Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

What starts off as a typical teen romance, surprises the reader with its depth and moral issues.

Samantha Reed lives a charmed life as the daughter of a Senator, but the life next door seems far more appealing. The Garretts are chaotic and messy, while her life is full of order and perfection. When Jase Garrett crosses the border between their homes, Samantha becomes a part of his world and his family. As she adjusts to this new love and new life, her mother is planning her next campaign, with the help of a man named Clay who has as much interest in Gracie Reed as he does her campaign. Samantha feels as if she's losing her mother to this man's influence, but that's not the only thing she's losing over the summer as friendships get questioned. Then her life gets completely turned upside down after a horrible accident affects not only her family, but also the Garretts. Samantha is then faced with a tough decision where, no matter what she decides, someone is going to get hurt.

This book starts off as a simple romance. Samantha meets Jase and at first he's new and tempting, especially because her mother has always disapproved of the Garrett's lifestyle. Then the novel throws in the situation with her mother and Clay and how Samantha can see the man corrupting her, but Gracie is oblivious to everything. On top of that is the character Tim, the brother of Samantha's best friend, who is basically throwing his life away with drugs and bad decisions. While Samantha is finding real love, her best friend Nan is dealing with long-time relationship that doesn't seem to make any sense anymore. Then tragedy strikes and everything is complicated further. It seems like so much is going on, but it all works flawlessly together. You fall in love with all of the characters - even Tim who is an unlikeable character at the beginning becomes a champion at the end. You want to see things work out but you realize that Samantha is in an impossible situation. This book is about sacrifices and second chances and doing what is right despite the consequences.

I've read plenty of "fluff and stuff" romances that are nice for that warm, happily-ever-after feeling. This book isn't like that. Not to say that it doesn't have some form of a happily-ever-after, it challenges the reader and has a depth to it you don't see in many teen romances. It is definitely worth the read.

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