Tag Archives: My Life Next Door

The Boy Most Likely To – Huntley Fitzpatrick

Breaking the Curse of the Sequel

I don’t believe that there is in fact a documented literary phenomena to support my splashy sub-heading but admit it you all knew what I was referring to. In case I seem to be going out on a limb here let me rephrase, have you ever read a book and liked it so much that you never wanted to read another thing by the author? No? So it’s just me then? Well let me explain I adored, I mean straight out “loved” My Life Next Door – read my rave review here – and having more than a little bit in common with the anxiety ridden second youngest member of the Garrett family George, I was extremely worried about what a sequel would have in store for me. Oh yeah, and my beloved Garretts too.

TBMLT

df35b-goodreads

Surprises abound and sparks ignite in the highly anticipated, utterly romantic companion to My Life Next Door

Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To:
find the liquor cabinet blindfolded
– need a liver transplant
– drive his car into a house

Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To:
well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters

For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.

Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.

And Alice is caught in the middle.

Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this return to the world of My Life Next Door is a story about failing first, trying again, and having to decide whether to risk it all once more.


My Life Next Door was ridiculously good, Huntley Fitzpatrick brought the boisterous Garrett family to life etching in loving detail every member of the unbelievably large family, think Kate Plus Eight large. As I write this, one might not appreciate what a difficult task this is, until they stop and consider how many books that a person reads and only the protagonist and/or possibly the love interest have any real detail or character development. I am pretty sure this is not a stylistic choice but actually because it is really hard to give more than just a very small number of characters real and tangible depth. Yet in a Huntley Fitzpatrick novel even the tertiary supporting characters have a vibrancy not often found in novels today.

I am not a kid person, my own notwithstanding though they are not entirely immune to my aversion depending on the day yet I fell in love with the many younger members of this clan. Even my less grumpy book compatriots have been known to comment on how annoying children can be in books. Well in this series they abound and truly steal the show on more than one occasion. In My Life Next Door, I was completely captivated by young George’s many worries, in my mind I imagined a four year old Woody Allenesque fellow.  Ms Fitzpatrick proved that this was not just an anomaly with the sequel The Boy Most Likely To where 18 month old Patsy repeatedly stole any scene she was present in. Even newborn Cal had a separate and distinct character truly an awesome feat considering how most infants don’t seem to have much of a personality at all, let alone in literature, to anyone short of their parents.

Amongst the myriad of possibilities for a follow up was the hot mess known as Tim Mason. Samantha Reed’s erstwhile best friend Nan’s twin brother and resident druggie/alcoholic, Tim hits rock bottom towards the end of My Life Next Door and at the beginning of The Boy Most Likely To, we find him struggling to make a go of the sober life with little or no help from his family. Alice, the second of the eight soon to be nine Garrett children, was not a favourite of mine in the first book. Not to put to fine a point on it but Alice seemed to be a bit of a bitch. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but out of characters whom I loved from the first book she didn’t make my short list of ones I needed to revisit immediately. As I read I found myself emphasizing completely with “Tin Alice” and thinking her the ideal choice. However, if there were ever two mismatched people who were actually perfect for one another it is Tim and Alice.

I often complain about YA and NA literature for the sheer unadulterated amount of angst, the equal one could only find in a soap opera, sometimes not even there. Without a doubt there is some very heavy stuff that goes down in this series and in yet another demonstration of her skill and artistry Ms Fitzpatrick manages to keep the drama high without ever descending into the territory of the maudlin’.

In short, don’t wait to read The Boy Most Likely To, it is easily the equal of it’s excellent predecessor. My George-like fears were completely unfounded, I can only hope that there will be more stories about the many Garrett siblings to come. At the very least I will certainly stop putting off reading What I Thought To Be True.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

HFHuntley Fitzpatrick grew up dreamy and distracted in coastal Connecticut. She flourished in a family of bookworms where everyone always had their nose in a book. She kept an exhaustively thorough journal which frightened her boyfriends but has proved very useful in her career as a writer. Her debut contemporary Romance, MY LIFE NEXT DOOR, was published in June of 2012 by Penguin-Dial for Young Readers. Now she laughs with and eavesdrops on her six children who provide her with perspective and material. She is represented by the amazing Christina Hogrebe of the Jane Rotrosen Agency.

WEBSITE

Advertisements

Nice Guys Finish Last, Or Do They? My Life Next Door – Huntley Fitzpatrick

My friend Auralee and I have a long running debate, I hesitate to use the word argument as I don’t necessarily disagree with her, regarding the almost irresistible allure of the bad boy in media. She finds bad boys unattractive for a myriad of reasons all of which are pretty indisputable they are self centred, childish, inconsiderate of others just to name a few of their less appealing traits.

