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Garretts #1

My Life Next Door

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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.

394 pages, Hardcover

First published June 14, 2012

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About the author

Huntley Fitzpatrick

5 books5,822 followers
Huntley Fitzpatrick grew up dreamy and distracted in coastal Connecticut. She flourished in a family of bookworms where everyone always had their nose in a book. She kept an exhaustively thorough journal which frightened her boyfriends but has proved very useful in her career as a writer. Her debut contemporary Romance, MY LIFE NEXT DOOR, was published in June of 2012 by Penguin-Dial for Young Readers. Now she laughs with and eavesdrops on her six children who provide her with perspective and material. She is represented by the amazing Christina Hogrebe of the Jane Rotrosen Agency.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,324 reviews
Profile Image for Jenn.
1,016 reviews245 followers
August 12, 2014

What I loved about this book:
1. NO teenage angst from Samantha
2. NO teenage drama with the main characters
3. Jase and Samantha were very mature 17-year-olds (very refreshing)
5. The Garrett family
6. The easy, loving, trusting and patient relationship Jase has with Samantha
7. I LOVED that this book put a smile on my face and made me laugh almost the entire book. Although it did have me teary eye a little bit at one point. :o)
8. FINALLY I loved that this book sucked me in and never wanted me to put it down.

Samantha lives next door to Jase for 10 years before they actually have their first encounter with each other on a face-to-face level. She's from a well to do family and he's from a family of 8 children and a crazy/loud household. His family is something she wishes she could be a part of while her family is "prim and proper", mostly, and she always follows the rules. When Jase comes in to the picture it literally turns her world upside down.

This summer Samantha will fall in love and she will find the courage and strength to stand up for her self. She will also learn the importance of friendship, family, love, and making the right choices. Ultimately she will learn that no matter the price you have to sacrifice by telling the truth, even if you lose what you love the most, that some people are willing to stick by you no matter what, all you have to do is give them a chance.

FAVORITE SCENE with George, Samantha and Jase:
"Is Jase already going to marry you?"
I start coughing again. "Uh. No. No, George. I'm only seventeen." As if that's the only reason we aren't engaged.
"I'm this many," George holds up four slightly grubby fingers. "Jase is seventeen and a half. You could. Then you could live in here with him. And have a big family."
Jase strides back into the room, of course, midway through this proposition. "George. Beat it. Discovery Channel is on."
George backs out of the room, but not before saying, "His bed's really comfortable. And he never pees in it."
The door closes and we both start laughing.
Profile Image for Ariana.
938 reviews1,302 followers
March 20, 2015

This is why I read YA books - to get this feeling of joy, of happiness, of love.. Because I simply LOVE feeling my head so light and having my heart skip a beat remembering how it felt to fall in love for the first time (and every time after that).

I really like stories like this, that get you through every stage of a young relationship; that make you hold your breath for the romantic moments, for the first kiss; that make you smile at all the silliness and cuteness of the couple; that make you ache for them when they are in trouble and fall apart; that make you love them more when they get back together, much stronger as a couple, much more in love, knowing themselves better, accepting each other with the good and the bad, feeling their love grow with every page, with every word...

I guess what I mean is that this is a very sweet romantic story that went straight to my heart and doesn't plan to leave too soon!
There were so many emotions radiating through these pages, with all that drama and those tangled situations that I almost didn't see a way to end the story well. It was all so full of substance - there was so much to laugh about, to smile about, to care about... So much to enjoy, so much to love.

And yes, the romance is absolutely lovely: This is how first love feels like: a bit clumsy, out of place, unpredictable (and supposedly world-shattering), but also damn cute. It made me smile, scratch that, it made me giggle like a child. I like their sweetness and their cuteness and i could savor this love-story forever.

The characters were amazing as well.

I loved the main character, Samantha. There was something about her dreamy way of beeing, about the way she thought about and watched from afar the family next door so opposed to her own, the way she started to feel so loved by some people that she barely knew, the way she needed to live for once after all that watching-other-people-live-their-lives thing she's been doing.

Also, I liked how she always wanted to help, how she worked even though she didn't need to, how she tried to stick to the truth even thoug it was supposed to break her.
I am not sure what would i have done in her place. I love my family and I guess i would stick to them no matter what, but I definitely hope not to find out this on my own.

Then we have Jace.
He was the best first boyfriend you could have. Smart, cute, funny, and patient. I liked how open he was and honest, how he treated Sam so well even when things got rough. Also I loved how he was there for his siblings, for his parents, and I loved how he kept fighting for his dreams (figuratively speaking) even though there were such slim chances for them to come true.
There's only one thing that I missed - I wanted him to play a song for Sam, as i love guys paying guitar.

My favorite character is probably little George. I mean, how could you not love him? He is the cutest boy ever!! He is smart and sweet and so damn lovely; I wanted to kiss him, to hug him, to take him home and adopt him. He made me laugh so damn much and he deserves all the love and the fans he can get.

And as we're still at it, there was one more character that I loved -  Tim.
He was troubled, but he was such a nice guy. I didn't know he was supposed to have so much impact in this story, so it was a great surprise and I loved all the moments with him. He was such a good friend (when he was not being a jerk and when he was sober).

This brings me somehow back to his sister, Nan - the very opposite of him. We didn't get to know how things eneded with her, but things like this happen all the time. You have friends until one day you don't have them anymore.
Things like 'best friends forever' are easier to say than do, and the truth is that you don't need to work on keeping close a friend, you just have to be there, to enjoy the friendship.

This being said, this book was awesome. I loved it and i can't wait to read more from this author. I still wonder what would I do in Sam's shoes. I am definitely not sure.
I know that when you fall in love you think that you deserve happiness (and you probably do), and when something so dark comes upon your love you need to have all the luck on your side to make things right again. Again not sure if this was the way to do it. I agree that these things can be handled privately - scandals and fights are so not my thing, but anyways it is a shame that someone might need to get to something like that, that someone might suffer (not only one person, but many more; not only one family, but two).

So, let's welcome Huntley Fitzpatrick in this fabulous world of books!
I really can't wait for more awesomeness written by her, so...
Happy writing Huntley and happy reading you guys!

