'm so glad you loved this too! I read it in the winter and fell in love! Great review. :)

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    1. Thanks, Sara! It's a fun book to read regardless of the season. Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. I adored this book! One of my fave contemps yet. I even made my sis read it, and she pretty much loved it, too.

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  12. I enjoyed reading this book. I remember finishing it in one sitting. Great review. I can't wait to write my review on it.

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Hello, there! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I read each and every one and will do my best to respond--usually on your blog instead of on mine. I will, however, always answer direct questions. Due to serious time restraints, this blog is now an award free zone, but I appreciate the thought!