**Spoiler Free Review**
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
I am torn about this book. The first half has the making of a wonderful teenage love story. While the latter half does not seem to fit with the rest of the story. Because of this, I had a hard time enjoying the book.
Samantha and Jace are from the same neighborhood but seem to come from different worlds. Samantha’s life is organized and her house is pristine. Samantha’s mother prides herself on being well kept at all times. Jace’s family is loud, big, and close-knit. The children’s toys are spilling out onto the front lawn. Samantha’s mother forbid her form having anything to do with the family next door because those are the “kind of people” who run down property values and give a neighborhood a bad reputation. While Jace’s family prides themselves on being a good family who is willing to go to any lengths to protect the ones they love.
This is your classic forbidden love young adult romance story for the first half of the book. Jace and Samantha slowly start to fall in love when Samantha is asked to babysit one of the children from next door. Samantha has always admired the family next door from afar but is quickly thrown into their crazy world. Over time, Samantha starts to question why her mother forbids her from seeing the neighbors. But she hides her secret from her family. As their young love blossoms, Samantha starts to see her world differently. From her best friend’s unethical practices to her mother’s tactics in doing whatever it takes to win a political campaign. Samantha learns that her old life wasn’t perfect but her time with Jace seems to be.
The story slowly builds until a paramount event that throws both Samantha’s and Jace’s worlds into a tailspin. Samantha is torn between her love for Jace and his family and protecting her own family from a big secret. And the more that secret weighs on Samantha’s conscious, the more she seems to unravel. Samantha slowly starts to realign herself and comes to terms with what matters the most, even if it hurts someone she loves.
My Life Next Doorhas some cliché moments of young love, but it is a cute story. The “big moment” or turning point in the story, reads a little bit too much like a soap opera for my tastes, though. I also don’t feel like it fits well with the first half. Everything feels happy-go-lucky until it’s not. And when one aspect of the story starts to get real, everything does. It feels like everything begins to fall apart at the same time. And the characters you thought you knew begin to surprise you.
This is a good read to get you in the mood for summer and great to binge if you feed off of young love, but I would not categorize it as a “must read.” This is a good book to pick up if you have nothing else around or want to fly through a quick story.