** For a better visual effect, read this review at ReadingAfterMidnight.com

Blog (EN) | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bloglovin' | Blog (RO)
Profile Image for Liz* Fashionably Late.
435 reviews386 followers
May 19, 2016


Samantha is a rich, perfect girl with the perfect life, body and shit. She's got it all but a boyfriend. Her neighbor is single, hot and ridiculously perfect. She's been stalking admiring him from her balcony for evah. HEY, IT'S LIKE MEANT TO BE. The thing is Mom hates the Garrets. They're too many (eight kids) and those morons never heard about birth control so Sam will be in SERIOUS trouble if she fraternizes with the enemy.

Life won't give her a break, though. She is surrounded by cheaters, liars, addicts, so it's no wonder she secretly hangs out with the Garrets. EVERYONE around Sam is corrupt, mean and a bad influence but her.

Mom works all the time, Sam is usually alone so one day Jace pulls an Edward Cullen, climbs up to Samantha's balcony and BOOM, Cupid! They fall in love. I'd call it instalove but she's been stalking him for years, so...

Life is good. Sam works, Jase works. Everybody works but wait... Tim and Nan: the fucked up siblings. Nan turns out to be a cheater, envious of Sam's great accomplishments and perfect boyfriend. But Nan's tired of her life, college is going to be her ticket out because she has her conflicts too, right? I'm sure Sam wants to know why her friend is so confused and why she needs to run away so desperately but wait... WHY IS NAN CHEATING? WHY WOULD NAN DO THIS TO SAM? IT'S SO UNFAIR FOR PERFECT SAM!

Aaaand there's Tim. He's your typical bad boy character. A lot of swearing and smoking. And swearing too. And apparently, TIM IS FUCKING HONEST, FOR FUCK SAKE. FUCK.

So after being fucking angry (that scene was so stupid), he quit his immoral job.

I dislike so many more things about this book:

I dislike this weird dynamic between Jase, Sam and Tim. And at one point, I just couldn't care any less to understand.

I dislike sweet, forgiving George. Dude, YOU NEED TO STOP TALKING (This book makes me hate a little kid. This book is evil.)

I dislike Samantha's mom. Obviously. That control-freak bitch.

I dislike the fact that almost nothing happened and so many issues were left unsolved.

I dislike the fact that the "unexpected event" was so obviously implemented there with no connection whatsoever with the story line, just to try to mix things up a little. And the ending was so perfectly convenient for everybody I still feel like throwing up.

I dislike the beautiful, deceptive cover.

I dislike all the expectations I had when I started reading this book.

I dislike the fact that I'm the only one who dislikes this book.

Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,574 reviews5,904 followers
June 30, 2015
When I checked this book out at the library, my favorite librarian looked at me funny and said "This is not a you book". I told her that every once in awhile I want fluffy. I can do romancy young adult.

I think I should probably stick mostly with the serial killers and stalkers

Princess perfect Samantha lives a fairy tale life. Her mommy is a politician who gained her throne through that handy trust fund.

Now next door to this paradise is one of "those families". The ones that never mow their lawn, have way too many kids, never pick up the toys and breast feed in public.
So Samantha watches them. From her roof. For years.
Then she finally gets to meet one of them. Jace. Then well...you know what happens next if you read many young adult books.

Is it really insta-love if she has stalked him for years? The questions I have.

The thing is, I did not really hate this one. Jace does have an interesting family. One kid named George that I'm gonna marry one of these days. George saved this book.
Samantha's stoned friend Tim was pretty cool too.
Now for mommy and her political boyfriend.

If you want fluffy, read this book. It's not bad enough that I wanted to stab people. Now, I will go back to my regularly scheduled killing book.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.4k followers
June 15, 2019
its that time of year again - where i dive into the sweet, summery goodness of YA contemporary perfection! and this would have been the perfect book to kick the season off, had it not done the biggest 180 twisty-turn in the history of surprises.

im not sure if it counts as a spoiler, so i wont mention what happens, but things get very heavy and very dramatic towards the end. i appreciate HF attempting to make this novel deeper than what the genre usually sees but, for me, it doesnt work in this storys favour. it feels out of place and the complete shock of it didnt allow me to really process it emotionally. i also dont think its wrapped it up well - there are a lot of loose ends and no definite conclusion to many of the problems. i dunno.

the first 70% of this is a charmingly fun 4 star read that had me grinning like a fool. but then the entire mood of the book changes and i wasnt quite ready for that. kind of a shame it didnt have a positive impact. :/

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
839 reviews3,757 followers
February 15, 2021

Why, thank you book for all these wonderful platitudes. We need to part ways now though, at 35%, but don't worry, I'll compile here every amazing moment we shared together.

Remember when Jase and Sam fell in love over a lemonade at 9%? Because I was there to follow their astounding banter and was deeply moved by the slow burn of their feelings....

"He drains the entire thing in one gulp, then reaches for the other cup.
"That's mine," I say.
"Oh, jeez. Of course. Sorry. I
am thirsty."
I extend my arm with the lemonade. "You can have it. There's always more."
He shakes his head. "I would never deprive you."
I feel my stomach do that weird little flip-flop thing you hear about."

It's not insta-love guys, because it's not the first time they talk. Nope. It's the second time, not to mention that she has stalked him for years. Of course it counts!

Remember when Jase kept telling Sam such profound and life changing sentences? I swear the guy must be an hidden philosopher gem or something.

"No, thank God. I'd die if I got in trouble."
Jase looks at me intently, as though what I've said is profound"
← SEE?
"No, you wouldn't, Samantha. You wouldn't die. You'd just be in trouble and then you'd move on."

MY GOD. Who needs Sartre when Jase is in the house? I might quote him someday.

Remember when we met the most oblivious parents of the world? I know teenagers are tricky, but there must be a medal hiding somewhere for Nan and Tim's ones.

"I know!" she says. "It's so much worst since he got kicked out of Ellery. He spends all day like this [STONED & DRUNKED AT HOME], and God knows what he does at night. My parents are completely and totally without a clue. Mommy buys all his lies - 'Oh, that's catnip in that bag, Ma. Oh, those pills? Aspirin. That white stuff? Just salt."

