Narrator: Amy Rubinate
Series: My Life Next Door,
Also in this series: The Boy Most Likely To
Published by Tantor Audio on 25 March 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Length: 10 hours 39 minutes
Also by this author: What I Thought Was True, The Boy Most Likely To
Place(s) Traveled to: Stony Bay, Connecticut
First Line: The Garretts were forbidden from the start.
My Life Next Door Series Order
Book 1: My Life Next Door
Book 2: The Boy Most Likely To (2015)
Not long ago I was looking for a new audio to listen to that was also a contemporary read and any trusted friends on Twitter suggested Huntley Fitzpatrick’s My Life Next Door. But what sold me on getting this one was the narrator, Amy Rubinate, whose style I’ve grown to adore. As with the previous books I’ve listened to that were narrated by Rubinate I really enjoyed her style and think she did an excellent job in bringing Samantha Reed to life. Rubinate is great with the teen voice and does a good job with the male voices in this story for life. This was a book that I was glad to have listened to as I’m not sure what I would have thought of it if I’d read it in print. Because while My Life Next Door begins as a cute and fun contemporary romance there is this big shift in the middle that almost makes it seem like two different books.
I really loved the start of this book. I liked how Sam and Jase meet and start their relationship though I never fully understand Sam’s mothers hangups with the Garretts. I also didn’t like Sam’s mother very much. She is very judgmental and critical and even though Sam is the perfect daughter who always listens (well, up until she starts to hang out next door) and never gets into trouble all it takes is a minor infraction and she’s treating Sam like a dysfunctional teen. To me it doesn’t send a good message as people make mistakes, and the things that Sam does are very minor – especially compared to her’s mothers – but you wouldn’t know that to see her mother react.
I also had big issues with Nan, Sam’s so called BFF. All too often in books these days are these false best friends that are just horrible to the main character and yet the MC just takes it and makes up reasons. Nan is not a nice person. She’s horribly jealous and filled with issues and she just overreacts about everything. Yes, there were things that Sam should have told her but Nan wasn’t all that great with full disclosure either so she was definitely a character that I wish would just go away.
Sam herself was a bit wishy-washy as she tried to please everyone all of the time and never seemed to really do anything for herself. Her school, her jobs, and all her activities were dictated by her mother. When her mother wasn’t telling her what to do, Nan did. Then when Sam started to find her own voice both her mom and Nan reacted as if Sam had turned unibomber or something. It was just totally unrealistic that in some ways I don’t blame Sam for trying to keep her secrets. But on the other, you don’t have a secret boyfriend when its someone you claim to love. Jase is so sweet and open that he didn’t deserve that and I was glad when he called her on it. Though I do think that he was too passive when it came to her explanations.
Then there was that thing that happened about half way through the story that was all a bit over the top and contrived and totally changed the whole tone of the book. As if there weren’t enough issues happening in the story for the characters to deal with this was this. And it was this event where the book started to lose me. As I said it was over the top and it just seemed like I’d entered an entirely new book. And then the outcome? That was rushed and so unrealistic. I often found myself rolling my eyes and talking to my radio saying that you never happen.
Now, it seems like I may have hated this book but I didn’t. Yes I had some issues but there were bright points and they came from Jase and Tim. Tim was such a surprise and out of all the characters he is the one that had the most growth. Tim is Nan’s brother and at first he just seems like this drug addicted loser but then by the end he is one of the most lovable characters of them all. He makes mistakes, owns up to them and really tries to change. He is this books biggest success story and I would love to see a companion novel for him. Jase too was always a bright light. He is just this really sweet and amazing person and while there were times where I thought he was too accepting of things he was a genuinely nice person. Jase was really good for Sam and loved their relationship.
My Life Next Door is an okay story and one that I don’t feel like I wasted time in listening too it. Amy Rubinate helped to keep me engaged and listening until the end. She’s a fantastic narrator that puts just the right amount of emphasis at just the right time. While I may not have liked some of the events that happened in this story I did like Fitzpatrick’s writing style. Huntley Fitzpatrick is an author that I will be reading more of in the future. I just hope that her next book has characters that I like a bit more.