Friday, August 22, 2014

On my bookshelf

My latest read was "My Life Next Door", by Huntley Fitzpatrick.

My Life Next Door
I am not the biggest contemporary YA fan, but holy smokes, did I love this.

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 trellis and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love and stumble through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first romance, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own—even as she keeps him a secret from her disapproving mother and critical best friend. Then the 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?
A debut novel about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

Ya'll, I cannot even....sigh...this was so good.

I was on page number four reading this in my car on my lunch break one day when I stopped, clutched the book to myself, and said out loud "This is so freaking good." (Yes, I realize I have a touch for the melodramatic. But really, as a newbie writer learning about things like voice and pacing, holy heck, Huntley just nailed it. I mean, wow. This is a great story, but also a well written one. And let me tell you, there are a LOT of poorly written YA stories out there.)

The voice in this book was fantastic. Samantha is wonderful - not mini-adult-in-teen's-body, not whiny, not all knowing. She is seventeen, and self aware and confident and vulnerable all at the same time. Her romance with Jase is believable and real. And her issues with her mom? Glory, spot on.This book deals with tough family issues, with crisis, with friends and the, well, ickiness that can be them. It deals with jobs and real life and first love and first kisses, and most of all it deals with learning to trust who you are. I felt empowered after reading it. Isn't that crazy? This seventeen year old character and her honesty and how she learns to deal with mess, made me feel like I could be myself and take on the world.

I realize books are subjective things (that's one of the things I love most about them) and sometimes a reader will connect in a way that another reader won't. This was one of those books for me. I connected to Samantha in a lot of ways, and this book just resonated. I read it four times cover to cover before turning it back to the library (Divergent sets the record with five read-throughs), then promptly went and ordered a copy off Amazon. (And I rarely buy books because of budget reasons, so a purchase is like a Oscar or Emmy book wise from me).

Hands down, one of the best YA books I have ever read. That's right. Right up there with Divergent, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and Throne of Glass, this little book will rest on my bookshelf  ('cause I own all those books, too).

Go forth, read it, and love. *there is a fantastic line about cougar lust that is to die for. read it, love it, thank me later. *

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