... and it's not finished :

"He's [the Obvious Dad] even got Tim's pot plant in with his own plants, giving it Miracle-Gro. What kind of man was young in the eighties and doesn't recognize marijuana?"

Who indeed? Should we warn someone? Put them on TV or something? Huh? (Not that Nan would tell them, of course. I mean, it's only her brother's life for fuck sake. FUCK. FUCK OFF. FUCK. FUCK. ← Tim's favorite words if any.

Remember when Sam caught her mum's boyfriend (probably) cheating and didn't say a thing?

"How can I say "Uh - Mom - I think he might be seeing someone else too"?

Hmm... Like this? Oh, no? You don't want to? Okay.

Remember when Jase thoughtfully listened to Sam's Earth shattering conversations? I'm pretty sure it's one of my fave parts. I mean, come on.

"How did you get so good at everything?" I ask Jase as he wipes his greasy hands on a rag from his tool kit.
"At everything," he repeats thoughtfully."

I might combust from butterflies each time he opens his thoughtful mouth - and it keeps getting better and better!

Remember when Sam and me agreed on something? Frankly, it just made my day. Truly. Hope to die and all that shit.

"Jase's green eyes meet mine, then his lashes lower. "I guess I like things that take time and attention. More worthwhile that way."
I don't know what it is about this that makes me blush, but something does."

You and me on this, girl. Wait - NO! I didn't blush! What I mean is that I have no clue about why this (wonderfully profound as always) sentence is blush worthy. NOT A FREAKING CLUE (explanations in comments are welcome). That SOMETHING though.

Remember when ...

OH BOY. Can I just forget it? To me My Life Next Door is silly, filled with platitudes and flat dialogues, bland and stereotypical characters I don't give a shit about (including a perfect snowflake and an absent mum), an instalovish romance with no chemistry whatsoever and - Well, I guess that's all.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,126 reviews2,162 followers
August 7, 2015
Rating: 2.5 Stars

Everything about My Life Next Door screams “summer chick-flick”! From its flirty cover, to its sappy title, to its shockingly bright synopsis, you’d think you couldn’t go wrong with this book. I was expected a Sarah Dessen type novel and what I got instead is something I can only relate to authors who I happen to loathe like Stephanie Meyer or Becca Fitzpatrick, even though they’re not contemporary authors. I think what pains me the most is that I really liked the first half of this novel. It was slow, it was a little too happy, but it was nice. It had potential. Ultimately though, it just didn’t live up.

Samantha Reed seems to have everything – the perfect grade point average, a beautiful home, a rich and successful mother, a perfect figure, and gorgeous genes. Yet, what no one else seems to see is that her mother is hardly a mother – she vacuums obsessively and has been aloof, strict, and apart ever since Sam’s father abandoned their family before she was even born. Thus, Sam cannot help but gaze wistfully at her neighbors, the Garretts, who have eight children, seem to be broke, and yet have all the happiness in the world. When Jase, the third eldest Garrett child, introduces himself to Samantha, her dream of becoming part of their life comes true. Samantha couldn’t be happier – until that is, her senator mother makes a grave mistake that could destroy her newfound happiness and love.

I’m not going to lie – I was quite impressed by this story at first. Samantha was an interesting protagonist, one who was suffering underneath her perfect disguise, yet she never let that get in the way of her interactions with others. She constantly tried to be the perfect daughter, the perfect neighbor, the perfect best friend, the perfect girlfriend, and I think that is something everyone can relate to. Yet, Samantha paled in comparison to the Garretts. In some ways, this novel reminded me of Cheaper by the Dozen – two loving parents with a large family of children do their best to make it work. Furthermore, these kids, despite their vastly different personalities, all love one another and seem to mesh perfectly as siblings. Seeing Samantha fit into this equation was nothing short of entertaining and only increased my respect for her.

In addition to the Garretts though, another family that played a huge part in this novel was Sam’s best friend Nan and her brother Tim. Sam has grown up with these two since childhood and I loved how realistically their relationships were portrayed – well, in the first half of the novel. Usually, authors never give too much emphasis to the best friend, but Nan was given a lot of importance in this story, which I liked – especially because a friend’s problems, their life, and their struggles impact your life as well. Furthermore, Tim, Nan’s older brother, undergoes immense growth and change throughout this novel as well as being one hell of an intelligent, sassy, and funny guy – all qualities which instantaneously made him my favorite character. Although I loved Jase, the main love interest, Tim was simply so much more. Jase is kind, polite, and perfect to the point where he has no flaws. He is an attentive boyfriend, a doting son, an inspirting brother, and an adoring child in general. Sam’s relationship with Jase was cute, fun, and likeable. They had their awkward moments, their gradual growth, and their eventual path to love. I liked all of these things, but somewhere after the half-way point of this book, everything began to go downhill.

First and foremost, one of the main issues that can be seen even from the beginning of the novel is the fact that Sam’s mother hates Jase’s family. She thinks they’re too big and she despises that since her own unreliable husband came from a family just like theirs. So of course, when Sam becomes involved with Jase her mother doesn’t know about it and surprisingly enough, neither does Sam’s best friend. Logically speaking, this should have been a big problem in the story. Jase should have been very upset by this, he should have seriously questioned Sam’s feelings for him, but he didn’t, because you know, Jase is just such a sweet and forgiving guy. Is this realistic? No, not even close. Strike #1

Although Problem #1 bothered me, I was able to let it go and trudge onwards with the story to Problem #2. This is a friendship problem with Nan – one which, in my opinion, was original, different, and really interesting. I wanted to see how this played out! I was curious, I was excited – uniqueness in YA Contemporary Fiction? It was unheard of! Yet, what winds up happening in this situation is that Nan refuses to speak to Sam and even after Sam finally gets the backbone and guts to force Nan to speak to her, they have a short conversation and end their friendship of twelve years just like that. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t walk away from my best friend of twelve years that easily. I let it go though, I kept thinking it would come up later, that it would be resolved eventually. Spoiler Alert: That eventual closure we’re waiting for? It doesn’t happen. Sam doesn’t even get to say her perspective of the issue in fact! She just listens to Nan, nods, walks away, and Nan is never mentioned ever again. Irritating? Yes. Unrealistic? Yes. Strike #2? Yes.

