This is an odd theme, I realize that, but I'm all about odd themes. If fact, if you look up at the tabs, you can read lists from previous week themes.
So, neighborly love books are about finding love or at least a little fling with the character next door or down the street, or at the airport across the field behind your trailer, as is the case in Jennifer Echols' novel, Such a Rush. Neighbors can be like the random, distant relatives that show up at the reunion...you don't know them very well, but you know things about them that are rather personal and that you'd probably rather not know.
Today I'm reviewing...
MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick
SUMMARY: The Garretts are
everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And
every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed
wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett
climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in
love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant,
the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an
impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time
she saved herself?
WHY I LOVE THIS BOOK: I loved Samantha's quirky character from page one...she is very authentic and yet relatable. Samantha's mother is completely annal and hates the Garretts and their desire to reproduce like rabbits, speak far to loud to keep their family secrets hidden, and then there's the messy yard. Samantha's watched the Garretts from her bedroom window almost her entire life, but she's honored her uptight, politician mother's rule of never speaking to them. Until one day, Jase Garrett, climbs on her roof to have a late night chat. From that point on, Samantha dives into the Garrett's home and their apparently messy life only to discover that sometimes, stuff strewn all over a person's yard is just that, stuff. And her neat-as-a-pin life is just a mask to hide how lonely the three people in her home are and the messes hiding beneath the well-vacuumed carpet.
I love how Samantha is for the most part a quiet and obedient daughter, but she's not shy and some of her snarky retorts are just hilarious and her perceptions of the Garrett's odd life and her mother's campaign and campaign manager. I thought the relationship between Jase and Samantha was real and fun and beautiful. And it was really interesting how if one of the Garretts had even remotely the smallest amount of drama in their life everyone in the house knew about, but Samantha has this summer romance with Jase and babysits the Garrett children and for the longest time, her mother has no idea she's even spoken to the irresponsible neighbors. The difficult choices that Samantha has to make later on in the book are handled really well and I feel like, though she's breaking away from being caught under her mother's opinions, she's still allowed to be a selfish teenager and she wants to be with Jase and for a while that becomes more important than telling the truth. This is such a huge part of growing up and to write it any other way would take away from the beautiful, honest writing.
WHO SHOULD READ THIS BOOK: Probably 12 or 13 and up...I think it's much more of a girl book. You have to be able to tolerate the quirkiness of these characters and I'm all about quirky but I know some people like a more straight-forward, fantasy romance...personally, I love the baby who's first word was boob and the highly inappropriate, yet hilarious sayings of Tim, the twin brother of Samantha's best friend...and the sex talks from Jase's parent's...it's all just a ton of fun and if you like fun, funny, and sweet in your YA reads, I highly recommend escaping life and moving in next door to the Garretts for a little while.
Julie's List Of YA Neighborly Love Books
Such A Rush by Jennifer Echols
Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz
The Boys Next Door by Jennifer Echols
The Future Of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler