Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Guest Review by Author Shannon McCrimmon: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

I am excited to have Author Shannon McCrimmon on the blog today with a guest review of My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.  Shannon is the author of The Summer I Learned to Dive and The Year I Almost Drowned.  Thanks so much for being here Shannon!
My Life Next Door 
by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publication Date:  June 14, 2012
Publisher:  Dial Books for Young Readers

Synopsis:  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.  

Shannon's Review of 

My Life Next Door

5 Golden Stars!

    My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick (cool name) first popped up on Goodreads as a recommended read. I was drawn to the gorgeous cover, and then once I read the synopsis I just knew I had to read it. I'm sad to say it took me this long to get to it. This was a terrific book.

    I love YA contemporary romance because you can always count on a happy ending, or at least an ending that gives you a glimmer of hope that things will turn out for the best. In this case, Fitzpatrick doesn't disappoint. The ending gives you a satisfied “everything will be okay” feeling. That's what I want when I read a book—to know that the characters are going to be all right.

    My Life Next Door is about Samantha Reed, a state senator's daughter. She's your typical “follow the rules” type of girl who is a little sheltered and desperate to know the family next door to her— the Garrett's. She spends her nights sitting on her roof top watching them, secretly wishing she was a part of their large family. 

    I instantly fell in love with the Garrett family. They're loud, loving, and so incredibly real. Their household is completely chaotic and in disarray—all the things that Samantha's isn't. It's what draws her to them—that they're so different from what she is used to. Samantha has always viewed them an outsider, but things change one night when Jase Garrett climbs up Samantha's trellis. 

    He sits down next to her and strikes up a conversation. There's an instant connection between them both. Plus, Jase is really good looking and super sweet. How could Samantha not be attracted to him? Attraction turns into something more, and before they know it, they're head—over—heals in love for the first time in their lives. 

    Samantha has to keep their relationship a secret from her mother, Senator Reed. She  hates the Garrett family and has forbidden Samantha to have any contact with them. That's not the only obstacle Jase and Samantha face as a couple. Something tragic happens that shocks Samantha and makes her see the ugly side in people. She learns what it means to make tough decisions, even if what she decides isn't what everyone tells her is best for her. I don't want to give away any spoilers. You'll have to read the book to see what happens.

    There are some great characters in this story, and some that aren't so likable, but they're all believable. I felt like I was a part of the Garrett family, and reading about Samantha and Jase's relationship made me think back to the days when I first fell in love. 

    The ending is realistic and not completely happy. Yet, it makes you feel at peace because you know that the two main characters are going to be okay despite everything that has happened. 
    I highly recommend this read for young adults and those older. It's well-written, has realistic characters, and a fantastic story line. Give this a try. You won't be disappointed.

Shannon's Favorite Quotes

"Maybe if I can sleep for a hundred years, I'll wake up in a better story."

"Who are these people, and why do they think their opinions are the only right ones?"

About Huntley Fitzpatrick:  

Huntley Fitzpatrick grew up dreamy and distracted in coastal Connecticut, attended Concord Academy and Yale. 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.

Here's a little bit more about Shannon McCrimmon:

I was born and raised in Central Florida. I attended Rollins College and earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling. In 2008, my husband and I moved to the upstate of South Carolina. Although I have enjoyed writing since I was a little girl, it was the move to South Carolina that inspired me to write The Summer I Learned to Dive. When I am not writing, I enjoy hiking, camping, reading, and watching movies. I’m a tea enthusiast and pop culture expert. I’m inspired by music, art and the natural beauty of South Carolina. I live in Greenville, South Carolina with my husband and toy poodle.


Since the time she was a little girl, eighteen-year-old Finley “Finn” Hemmings has always lived her life according to a plan, focused and driven with no time for the average young adult’s carefree experiences. On the night of her high school graduation, things take a dramatic turn when she discovers that her mother has been keeping a secret from her—a secret that causes Finn to do something she had never done before—veer off her plan. In the middle of the night, Finn packs her bags and travels by bus to Graceville, SC seeking the truth. In Graceville, Finn has experiences that change her life forever; a summer of love, forgiveness and revelations. She learns to take chances, to take the plunge and to dive right in to what life has to offer.


In this continuation of The Summer I Learned to Dive, nineteen-year old Finley “Finn” Hemmings is living in Graceville, South Carolina with her grandparents. She’s getting to know the family that she was separated from for the last sixteen years. Finn and Jesse’s relationship seems to be going strong until they’re forced to deal with obstacles that throw them off-track. As Finn prepares to leave for college, she has to say goodbye to the town, her friends and family, and the way of life that she has grown to love. At college, Finn tries to acclimate to a new setting, but quickly falls into an old pattern. Just as things start to become normal and Finn begins to fit in, something unexpected happens that takes her back to Graceville where she is forced to deal with one challenge after another. Her world nearly collapses, and she finds herself struggling to keep from drowning. Through it all, Finn discovers the power of love and friendship. She learns what it means to follow her heart and to stay true to what she wants, even if what she wants isn’t what she originally planned.

Thanks so much for being here Shannon!


  1. I have been meaning to read MLND since it released. I even own a copy! Great review.

    I have The Summer I Learned to Dive. Now I just need time to dive in!

  2. I LOVE My Life Next Door!! It was one of the first books I read in 2013 and it might turn out to be my fav of the whole year... it's going to be hard to beat anyhow! Cool guest review!! I think the 2 Summer books look really good too, I've been meaning to read them :)

  3. I really loved this read too and I am pretty sure I have Shannon's first book in my TBR pile. I really enjoyed her guest post!

  4. Well, I have heard a lot about My Life Next Door, a lot of positive reviews, that is
    I love the cover and the plot line. Definitely going to read this one sometime
    Thanks, this is a great post!
    Your reader,

  5. I still haven't read this one even though I have a copy. It sounds so cute and a summer read in winter is a great way to avoid winter blues. I love that quote about sleeping a hundred years.

  6. I have had this book on my WL for AGES! It sounds amazing and I've mostly only heard great things about it. I'm glad you loved it so much Shannon! Fantastic review!

  7. Thanks for letting me post this review, Ellen. I really enjoyed this book, and it was so much fun writing about it:)

    1. Your welcome. I enjoyed having you!

  8. This was a great review, thanks Shannon! I had this book suggested on Good Reads too and added it to my TBR list because it sounded interesting. After reading this review, I'll definitely have to go pick up a copy! It sounds like the perfect lazy day read with a giant cup of coffee.

  9. I just started reading this yesterday and love the characters!


Thanks for your comments. I love hearing from you!

Entangled Teen Weekly

What Kind of Reviewer are You? Click on the banner to visit Ashley @ the Book Nook to find out.