*This review is SPOILER FREE*
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick is a contemporary young adult fiction novel. The main protagonist Samantha Reed is introduced to us a studious and obedient young woman who generally does exactly as she is expected. That is until she has her first encounter with her next door neighbor, Jase Garrett, and eventually falls in ‘like’ with him. Jase comes from a large family and Samantha’s mother, Gracie, has always looked down on the Garretts, especially the state of their much used and slightly abandoned (in terms of maintenance) front/back lawn. So, much to her surprise, when Samantha eventually ventures into the Garrett house she falls in love with pretty much the entire family.
This novel is one that has a host of supporting characters. The side characters are, for the most part, all well developed and no character feels like they were just thrown in the story for s**ts and giggles. They felt like they were all necessary and enriched the story, which is a strong feat considering the amount of members in the Garrett family alone. Speaking of which, GEORGE, has got to be one of my favorite literary characters ever! Just as charming as can be.
I REALLY, REALLY, REALLLLLLLLYYYYYYYY appreciated how mature the main characters of the story were. It is nothing short of refreshing and miraculous to have two love interests who are not riddled with teen angst, especially the type that generally plagues a young adult romance. Jase is a breath of fresh air!
Although I expected this story to be very light and an incredibly easy read it actually has some complex and difficult scenarios arise towards the end of the book. Unfortunately, it is around this time in the plot that the main character, Samantha, starts to lose some of her merit as a well-rounded character for me. But, it is understandable because as a teenager some decisions are much harder to make and nothing is ever black and white. Although it is justifiable, having to read that section made me knock the book down a solid unicorn horn. Thus, My Life Next Door has graciously been given 6/10 unicorn horns. I would recommend this novel to any lover of romance novels, lovers of YA contemporaries that have a big dose of coming-of-age laced into the story, and if you are thoroughly sick of teen angst as a substitute for plot. HAPPY READING!