If you haven’t already figured out so far, Samantha has some serious issues – not only in her life, but with her personality as well. Most importantly, she has no backbone. A Gryffindor she most certainly is not. She lacks the courage to tell her mom about her perfect boyfriend, she lacks the courage to salvage her friendship with Nan, but the last straw comes when she lacks the courage to do what is right. This is a spoiler-free review (for the most part), so all I can really say is that her mother does something bad – really bad – and it affects the Garretts, who are poor and struggling to make ends meet, in a really bad way. Samantha knows that her mother is responsible for this act that is causing the Garretts to suffer, but no one else knows about it, so what should she do? Well, first of all, she should tell her boyfriend. What she does do instead though, is tell herself that what she thinks isn’t true – denial. I’m not heartless, so I can accept denial, but not for eight days (or a week…something like that)! Plus, even after that eight days, when she finally accepts it’s true, she still doesn’t tell Jase! This entire situation plays out in such a ridiculous manner that it is not even funny. Sam’s mother is Senator Reed, running for re-election, so the truth can’t com out because of her campaign, but you know what? I don’t care. Everyone is raised with a moral sense of right from wrong and the decisions Sam and her mother make are wrong, irritating, and disappointing. Of course this situation all solves itself up very nicely, but I hated its entire presence in the novel. Not only does it take up the entire second half of the novel, it ruins it. Strike #3

Avid baseball fans (or not-baseball-fans like me) will know that after three strikes, you are out and boy, was this book out – out of my shelf, out of my life, out. What upsets me the most though, is that this book had a lot of potential. It had unique and original ideas, but its execution of them was disappointing and lacking. I think the author’s intention was for this novel to be an expose about how a girl who seems to have everything together really doesn’t. How she makes mistakes, loses friends and her life falls apart. Well, Sam’s life did fall apart, but that was because of stupid mistakes, idiotic decisions, and loss of a brain for eight days. I suppose some may argue that that is life, it is realistic, but if you read this book you’ll know that these situations and the way they were handled were not realistic. Furthermore, Sam’s sister was only in this novel for 2% of it which was a huge mistake. I kept thinking of how things would have been different if Sam’s sister was there and I think it would have been a stronger novel if her relationship with her sister was allowed to develop.

Gosh, that brings me to another problem! There was no development of relationships in this novel except between Sam and the Garretts and Tim with…well everyone because he’s just awesome like that. Even by the end of the novel, Sam’s mother felt like the same Crappy Mom of the Decade since she was being a selfish pig. Furthermore, I haven’t even mention Supreme Villain of All Time, Clay. Clay is a douche bag, an idiot, a guy with the wrong priorities and he also happens to be Senator Reed’s boyfriend. *cue gag* I don’t want to talk about him, I hate him, and all you need to know is that he sucks.

My Life Next Door is a novel with a lot of potential, a lot of hope, and a lot of disappointment. The first half of this book is sweet, caring, and fun but then it just becomes strike after strike after strike. After reading it, I can’t even say that I liked it. If anything, I feel as if I wasted a huge chunk of my time. Looking back, I don’t even feel that invested in Sam and Jase’s relationship since Jase was so perfect and Sam was so unworthy of him and any problems they had weren’t even dealt with in a realistic and proper manner. *sigh* I’m sorry to say that My Life Next Door goes right back on my shelf of disappointing debuts. Fitzpatrick had some great ideas in this one, but everything just fell flat in the end. Perhaps a more experienced author would have been better suited to write such a complex novel, but Fitzpatrick was simply unable to handle the plethora of scenarios in this one. That being said…I. Am. Out. 

You can find this review and more on my blog, Ivy Book Bindings
Profile Image for Glass.
643 reviews4 followers
September 8, 2013
This book was worth waiting for. I've read it in two days despite the fact that I was head over heels in all that boring end-of-the-school-year paperwork that us, teachers, are so fond of.

First, I can not believe that this is Huntley Fitzpatrick's debut novel. I've read so many bad books lately and those autors didn't have the excuse of first attempt in their writing carieers. My Life Next Door reminded me a lot of Sarah Dessen novels - by the concept and the writing style. And I love Sarah Dessen.

My Life Next Door is great example of what does it mean to create believable characters - we are introduced with everyone gradually and getting the informations about each characters trought their actions. There isn't author's eulogy about them on five pages or constant describing of every single chlothing choice. (Dear autors, you can describe, but make sure it actally has a point and that it's relevant for the story - like clue in mystery novel. On the other hand, three pages descriptions of what your main heroine is wearing on her first day in school just for the sake of describing is not a good move.)

What I liked the most? The way relationship between Samantha and Jase developed. There's such a positive message for all the young girls - if I had a teenage daughter, I would make her read this book. But it's not just another story about girl who falls for the boy - read it and you'll see.

For the end I can say only one thing - I can't wait for Huntley Fitzpatrick's next novel.

P.S. September 8th 2013.
I think that I'll re-read this book soon. :)
Profile Image for Maureen.
507 reviews4,200 followers
September 7, 2015
I really enjoyed this! Sam and Jase are SUCH great characters and I really enjoyed seeing them fall in love (even if it was a little bit of insta love).
A lot of things surprised me about this book, and it just gave me the warm fuzzies all the time.
I AM STILL SMILING. So great. So wonderful. Bless.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,461 reviews9,617 followers
June 15, 2017
I will be a son of a biscuit eater!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This was supposed to be my cute little fluffy book!

Okay, I will admit I loved, loved, loved the beginning of the book and pretty much to the half way mark. I love Sam and Jase so much and I absolutely adore Jase's big family of 10. 8 kids, 2 parents and another on the way.

Sam's sister was okay. I hated Sam's mom and her moms young boyfriend, Clay that is helping her on her campaign on becoming a senator.

I hated Sam's best friend Nan and I loathed Nan's brother Tim. Although, he did get better toward the end.

