C.G. Drews's Reviews > My Life Next Door

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, read-2015, young-adult

You know how I'm a contemporary snob? And it takes sooooo muuuuch for a contemporary to wrap around my heart and turn me into happiness and sprinkles? Well this book successfully stole my heart. SCRAP THAT. IT STOLE MY SOUL. I AM SO IMPRESSED RIGHT NOW. I have a few niggles, but gahhhhhh. I loved it. It basically went through a checklist of ALL the things that win me over. So it's basically possible that Huntley Fitzpatrick wrote it for me, okay? Just so you know.

Because it had:
• huge emphasis on family...BIG families in fact, which warms my soul because I have big family.
• a slow burn romance that started off as a friendship.
• all the secondary characters had personalities and lives and brains too, and no one felt like a cardboard cut out.
• Plenty of food
• I think my emotions caught in a knot and I hiccuped with feels, but ya know, that probably wasn't me because I am Vulcan.
• Did I mention big families?!?!??!?!?!?

What I was most impressed about is how the book did big families RIGHT. It's like a culture, truly! And I loved the details. Even to the point of going to the shop and having comments on "why are you having so many kids" and the prejudice towards mothers who breastfeed. Why not? Why are people terrified by the idea of big families?!?! I'm one of 6. But the Garrett family had EIGHT kids. And they just caught everything soooo weeell. Like having the babies escaping clothes, and mess and calamity, and how the siblings interacted. AWK. <3

(Although to be a complete pain, my only nitpick in that realm is George. I LOVED GEORGE. He is the most adorable endearing 4 year old of the world. But...I have a 4 year old nephew and George was a bit out-of-this-world in terms of facts and cognitive ability and maturity. But hey. Not all 4 year olds are the same. So I'm not going to say kids like George don't exist. THEY DO. [They're also sometimes Autistic but...hm.] I think George was getting all his facts and things from TV, but still. He's only 4. He seemed too mature. Although I did so so love his character.)

The story is about Samantha, who lives (OBVIOUSLY!!) next door to the Garrett's. She kind of has this thing about "watching" them. Which could be creepy!? But I related to that. (Maybe I am creepy?) Fascinatingly big families with all their dynamics and life are super captivating to watch. As a character though, I didn't really love Sam. She was quite, calm, collected, rich, perfect...la la la . I don't think she was badly written. I just felt like she had little to no life ambitions. Which I found sad? It's like the quiet characters almost NEVER have life ambitions until they get a boyfriend and wild friends and all that. But *ahem* maybe I'm just being nitpicky here. I didn't hate Sam or anything! I loved her humour and I loved that she was never a snob. And I lvoed that she so easily slotted into babysitting for the Garretts and how she never judged their life choices. OMG.

And of COURSE I liked Jase. Although I kept thinking of Jace from City of Bones because that's the only time I've seen that name. (Although Jase is short for Jason.) He fixed things. *sniffs* He took care of babies. *sniiiiiiffs* He was sweet and yet tough and loved cars and was kind of badass at the same time as being just an adorable golden hearted marshmallow. *sniiiiiiiiiiiiiffs* LEAST TO SAY I SHIPPED IT.

And a quickie glance at some of the other secondary characters:
• Sam's mum: Yeah she was AWFUL. I'm sure she had OCD with all that obsessive vacuuming too, by the way. But she was definitely being manipulated and she didn't listen to her daughters and AT THE END SHE'S RATHER DESPICABLE. Ugh. A very narrow-minded character. Me no likee.
• Tracy (Sam's older sister): Tbh, why was she even in the book? Because she mostly wasn't.
• Clay: This is the evil much younger boyfriend of Sam's mum and AGH I HATE HIM SO MUCH HE WAS MANIPULATIVE. By covered it by being smooth and charming. Politics ugh.
• Nan: Despite being named after Peter Pan's dog, she was, in fact, not loyal or nice. I didn't like Nan very much because she seemed a bit acidicly jealous towards Sam's life...and then at the end...no Nan. You should've stayed the dog in a children's story.
• Tim: Oh Tim, Tim, Tim. At first I hated him. He obviously has some mental health issues and addictions and he was always stoned and drunk. But I don't think having a crappy life EVER excuses you from being a jerk, okay?! OKAY. But then...Tim grew on me. And by the end, even with his failings, at least he was trying, and he was funny. And I just found myself rooting for him to have a better life.

Oh and the plot takes you on a WHIRLWIND of emotions! The writing was quite detailed, so I actually didn't whip through the book very fast. But I felt like I was soaking it all in and I really felt INSIDE the story. I could see it all!! And the ending. Woooow wowo wowoowow. I was flipping pages frantically and WAILING. Because it has a huge moral dilemma and it's just all a bit gut-wrenching. And I also appreciated that there weren't any wild drunk parties in this book. LIKE, NONE. I really die a bit at all the contemporaries that have a million parties. Least to say I'm NOT a party animal. So I always kind of zone out. But this had work and family chaos and tragedy and politics and more work (because these teens are earning money and being responsible) and YEAH. I loved that!

I ship it. I love it. Big families. Melted ice cream. SERIOUSLY I THINK THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING. I had me totally caught up. AHHHHHHH. It's basically a 4.5 star rating. And the only reason it doesn't get to the top is it's very LONG and I felt a lot of the time...it was dragging a bit in the middle? Most of the time I was okay with that...but YEAH. Also I really don't understand American politics. I JUST DON'T. So whenever it fell into that jargon I withered like a petunia in the desert.

