Samantha's mom is prim and proper, a republican political figure running for office. They live in a spotless home, and lately, Samantha's been spending a lot of time there alone since her mother is always off doing campaigning. But, Samantha's life is about to change as she begins to mingle with the neighbors (the Garretts) that her mother despises. They live in a house absolutely stuffed with children and all the chaos that comes with it, which is a nightmare to her mother. So things get complicated when Samantha starts falling in love with Jase Garrett. The world she knows is ever-changing; she's found love but her mother would flip if she found out about Jase, and meanwhile, her mom has this new man at their house.
Huntley Fitzpatrick's My Life Next Door is the perfect summer contemporary with its warm, seasonal setting and its combination of serious and lighthearted moments. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
There's really a lot going on in this book but there's still time to smell the roses. There are a lot of sweet moments with Samantha and Jase as well as all the children in the Garrett household, and sometimes, even with Tim. Everyone has their own set of problems, and all these issues overlap in some way or another by the time the book is over - and there are a couple you won't see coming. Samantha and Jase's families blatantly contrast, and really, the concept of family contrasts is what drew me to this novel in the first place. It's a concept that has always interested me, but it seems there aren't too many books that exemplify this.
But Tim was also a really intriguing part of the book; not only because of how his addictions affected him and everyone around him, but his general character. He could be a jerk or he could be funny, and frankly, he could be both at the same time. In fact, one of the things I loved most about this book was how funny it could be; and that's something I didn't expect at all. But I guess when eight children under one roof are a prominent set of characters, things are bound to get interesting. George was adorable, but Patsy also kept me smiling with her unique first words.
I must admit though, there were moments where I'd get frustrated with Sam and her inability to see what's really going on or what she should do, and perhaps a time or two where bits of the dialogue seemed a smidge cheesy. And I really did not like Nan. But overall, My Life Next Door is a very solid book; I gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads. I feel like I don't have too much to say about it because while I can't say it's a new favorite, it's definitely a fun and interesting read. Like I said, it's prefect for summertime, and I'm sure anyone that enjoys contemporary novels will gobble this one right up. There's drama without being over-the-top with sadness or other negative emotions, a forbidden romance, and plenty of humor - really, what more could anyone else ask for in a summer read?