Everything was going so good and fun and then there was too much Tim, some horrible stupid thing Sam's mom does <-- and they all sit around like we should just ignore it. ARE YOU FOR REAL PEOPLE.

It was like, who do I want to smack first!

Anyway, the ending sort of sucked because I wanted a big ole thing and it didn't happen. I mean it was nice but just gahhhhhhh!

Oh well, I could just read the first half of the story a bunch of times :-D

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for emma.
1,823 reviews48.2k followers
July 24, 2019

For many years, I have thought that this and On the Fence were the same book. Then I reread them back to back, for I am a fool.

Now, I somehow liked this book markedly less than On the Fence??

Even though On the Fence is by Kasie West, my mortal frenemy???

We live in a lawless, senseless world. A realm of chaos and confusion and pain.

Anyway. Back to this summery YA contemporary.

What I expected from this book: summer, friendship, banter, some light romance, a nice coming of age in the background

What I got: Suffering. Drama. Angst. So much angst, in fact, that I would not be surprised to learn that Huntley Fitzpatrick headed up the writer’s room on the television program Degrassi. (Because that show was filled with angst. Get it?)

This just felt way too heavy and dramatic in a way that seemed very pointless. Also, I did not care for the characters much at all, so it was a slog to get through it.

Now that I’ve used the word “slog,” it’s clearly time to wrap this one up.

Bottom line: This was a fairly quick read, and that’s the nicest thing I can say about it.


this book was so angsty i could feel my blood pressure slowly.....creeping.....up.........

review to come (post-cardiac arrest)


for a long time, i thought this and On the Fence were the same book. now i am binge-rereading them back to back, i guess to doom myself to a fate of getting them mixed up forever
Profile Image for Mimi.
265 reviews358 followers
July 12, 2012
Rating: 4.95 brilliant, beautiful, breathtaking stars out of 5!

FACT #1: I'm not a contemporary girl. I love paranormal books way more than my realistic ones; worlds that don't really exist enthrall me way more than real ones do. Because those supernatural books are usually more badass, intense, and fun than everyday romances.

FACT #2: My Life Next Door totally voids the first fact!!

Where can I even start with how much I loved this book? How much it took me surprise, grabbed my heart, and wouldn't let go? This is NOTHING like your average contemporary read! It's still sweet and romantic and funny and brilliant. But I thought I had a good guess to what the huge plot twist would be, and boy was I wrong! I didn't expect it at all, which doesn't happen with me and contemporaries very often.

And the cast — I loved every single character! They were all so perfectly, brilliantly, wonderfully written. There's Sam, who I ached for, because she grows up with the pressure to be perfect from a mother who doesn't know the definition of fun. Then there's Jase, and God, I loved him so much! ♥ He wears a leather jacket, drives a motorcycle, and is the boy next door... but he is undoubtedly the SWEETEST book boy I've ever met. Ever. I'm not even kidding!

(I already have our wedding colours picked out. He's seriously WONDERFUL!)

But I can't forget mentioning the entire Garrett family! Made up of eight totally individual children and two adoring parents, the Garretts are my dream family. Loud, fun, hilarious, affectionate. Obviously Jase is my favourite, but George — Jase's adorable 4-year-old brother who watches too much Discovery Channel for his own good — was a close favourite! :')

The humor! The wit! The complexity! This book was funny like I didn't expect, and heartwarming in ways I never imagined. The only reason (and I mean ONLY) that this book gets a 4.95 instead of a full 5 stars is because I felt like the ending didn't wrap up enough.

With one of the funnest contemporary casts of all time, an extremely sweet and beautiful romance, and a twist that will be a surprise, My Life Next Door is undoubtedly one of the best contemporaries of all time — and one of my all-time favourites as well!

BUY or BORROW?: Why are you even thinking about this question?? I bought this book on a whim and it became a favourite. Start saving up your change because this is WAY worth the buy — I'm actually a little tempted to buy two copies!


P.S. My older sister read this book in two days... and she hasn't read another book in six months! Now try and TELL ME that the amazingness of this book is just in my head! x)

(Original review at Mimi Valentine's YA Review Blog)
Profile Image for Jennifer Kyle.
2,377 reviews4,625 followers
January 8, 2023

What an enjoyable young adult story! Samantha is the daughter of the Connecticut Senator and has lived next door the large Garrett family for many years. She watches them but never engages until the summer before her senior year when she meets Jase Garrett and his seven siblings. Her mother is a real piece of work and not only looks down on the Garrett family but gets caught up with her new campaign guy Clay and lacks a lot of the important mom skills. The author throws in a great cast of charters, adorable younger Garrett kids, and a pure love story.

“You have to kiss me," I find myself saying.
"Yeah." He leans closer. "I do.”


Samantha is faced with doing the right thing when she realizes that her mother has affected the Garrett family in which she has become a pseudo-member. Jase and Samantha’s relationship was adorable, snarky, and well done and I’m excited to find another great author. The story wasn’t too young for my tastes but just the right amount of first love, summer fun, and villain drama.

”What Jase and I have is real and alive. It has nothing to do with how things look from far away and everything to do with the how they are up close.”
Profile Image for Kristin (KC).
251 reviews25.1k followers
October 11, 2014
*3.5 Stars*

A fun and refreshing, sweet summer read! The writing was fluid and wonderfully captured the essence of being a teen in a very realistic manner.

While the story didn't necessarily blow me away, it certainly held my interest and warmed my heart.

Samantha is a young girl who, at first glance, appears to have it all. She's beautiful, wealthy, and has a determined mother in politics who keeps up a perfect appearance for their well-respected family.

But Samantha isn't happy.

Because her motivated-mommy is cold, selfish, and emotionally distant; placing more care in her work-life than in their home.

From the porch outside her bedroom window, Samantha longingly watches the large and lively family living next door.

The Garrett's are everything Samantha's mother is not: unorganized, noisy, messy, and genuinely unconcerned with the opinions of others.

But they are also a happy, loving family, and Samantha cannot help becoming drawn to their unique lifestyle. For Samantha, watching them is like dreaming--until one day Jase climbs up to her window, and the Garrett's finally materialize.