But basically I loved this book. And as a mostly-non-contemporary-reader...THAT IS A BIG DEAL. I wish there were more books with enormous families and all the chaos and love that goes with it. Because it's beautiful and it's challenging and BIG FAMILIES FTW I SAY. (Also entirely shippable romances and cute boys and fabulous witty banter also is awesome. That too.)
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Quotes C.G. Liked

Huntley Fitzpatrick
“Everything was wonderful and then everything was awful.”
Huntley Fitzpatrick, My Life Next Door

Reading Progress

January 31, 2014 – Shelved
January 31, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
October 23, 2015 – Started Reading
October 23, 2015 –
page 183
46.45% "THIS IS ENTIRELY ADORABLE. I adore the Garrett family. Coming from a gargantuan family myself...this book is so 100% spot on I'm dyyyyying of the perfection."
October 23, 2015 –
page 270
68.53% "Everything is too CUTE AND PERFECT. So I'm scared devastation is going to happen..."
October 24, 2015 –
page 317
October 24, 2015 –
page 344
October 24, 2015 – Shelved as: contemporary
October 24, 2015 – Shelved as: read-2015
October 24, 2015 – Shelved as: young-adult
October 24, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-27 of 27 (27 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I also SO appreciate it when big families are done well in books. I'm one of ten children, and the big-family-stereotypes ANNOY ME SO MUCH. :-)

Shanti Cait, stop feeding my library addiction

Samantha Yes! When I read this all I could do was think about Jace : D this is an amazing outline of the book as well as a review. You know, I actually had people accuse me of stealing Samantha's name once? Haha. That's why I read it in the first place : P

message 4: by Emily (new)

Emily OMG I need to read this now. I wasn't sure of it because I'm wary of contemporary romances (I get sick of the same old, same old and the parties and ick.) but this sounds SO GOOD and I know you're a tough bookworm so if you like it I think I will. :)

message 5: by Zoe (new) - rated it 3 stars

Zoe #BookishTwinsStrikeAgain (<-- this is now officially a thing, right?)

Although I gave it 3.5 stars, but close enough, right? ;)

Cherie Oooooooooh I am the oldest of 7 and it seems like there are NEVER any books with big families, so I am super eager to read this now!!!!! *squeals*

C.G. Drews @Naomi: Omg, 10 children? YOU WILL LOVE THIS THEN. (Now me and my 5 siblings feels teeny tiny! Heheh)


@Samantha: Saaaaame. I feel like that name is sort of...only for Jace of City of Bones?!? hehe. BUT STILL. Jase was utterly adorable and I loved him. :')

C.G. Drews @Emily: YES YOU DO NEED TO READ IT. I'm sooo picky about my contemporaries but adfjaslfd this one is all. the. love.

@Zoe: YAYYYY!! Well...nearly?! :P It nearly got 5-stars from me actually. ;)

@Cherie: OMG I AGREE!! (I'm the second youngest of 6.) But where are all the big families?!? I feel like most books have only children or just one other sibling. :O

message 9: by Nat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nat What sucks at the moment is that I can't find this book anywhere :(

message 10: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @Natalia: Nooooo THAT IS SADNESS. :'(

message 11: by Nat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nat Cait Grace wrote: "@Natalia: Nooooo THAT IS SADNESS. :'("

I know right and I've wanted to read for ever. I might have to order it on ebay or amazon :)

message 12: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda Okay, as the oldest of seven who started writing because of a great lack of books with big families, I kind of really want to read this now. I guess it's a hard thing to get right, having to keep track of all those people and whatnot, but hey. If we can do it in real life there must be a way in a book!

message 13: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @Amanda: It is like the ONLY book I've read with an actual realistic (and positive) big family. :') I want to write one someday too!!

Rachel's Book Reviews @Cait HEY!!! Another really positive book about a large family is My Life with the Walter Boys. It's adorable.

My Life With The Walter Boys by Ali Novak

Seriously, it's gushable.

message 15: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @Rachel: Ooh, I'll check that one out too, then! :D

Dragana I loved this one too. :) I adore books with big families. If you are looking for something similar, there is also: On the Fence. ;)

Ksenia I really appreciate your input on how big family was portrayed in this book.

Charnell (Reviews from a Bookworm) Yes!!! So happy you enjoyed this one. It's one of my all time favourite contemporaries!!! :)

message 19: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma I loved this book so much. I love the feeling when you get swept into a good book. It showed the tragedies of life. I would love to see a sequel to this. I know there's The Boy Most Likely To... But I would love to have another full story focused on Samantha and Jase.

message 20: by Rosie (new)

Rosie Jase sounds wonderful. I want a Jase in my life.

message 21: by Hana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hana Bilqisthi reading your review made me want to read this :D thank you cait :D

message 22: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @Hana: I hope you try it! IT IS SO GOOD.

message 23: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel sounds good! had it on my tbr for quite a while now. great review cait!! :))

message 24: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @Rachel: Aww, thankyou!

message 25: by Hana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hana Bilqisthi I have read it and really so good :D

message 26: by VGA (new) - added it

VGA Yay! Love for big families! I'm the oldest of six, and it ticks me off whenever I see families being portrayed wrongly. Like, I JUST NEED SOME BOOKS WHERE THERE ARE BIG FAMILIES. WITH NO STEREOTYPES. CAN WE JUST HAVE THAT?!?!

message 27: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @VGA: Definitely! I love how this book does big families so so right. ^_^

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