Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kick the Puppy Review: My Life Next Door

Goodreads Summary:
“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?

My Review:
I really was captivated from the beginning of this book. From the very start, you really feel for the MC, Samantha. The author was able to capture the longing she had for a life more like the Garrets- a life full of laughter and love. Now, I come from a family more like the Garretts and I can say that for a  long time I wished for a family more like The Cleavers (Leave It To Beaver, anyone else remember?). I think a lot of times growing up, we think life would be better if it was just different. However, in Samantha's case, her home life really is kind of awful- cold, impersonal, with a mother overly concerned with how things look rather than how things really are. So, you can understand why Samantha falls in love with the Garretts- the reader kind of does too because they are such a great family. You can even understand why Samantha so quickly falls in love with Jase- she really doesn't have anyone else. So, just, "Wow"! The author manages to create such wonderful and real characters.

So, why is this a "Kick the Puppy" book? Towards the end of the book something happens that just stretches the bounds of what an author can reasonably expect a reader to accept. Ever seen a magic show? I remember going to one as a kid and the magician at the party did the floating ball thing. From where I was standing, you could see the shadow of the string. That was it for me- I knew how the trick was done, so I was conscious that the whole thing was a trick. Same thing happened in this book. An event happened and it was too big and convenient a coincidence. So awkward to me, that it took me out of reading the book- I could see the string- the trick. All of a sudden, I wasn't in the world of the book, I was aware that all it was was a book. Kind of ruined it for me. I waited a few days to write this review, thinking I might get over it. No, what I really remember is catching sight of the author's "strings".

Overall rating: 3 1/2 stars

Huntley Fitzpatrick's website 


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