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snark (reading) lady

In my free time, I snark things. In my freer time, I read things.

Currently reading

Night Film
Marisha Pessl
The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3)
Philip Pullman
Mark Slouka
The Lord of the Rings
J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien
My Life Next Door - Huntley Fitzpatrick The quintessential summer read, My Life Next Door nicely presents a cast of characters it's hard not to fall for. Samantha Reed has spent her life perched on her roof, watching her next door neighbors, The Garretts. They are a bustling, loud, chaotic and loving family and they are essentially everything Sam's family is not. Apart from being a brief synopsis of the story, that also sums up how I felt while reading this book. I felt like I was perched up on a roof somewhere, just watching the Garretts, falling in love with their family. And there is a lot to like there. Huntley Fitzpatrick's strength in her debut novel was in creating the Garretts. Each of them are unique and believable and little George Garrett really store my heart.I really liked our protagonist, 17-year old Sam. I've read complaints in reviews that say she doesn't have a backbone, which I find to be mostly true. She doesn't, but I think that's the point of the story. It's her character flaw. It's one I can relate to because a lot of time I'm anything but brave. I liked it because 1.) it made sense for Sam. She grew up in a very controlled environment, thanks to her mother. Time was controlled and monitored, all activities were controlled and monitored and they are a well to do family. That the product of all this would be a little just a bit cowardly? Makes sense. and 2.) Sam has lots of positive attributes to balance this out. She's smart and responsible and she appreciates other people. She tries her best in every situation she found herself in. Even with the high drama turning point in the story, and all the teenaged romance, I loved that this book was light on the teenaged angst. Jase and Sam felt like real 17-year-olds, not some overly dramatic book version of 17-year-olds.All the other characters were also well-received by me. I loved Tim, the lovable screw-up who I didn't forsee ending up as so pivotal to the lives of Sam and the Garretts. I also understood Nan, Sam's one-time best friend. I understood Sam's mom, even when I wanted to punch her in her face. Her motivations were all logical to me and I love that even in characters I'm not meant to love. If Fitzpatrick's strength is in her characters, I think she faltered just a bit in plot. When we meet Sam, she's been observing her next door neighbors for most of her 17 years. On this particular night, though, she's approached by Jase Garrett. It felt a little forced and unnatural. Why ignore the girl next door for 17 years and then decide to walk over? I suppose I just wish there were a more solid inciting incident. The middle portion of the story nicely showed the development of Sam's relationship with Jace and the Garretts. The big conflict was quite the coincidence. Just a really big coincidence and it's hard to accept that at face value. Okay, maybe just for me since I spend so much time calling these things into question for my blog. I went with it though because I liked the situation it put Sam in. It's easy to say that you would've acted differently than Sam. That you would've done the "right" thing, but ultimately, she's put between her boyfriend and his innocent family and her mother. No matter what we thought of her mother as readers, it's her mother. It takes Sam a while to arrive at the decision she feels is right, and that is also a very believable character trait. Then the end comes and I felt a little unsatisfied. I'm not sure what's with the trend of vague, half endings. You don't have to tie everything nice and neatly in a bow and present it to the reader, but the end of this book left one too many balls in the air. I wish I knew a little bit more about how the Garretts recovered.A smooth read and a strong debut from Fitzpatrick.