Think about how it looks, Samantha. Not just how it feels. Make smart choices. Always consider consequences.
Huntley Fitzpatrick’s debut novel, My Life Next Door, has been reviewed quite a bit, so I wasn’t planning on contributing my thoughts on this novel.
However, while this wasn’t a perfect read for me, there were elements that stuck out to me as “doing it right” where a lot of other contemporary young adult fiction falters.
Samantha’s mother is an up-and-coming state senator in Connecticut. She’s got a bit of a Sarah Palin thing going on, with high fashion, a youthful appearance, marketable rhetoric and daughters that fit her political image perfectly. Her mother is very concerned about appearances, and maintains a perfect house, which stands in stark contrast to the chaotic family of ten next door, the Garretts.
Samantha spends years fascinated by the Garrett family, with their roudy warmth that’s so different from her own family. Naturally, like all boy next door novels, Samantha meets one of the neighbor boys, Jase. (They don’t go to school together as the Garrett children attend public school and Samantha attends a private school.) And, since her mother’s busy campaigning, Samantha’s able to spend time with Jase without her mother knowing. The two sit on Samantha’s roof (yes, I am a sucker for roof-sitting, which is probably the biggest downside of owning a ranch house—roof sitting is really difficult), hang with Jase’s siblings and develop a relatively quick connection.
“You have to kiss me,” I find myself saying.
“Yeah.” He leans closer. “I do.”