"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, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.
As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another." - Summary taken from goodreads.
First off, let me say I enjoyed this book, despite a few small hiccups. I made the mistake of not reading this book during the summer. I heard people say that this a perfect summer read and being me, I never understood how a season could affect one's reading experience. Now I do. This book obviously takes place during the summer and all I wanted to do was lay poolside and be out in the sun (even though I don't really like the summer all that much...) Don't let the summer fun fool you, while this book was an easy read, it was more on the depressing side of the spectrum and was not all that lighthearted.
The book starts off with Samantha-the main character-talking about how the next door neighbors were off limits. The Garrets are a big family, there's 10 of them, with 8 eight kids. Whereas Samantha comes from a very reserved, small family as is it just her, her sister, and her mom. Her dad left when her mother was still pregnant with her and it's because of her father that her mom doesn't like the Garrets. Her father came from a big, chaotic family and it left her mother with a sour taste.
Throughout a majority of the book, I felt bad for Sam. Her mom is a senator, she doesn't let Sam do anything really and has her on basically lock down because she chooses what Sam does for the summer, and is hardly at home. Sam is not close with her mom, and during the book, her mom is too busy with her campaign to get reelected so she's never home. There was even a part of the book where Sam had mentioned that even when her older sister Tracy went through the teenage rebellious stage, her mom didn't even notice. On top of that she starts dating this dbag named Clay (which, claps to you Huntley Fitzpatrick for picking such a dbaggy name for such a dbaggy character. God I couldn't stand him) who basically takes control over Grace-her mom-and basically dictates everything she does. No one even likes him in the book except for her mother. She literally listens to everything this man says, even when it came down to parenting Sam, which really bothered me. How are you going to choose a man over your own child? At least at the end things change, but holy crap.
I also really didn't like Sam's so-called best friend. All Nan ever did was talk about herself and then get mad at Sam for sticking up for herself against her and blamed her for dumb stuff. I connected with Sam and I actually had friends like that and it really sucked.
Onto a more positive note, I loved Sam and Jace's relationship. From the start when Sam was doing her usual Garret watching and then Jace decided to join her for a weird and brief encounter. The way Sam thought about everything was real and not annoying. In some books the characters never think about what they're doing and just act on impulse, Sam didn't do that. Sam and Jace learned together what it meant to be in a serious relationship and I liked really the progression of them. They talked everything through and didn't want to move too fast even though there were things they wanted to do.
One of my favorite scenes was when they went to go buy condoms. It was really funny and adorable because neither of them have had sex before so they didn't know what to get in terms of being protected. They way that that whole scene played out was funny.
The only thing I had the issue with was the whole secret thing that the blurb mentions. I thought Sam was harboring some dark secret (which she kind of was in a way) but the secret thing happens during the last 1/4 of the book and doesn't really get resolved and is just left open. I didn't like that. If you're going to say the character has a secret, then it should be something that has already happened or happens in the beginning of the book. At least in my opinion.
Anyway, there is my long overdue thoughts on My Life Next Door. I heard the author's other book was actually better than this one so I should be picking that one up soon. Let me know your thoughts on this book. Thanks for reading!