This story's pace is slow and steady. Jase and Sam build an instant friendship that leads slowly to young love.

However, all is not perfect, and Jase and Sam eventually find themselves facing a very real crisis. One that could ultimately tear them apart.

I'm aware that a certain degree of tension must be added in a story, but I'm not sure I loved the specifics of this one. It's not that the turn it took wasn't believable, but I felt my heart just wasn't all-in.

I did see some readers mention that the ending was a bit disappointing. While I typically prefer a more abrupt, less detailed ending, I must agree with the general opinion in this case. The story didn't feel like it actually ended -- it felt as if it just fell off. Like it was dropped. I wanted to pick it back up ... but, alas, there was no more.

All things considered, I did enjoy the story and would certainly recommend to those in search of a charming, YA summer read.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Book Stats:
▪ Genre/Category: Romance/YA
▪ Steam Caliber: Mild.
▪ Romance: Sweet. Young love.
▪ Characters: Lonely heroine. Sweet, lively hero.
▪ Plot: Two young teens from opposite backgrounds find love.
▪ Writing: Fluid.
▪ POV: 1st Person: Heroine
▪ Cliffhanger: None. Standalone.
▪ HEA?

Profile Image for Stacey (prettybooks).
515 reviews1,548 followers
August 17, 2015
One of my favourite boys in YA contemporary fiction is Étienne St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss and Jase Garrett from My Life Next Door is now up there with him!

Seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed lives a quiet, stable life compared to her neighbours. The Garretts are loud and chaotic and everything Samantha's senator mother tries to avoid, so Samantha knows her mother would not be happy that she has fallen in love with Jase. Jase's parents and their seven other children – Joel, Alice, Andy (Andrea), Duff, Harry, George and Patsy – welcome Samantha into their home. She joins them for meals, helps Andy decide what to wear on her first date and babysits George and Patsy. But Samantha's mother is completely unaware of her daughter's secret life next door, too focused on her own political campaign – until tragedy strikes. Samantha must first convince herself to do what's right.

My Life Next Door is everything I want from a YA contemporary novel: a close-knit American town setting; a realistic and believable romance; a supportive and loving family (especially toddler George!); intense friendships; and quite a bit of drama. I'm part of a small family and struggle to imagine what it must be like to be one of eight children, but I loved reading about the Garretts, and watching Samantha figure out how to navigate their world. Aside from the wonderful romance between Jase and Samantha – which develops slowly and naturally, and is a lot fun to read – friendship is also important to the story, particularly how the two teenagers deal with twins Tim and Nan, both struggling in their own ways.

My Life Next Door was the perfect summer romance story – until it took a more unexpected, serious turn. We get to see whether Samantha and Jase's relationship can withstand the pressure as their lives come crashing down, affecting not only their own relationship, but the strong bonds between family and friends, too.

I adored My Life Next Door. It absolutely should not have taken me three years to pick it up. Hopefully it won't take me another three to read the companion novel, The Boy Most Likely To .

I also reviewed this book over on Pretty Books.
Profile Image for Karla.
986 reviews1,093 followers
December 20, 2012
4 1/2 Stars!! This was a 5 plus star read for me…until the end, because there really wasn’t one, or at least not one that satisfied me. I only detracted a half a star, because the rest of the book was amazing. I enjoyed the comparisons and stereotypes of two completely different families.

Samantha is a sweet, determined young woman who is showcased, yet sheltered by her mother. After many years of observing the family next door, she finally meets Jase, the third oldest in the Garrett clan. He approaches her as she’s sitting on the roof ledge by her window, observing the life going on next door, so different from the one she lives. This loving, loud, energetic family embraces and welcomes her into the fold, and Sam thrives on it. She falls in love with them and Jase. He is the type of boy parents dream that their daughter will bring home, but Samantha’s mother can’t see past the image of the large family with the unkempt yard and their somewhat chaotic life. She can’t see how good and loving these people are because her mind is clouded by the stereotype; messy yard, large brood equates to trailer trash! WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!! Fortunately Sam is a better person than her mother could ever dream to be, and sees the Garrett's for what they really are; a messy yard, large brood, chaotic life and an overabundance of LOVE for each other and living!

It is basically a clean romance; however Jase and Sam do explore their sexuality. The author was very responsible by making them responsible. Jase and Sam take their time with this life-changing event, and the author injected some humor to lighten the mood. The condom conversation was priceless.

A heartrending event occurs in the book that affects both families and I don’t really want to say too much, other than I felt like someone punched me in the stomach. It was so painful to read about! Here’s where I had a problem, not with the tragic event, but with the ending. I’m became enthralled by these two families and the author captivated me with the story. The tragedy is addressed, but the outcome isn’t…not enough to satisfy this reader. I have no doubt that others will feel the same. I felt cheated and anxious after turning the last page. There was also a matter that arose between Sam and her best friend Nan that was not resolved. A chapter or two more and it would have changed my entire view on the book. * heavy sigh*!

That being said, for a debut book it is terrific, and the author has real talent. Jase’s younger brother George is one of the most memorable characters I ever had the pleasure to read about, and I adored him, as I did the entire Garrett brood. Tim, Nan’s brother is my hero. He went from loser to savior; I would love to read a book about him!

Even though I was dissatisfied with the ending myself, I would still recommend this book. BUT if you are someone who needs the ending to wrap up nicely, beware! Jase and Sam get their HEA, but so many questions remain unanswered.

"Sun-streaked, wavy chestnut hair and even white teeth, Jase Garrett has green eyes, and one of those quirky mouths that look like they are always about to smile."
Profile Image for Warda.
1,152 reviews18.3k followers
April 7, 2018
Okay this was a lot more hard hitting than I thought it would be. Here I was expecting a cute summer romance (I mean, look at that deceiving cover!) and I get a beautiful story on family, redemption, love and doing what is right.
Profile Image for Rosalinda *KRASNORADA*.
268 reviews503 followers
August 19, 2013

My Life Next Door tells us the story of Samantha, a girl who practically has spent her 17 years watching The Garrets. All the time

The Garrets are her neighbors next door and Sam’s mother hates them because they remind her of her ex- in laws. They are a huge family, very noisy and carefree, they are happy. And even though Sam’s mom told her to never ever have contact with them she can’t help but stare at them all the time.