Think about it, with whom did your allegiances lie with in LOST? Jack or Sawyer? Or in Vampire Diaries, before it jumped the shark, Stephan versus Damon though if you ask my opinion using Ian Somerhalder in any competition whatsoever is just cheating. Even Auralee of the staunch opinions waivers under his power, truly who wouldn’t? Can anyone resist that smirk?

ian-somerhalder-gq

There is not just one, but no less than seven lists that directly feature bad boys on Goodreads Listopia so this phenomena is not just a construct of this author’s mind. We are inundated in the media with images of the bad boy. Nor are bad boys in literature a new concept for every Mr. Darcy we need a Wickham. In fact, consider the basic love triangle equation,  it consists of A, we will call her Confused Young Woman, B, the Bad Boy of course and C, our white knight. Add conflict and personal growth, stir vigorously and with the right combination of the above it is literary and/or cinematic magic.

A recent article from Ask Men – Become a Better Man in their Dating & Sex section titled “How To Be A Bad Boy”  had the following to say on the topic.

Just as men are turned on by a woman’s femininity, so to do women respond to overt male masculinity — and the Bad Boy has it in buckets. What’s going on here is that she’s having a gut reaction to his confidence and male strength, and is blind to anything else. So the trick is to learn to take the Bad Boy’s negative traits and spin them in a positive direction to make them work for you — in other words, to become a Bad Boy without really being “bad.” This way, you can still maintain your gentleman status without turning into an abusive jerk.

To a certain extent it is biology that elusive combination of pheromones and physical characteristics that identify to us that the individual’s potential to produce viable offspring is good. However being as we no longer have to forage for food or defend our caves from marauding bandits or animals or both, are the bad boy’s days numbered?

REVIEW

As I read My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, I realized that this author has done the impossible. In Jace Garrett, she has literally crafted the perfect man and while the third of the impressively large Garrett brood may be from the wrong side of the tracks he is without a doubt an unequivocally “nice guy”.

One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garrets. All the time.”

  • My-Life-Next-DoorTitle: My Life Next Door
  • Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
  • ISBN: 0803736991 (ISBN13: 9780803736993)
  • Series: My Life Next Door #1
  • Published: June 14th 2012 by Dial Books For Young Readers
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Genre: YA/Romance
  • Page Count: 394
  • Source: Purchased
  • Rating: A

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

My Life Next Door is quite simply a fabulous book, it was one of those reads that I simultaneously wanted to put down lest anything bad happen to the characters I was becoming so fond of and devour in a single sitting just to find out what happens. The latter of these impulses won out, I have the sunburn on my forehead as testament from reading outside at midday while my daughter played contentedly in the cat box…whoops, I mean beach volleyball pits.

In a strange reversal of fortune considering she is from a single parent family, in the world of haves and have nots, Samantha Reed is definitely in the former category. Schooled by her state senator mother she leads a life of following the rules. Her secret indulgence is watching the Garetts from the safety of the roof outside her bedroom window.  While Samantha’s mother strictly controls the Reed’s life down to the carefully preserved vacuum cleaner lines on the carpet, the Garetts are joyfully chaotic. For years Samantha has been on the outside looking in at the idyllic unconventional family next door.

“I said that wrong. Like it was all about how you look, and that’s not it. It’s just that you’re so different than I thought you were.”

“Than you thought I was, when?”

“When I saw you. Sitting on your roof. For years.”

“You saw me. For years?” I feel myself flush again. “You didn’t tell me that.”

“For years. Course I didn’t tell you. I knew you watched us. Couldn’t figure out why you didn’t just come over. I thought… maybe you were shy… or a snob… I didn’t know. I didn’t know you then, Sam. Couldn’t help watching back, though.”

My Life Next Door was one of those unusually satisfying reads boasting not just a developed protagonist and possibly the love interest  but a whole host of vividly drawn fully developed secondary characters. Of which my personal favorite was Jace’s anxiety filled yet ridiculously endearing youngest brother George.

While I don’t personally subscribe to having book boyfriends per se, perhaps I am just too old but I felt that this blogger nailed it with this post  TTT – Top Ten Reasons Why “My Life Next Door” Needs to Have a Sequel.

TT

Quite simply though you may be tempted to go for a ride on the back of the bad boy’s motorcycle on the Highway to Hell, the real miracle is the one who comes home every day after work packs your brood of unruly offspring into the minivan and takes them to soccer practice. Ask anyone, that is romantic. Kudos to Huntley Fitzpatrick for creating such an irresistible character without relying on the tired bad boy archetype. I believe Jace Garrett is a character who would stand up to even my friend’s exacting standards.