I was provided with a free ARC copy of My Life Next Door by Maximum Pop Books to review. This does not affect my views – my opinions are still all my own.
I have never read anything by Huntley Fitzpatrick before, but I’m now off to eagerly add all the rest of her books to my Christmas list and hope desperately that Santa is kind enough to leave one in my stocking! Recently I’ve been loving contemporary novels and this book reminded me why I love them so much.
One of my favourite things about this book is the Garrett family – I love them all and if I could I’d go and live with them. I especially enjoyed all the scenes where you got to see the Garretts interact as family with each other and Samantha. Families are something which are entirely underrepresented in YA novels so it made me so happy to read about this great one! And the Garrett family weren’t the only one portrayed in this book. You also see Samantha’s family, with her single Mum Gracie who is running in the election and her sister who has spent years being rebellious and is now off to college. The dynamic in this family was completely different – Sam’s sister barely features and her mother appears at times apathetic towards her daughter. The final family we are introduced to in this novel is Nan and Tim’s family, the Mason which includes their constantly cheery Mum, their uncaring Dad, Tim the alcoholic, drug addict who has been fired from almost every job and Nan who constantly strives to be perfect and escape their town, even resorting to cheating. The fact that multiple different family types, rather than just one was portrayed made this book even more impressive.
Guess the next thing I’m going to mention. Let’s talk about … baby. Let’s talk about you and me. That’s right – sex. This book had two teenagers talking maturely about safe sex and contraception and the importance of mutual pleasure. Often in YA novels, sex isn’t mentioned and if it is, the practical side of things is never worried about. However saying that the sex wasn’t at all graphic or an main part of the book.
When asked by Maximum Pop Books to choose my favourite Garrett, it was a tough decision but in the end though, I’m going to have to say George becuase she never fails to make me laugh. He’s absolutely adorable with his welcoming nature and ability to always think of the worst scenarios.
To start talking about the romance, I have to say Jase and Samantha were so cute together! Their relationship seemed really genuine and I loved how he made her a part of his family. They seemed so accepting and supporting of each other, being able to let go of preconceived notions and love each other for who they really were.
Overall for me, it was 9/10. A really enjoyable read that I couldn’t put down. I loved the vibrant family dynamic and the adorable romance. To describe it in three words I’d say family, love and discovery.