Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bookanistas: My Life Next Door

A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another

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, 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?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

It's been a while since I read this book, and it just dawned on me that I never posted about how much I love it! Fans of contemporary YA...this book is as close to perfect as you can get when it comes to contemp romance. 

First of all, no love triangle. Personally, I don't mind love triangles at all. But, since they seem to be a thing that bugs people, you'll be happy to know that there isn't one in this book. Second, no "omg does he like me or not let's have a misunderstanding about it" angst. Again, I don't mind it, but it seems like people do, and it's really refreshing to read a YA book where the couple gets together pretty early on in the book and the story follows the building of their relationship rather than the discovery of their feelings for one another. Third, both Samantha and Jase are pretty mature characters who make thoughtful decisions, and I generally didn't want to toss them out the window for doing dumb things as I sometimes find myself wanting to do with some characters. 

Then there is Jase's family, the Garretts. They gave me major anxiety every time they were on the page, because large groups of people tend to do that (yes, I know I'm a teacher, but that's different), but that tells you a lot about how REAL this family was. They explode out of the book and into your life in a way that few side characters in books have managed to do. 

If you missed this book when it first came out, it's not too late to find it and give it some love. It's an awesome, awesome contemporary romance that just might change the way you look at what is out there in YA. 

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to today...

Katy Upperman is thrilled with TAKEN

Elana Johnson has fallen for LET THE SKY FALL


  1. YES I did miss this book! And it sounds lovely. I'm looking for some books to read over spring break, so I'll look this one up.

    Also, I realized recently there are several books I read last years I haven't reviewed yet--I feel downright terrible about it, especially as I loved them. TEN, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, just to name a couple. I need to get on that immediately.

  2. I adored this book. Like you, I really appreciated that it focused on the building of a relationship (in a mature, thoughtful way), rather than the angst and drama of sorting out conflicting feelings. And Jase's family... Loved them! I was surprised too, because when I initially read about them in the book's summary, I thought about Mallory Pike from the BSC and how much I hated her books because they always focused on her ridiculously cheesy family. Thankfully, Jase's family was so NOT like that. They were all so individual and likable. Anyhoo... Yes, this book is a must-read for contemporary YA lovers! :-)

  3. Starting this book this weekend! Someone really awesome lent me her copy! ;-)

  4. When I saw that you were doing this book today for the Bookanistas, my first thought was: How has Jess not read this yet?! (Because this seems like a Jess book.) And then I saw that it was a review after the fact. I really enjoyed this one for all of the reasons that you mention. There was so much that just felt real about it, and like you, I enjoyed watching Jase and Samantha's relationship develop over the life of the book. As for Jase's family, I totally loved them. Especially his precocious younger brother. :)

  5. I loved this one too! I think you really nailed what made this book so great--it wasn't about "who will she pick" or "will they or won't they", but instead it actually showed a realistic, sweet relationship!