And one night while she’s spying them, Jase comes to “rescue her”.

”Hey, need rescuing?”

From that moment, they can’t stay apart. They always have an excuse to see each other and that’s how Samantha is introduced to that crazy family called The Garrets. I cannot name them all but let me say George was my favourite.

“Is Jase already gonna marry you?”

I start coughing again. “Uh, No. No, George. I’m only seventeen.” As if that’s the only reason we’re not engaged.

“I’m this many.” George holds up four, slightly grubby fingers. “But Jase is seventeen and a half. You could. Then you could live in here with him. And have a big family.”

Jase strides back into the room, of course, midway through this proposition. “George. Beat it. Discovery Channel is on.”

George backs out of the room but not before saying, “His bed’s really comfortable. And he never pees in it.”

So they start a beautiful friendship that ends up involving love feelings but they don’t want to take things quick so they remain friends... for a while.

Sam’s best friend Nan also plays an important role in this story and her brother Tim. He was one of my fave characters and I would have love to see him and together. Tim doesn’t have an easy life but he was a good example for a lot of young guys that are totally lost and don’t know what to do with their lifes.

Sam’s mom was… AGH! I don’t even have words, not to mention her boyfriend and all that happened
But I guess Jase made it up for me big time because he was PERFECT! I have ZERO complains about him.

”I guess I like things that take time and attention. More worthwhile that way”

And yeah… I have a tiny complain. Where the hell is

All in all, this was a very well written sweet summer story that will take you back to your younger years. A story that will make you dream and believe that everything is possible in this world if you find your Jase.

Thanks Sandra for telling me about this book and for our BR.
Profile Image for kate.
1,148 reviews925 followers
July 7, 2016


This was exactly what I needed to read. It was just lovely. I loved the characters, I loved the plot and I can't wait to pick up the next books in this series. So adorable, I really enjoyed it!!
Profile Image for Sandra .
160 reviews372 followers
July 19, 2014

Thank you dear Rosalinda for BR with me <3

There were quite a few characters i really wanted to stab in the eye and push off a cliff. Let's make a list.

1. Samantha (but only towards the end).
2. Gracie (Samantha's mother)
3. Clay (Samantha's mum boyfriend).
4. Nan (Samantha's BFF).

ways to1

But for my sake i'm going to keep this review short and sweet.

One thing my mother never knew, and would dissaprove of most of all, was that i watched the Garretts. All the time.

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17 year old Samantha Reeds spent half her life watching the Garrets next door. They were everything she and her family were not - loud, happy, messy, loving. She wished she would be one of them.

Until one summer day Jase Garrett climbs up next to her on the roof and changes everything.

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As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, something unthinkable happens and Samantha's world starts crumbling. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision.

Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

depression quotes

Someone should have warned me that people who have anger issues shouldn't read this book. Someone damn right should have said something! The last couple of pages i have been wanting to shred the whole book to pieces. Why? Naturally because of the MC Samantha.

I liked her in the beginning but at the end she became so freaking annoying i had to stop reading, take deep breaths and calm damn before i would set the book on fire (and trust me, i've done it once before).
I wished she would stand up for herself and not let her stupid mother live her life for her. And she shouldn't have just taken the way her mum's boyfriend treats her.

Teen MC really get me angry when they don't have a little attitude and listen to everything their parents say like some dogs. Sam was a very boring character, she was too good, and didn't do anything exciting like i think every girl her age should do. Have a little adventure!

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What i liked?
- The romance between Jace and Sam (really sweet).
- The Garretts family (Joel should get his own book, he's my fav).
- That Sam was still working even though she didn't need to
- Writing Style

What i didn't like?
- How much family drama there was ( i got enough of my own, thank you very much).
- Some of the characters i mentioned before
- How slow the book was (in my opinion).
- That Samantha didn't fight back
- The ending (even though it was HEA i felt like some things were left unsolved).
- And that Samantha kept quite about the whole 'accident' instead of saying something like she should have.

tumblr ltcjyo5y IO1qf4ea2o1 500

Overall, My Life Next Door was...


Not an amazing read that i couldn't wait to get back to for sure. But it was an alright, cute, summer read. Jase was a real sweetheart that i loved and his whole family was awesome!

Don't let my review stop you from reading this, you will most likely enjoy it more than i did :)

22 reviews
June 26, 2012
This book went from a 5-star read to a 1-star read.

I thought it would be about a romance. A contemporary novel that usually explores the values of family, friendship, life etc.

But by the end of the book...all I could think was, really? what was the point of all that drama?

There were so many unresolved issues , and it made me frustrated. I understand life like is like that sometimes, but for a book, there needs to be some sort of resolution. Especially you spend so many hours being invested in it.

There's this big, bad event that happens, and I don't think it made the characters grow. If anything, we just get a lot of anxiety, sitting around and waiting for something to happen. When it does, it was anti-climatic.

The romance didn't win me over either. Aside from their initial meet-up and the development of their relationship, the focus shifted. Jace is a sweet guy, but the romance didn't go anywhere. And perhaps it came a little too easily.

The main character wasn't likable either. Till the very end, I couldn't decide if she was a good or bad person. She was described as having a perfect life, with perfect looks, perfect body, good grades and she's rich. But the main character fell flat for me, and there isn't much of an adjective I can use to describe her...except maybe vanilla. Bland. Perhaps cardboard. Definitely not memorable.

Did I mention a whole of the book it's her working at her multiple jobs? Kind of boring.

I'll mention that this book did have interesting secondary characters. The siblings Jace have are adorable such as George with his phobias. After a while, you get sick of all that dialogue though. It's like the author got too carried away and once again, it came down to not much really happening.

No one learnt an amazing life lesson or repented. Nothing huge went down except that crazy, pointless twist. There wasn't a big conflict, the relationship between Sam and Jace was strong throughout the novel. Even when the 'ordeal' happened, there was this disbelief at how fast they went past that. Perhaps Jace is a little too perfect and fell flat too. He wasn't a realistic nor compelling character anymore.

Overall, this book was a let down.
Profile Image for Lora.
186 reviews992 followers
February 8, 2013
My Life Next Door is the kind of story that you expect to be light and fluffy . . . but then it surprises you.
I thought this book would be very cliché: little rich girl falls for the boy next door; gets a whole new perspective on life through the eyes of a financially-strained, but very happy — unlike her own — family; and learns something big about herself over the course of one short summer. In a lot of ways, that is what this book is about. But, in truth, it is about so much more.

Samantha Reed's character is, I think, one of the best — probably in the top ten, actually — YA heroines I've ever come across since I began reading YA fiction back in 2008. She stands up for herself and the people she cares about when it counts most, she thinks independently from her main influence in life — in this case, her mother — in a way that is smart and not just teenage rebellion. She is smart about sex choices, doesn't just jump into bed with the first boyfriend she gets — or even the third without some smart-shopping for Trojans (loved that scene!) — and is a generally well-rounded, intelligent young woman. I found being in Sam's head a very pleasant, refreshing, and, often times, spontaneously hilarious experience when compared to many of the female narrators of her genre. If Fitzpatrick's future heroines turn out to be even a tenth as good as Sam was, I'm in for a real treat.
And Jase . . . he is the kind of boy you'd want your daughter to marry. Truly. He's down to earth, loves his family, loves his animals (he's something of a zoo-keeper), and treats his girlfriend like gold. What's not to love? I think YA paranormal authors should take notes from Huntley Fitzpatrick on how to write a good male protagonist.
And Tim . . . I can't believe a debut author made me fall for a drug addict. Seriously. If the author decided to write a companion novel about Tim (maybe like Marchetta did with Thomas after Saving Francesca) and, hopefully, Alice, I'd be forever grateful to the Powers That Be.

The bulk of this novel is about Samantha getting to know — and fall for — both Jase and his family. But towards the end, as the publisher-provided synopsis says, there is a big obstacle that is dropped on Sam's and the Garrett's heads, an obstacle that is not overcome easily. I wish there could have been a bit more resolution at the end with it , but as a whole I think the climax was handled well.
And, on a side note, can I just say how utterly sexy some of this book is? I wasn't expecting that, either, but I love surprises.

Truly, I don't feel that my words can properly describe how much I loved this book, or how much I got out of it, or how much I wish more people would discover it and feel for it what I did. Does that mean this book was perfect? No, because no book is. But honestly, it was perfect for me. I'm extraordinarily pleased with it — so much so that I plan to reread it this summer — and will certainly be back for more from Fitzpatrick in future.
Profile Image for Sophia.
270 reviews2,035 followers
August 9, 2016
I remember being super excited for this book because Katie from Katie's Book Blog compared the level of awesomeness to Anna and the French Kiss. And since AatFK is basically my favorite contemporary ever, you can imagine how high my expectation were. Which is why I was so sad when I started the book and felt... empty. I didn't connect well with Samantha. She seemed sort of detached to me. Her voice wasn't very strong in my head while I was reading and that made me lack invested emotions in the book. The first half of the book was almost boring to me, which left me so disappointed.

However, once the I got to page 280 or so, I got so absorbed into the story. The plot twist took me completely by surprise and I couldn't stop reading. I wondered why the whole book couldn't be like the last quarter. It was intense, emotional, and some scenes honestly brought tears to my eyes.

I felt like Jase and Samantha's relationship moved too fast, though I did believe there were genuine feelings for each other. I really like how they dealt with sex. It wasn't a split second decision in a hazy moment of lust. Instead, they talked about it and went shopping together for the necessary things, which was nice to read about.

Although the last quarter of the book was really amazing, the uneventful first half did detract from my enjoyment of the book. My Life Next Door is a wonderful debut that slowly simmers with the feelings of first love and questions the border between family and morals.

3.5 keys.

The Book Basement
Profile Image for Jiana.
296 reviews817 followers
April 27, 2017
“Who are these people, and why do they think their own opinions are the only right ones?”

My Life Next Door is one of those super adorable contemporary novels you'd read if you want to pass the time. I really liked it yet I had a few issues with it. The plot has several themes, some of which are family, belonging, doing what's right... The plot was also heavily centered around politics, which wasn't interesting for me. I've never cared about politics. I don't understand it and it never interests me. In this book, I was quickly distracted during scenes about politics.

Another issue was the plot. There was no plot. The plot kinda started around the 75-80% mark, if I'm not mistaken. Before that, it was just Samantha's daily life and her growing relationship with Jase and his family. Samantha talks about her job, her mother, her best friend, her best friend's brother and just everyday events. I didn't like that. It made the book too long.

Now, what did save the book was the Garretts. WHAT A WONDERFUL FAMILY. I have so much love for them! They're all so tight and they all love each and they're all so precious! My favorite (other than Jase of course) is the little cutie, George, Jase's 4 year old brother). Oh my God, he's beyond adorable!

“Is Jase already gonna marry you?”

I start coughing again. “Uh, No. No, George. I’m only seventeen.” As if that’s the only reason we’re not engaged.

“I’m this many.” George holds up four, slightly grubby fingers. “But Jase is seventeen and a half. You could. Then you could live in here with him. And have a big family.”

Jase strides back into the room, of course, midway through this proposition. “George. Beat it. Discovery Channel is on.”

George backs out of the room but not before saying, “His bed’s really comfortable. And he never pees in it.”


Now, Jase Garrett, our male MC. He's just so lovely! He's great. He's sweet and he's so good. We need more good guys in books. Jase is a great brother, a great son, and a wonderful boyfriend and honestly I'm in love with him. In addition, his relationship with Samantha was great. It developed realistically, properly, and slowly. Also, the issues they dealt with were real. I loved it all!

Samantha as an MC... was well... I have no words? I don't really know what to say about her. She wasn't annoying, but not likable either. She was just flat. So I don't really care about her.

If you're looking for a cute contemporary, I'd definitely recommend this one. Also, I decided to up my rating to a full 4 stars after writing this review, because it did clear more things for me!
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