Genre: Contemporary/ YA
Rating: 4/5 stars
Writing Style: Dual perspective of two main protagonists Tim and Alice.
Finally, the anticipated companion to My Life Next Door. Tim and Alice’s story, their bond and their growth as two very powerful secondary characters. The rollercoaster of emotions that come with Tim and his ill minded choices, the boy most likely to do everything wrong and still have room to do it again. Two characters so completely different that relate on a drastic level. With Tim, his life is a mess, he lives above a garage, his parents aren’t his number one fans, and he has four months to change to a model citizen. Alice, the girl most likely to date ‘em, dominate ‘em, ditch ‘em all while caring for her family as a parental figure. There lives couldn’t be more different, but one moment, one choice could change it all. With a disarming plot twist, Tim is faced with his past head on while all trying to be the son his father wants him to be, just as Alice is realizing the right choice isn’t always the only choice. While past meets present, these two compelling voices echo an understanding that builds them up and tears them down, and changes them and the people that matter altogether. There’s just something about the way Huntley Fitzpatrick writes, the way she can switch perspectives so easily and construct this world and personality in the eyes of these characters you just can’t help but fall in love with. The earnest way she delivers a punchline or develops a plot point in this character’s path that enthrals you to root for them in the long run.
I’d like to thank Huntley for caring out such a charming and well matching companion to The Life Next Door, and for fulfilling most of the loose ends untied in the first novel. I quite enjoyed the dual perspective between Tim and Alice, being able to get more of the Garrett family and their wacky adventures and humorous dialogue never ceases to make me laugh. I felt that throughout this book, I found a new appreciation for Alice and what she does as an outstanding family member in the ruckus that is the Garrett life. In agreement, the likeness I found for Tim from Jase and Samantha’s story grew exponentially with the growth his character achieved. The dynamic between characters in this novel really pulled on my heartstrings, and I think Huntley has a knack for developing those relationships no matter how small or ill mentioned they may be. The connections felt are immensely real and give the reader a reason to care and feel for these characters. On the contrary, I do wish there was more of a build up for the climax in this book, it did seem quite quick and a tad forced at times but it intentionally got the point across and ended with means of new beginnings. The less potent characters such as Brad and the second hand mentions of characters in Tim’s AA group could have been discussed more and given a larger role. I also wish that there had been more Mr and Mrs. Garrett moments especially regarding Mr. Garrett’s health development and the jumble of in betweens that the family faced in his recovery.
[SPOILERS] I absolutely, positively, love love LOVED Cal and everything Cal. His name is not Calvin it is Cal and that is all. Hester, so much dislike for a character in such a short amount of time. There is just something so stingy about someone so inclined to trap someone into parenthood falsely and with the pre-tense of using your secrecy as a playing card of guilt. Oh Tim’s parents, how my oh my how I wonder why your son became such a biased and golden example of “what not to do when raising a child.” The dynamic between them did not change in the way I would like, though the end product shows just how realistic and heartless their relationship was. Though Tim developed more from this, I was glad to see a growth in his connection with Nan and his mother. The businesslike quality of both Tim’s father and Grace were so easily matched it was insane they didn’t jump the bandwagon and get hitched at the end of the story. The opposition between both protagonist’s family was written beautifully and given such a temperament that really made me appreciate the way Huntley writes her family dynamics. Speaking of family, Nan is and still will be the most annoying character in this series. Her moments did not strengthen her growth or my likeness for her. Her personality will forever be one of which does no wrong but will continue to blame others for her life’s becomings. Grace, oh Grace how easily you have fallen again. Definitely didn’t avenge your falsehood and become the better mother you always dreamed to be for Samantha. Her obsession for politics nearly drove me mad, I really hoped for her change to coincide with a reconcile between her and Alice. Tim’s perspective, his way with words and how his comedic relief was needed even in the desperate of times was so riveting and well combined with the conversations he shared throughout the story. Cal, his existence was priceless and unexpected but boy did he gain momentum and he shared a bond so exquisitely detailed that it brought glee to my eyes for being able to share moments with him and Tim. But let’s talk about Brad, no you weren’t needed and yes you are a creep. LGBT mention, a coach no less! Perfection, utter perfection. Mad props to Tim for getting to have Cal so close and allowing a gay couple the happiness of a family. [SPOILERS]
Overall, the development of these characters are enthralling and contagious to read about. The drastic, the minimal and the null are reasons why you should read this book. It’s captivating as it is hysterical and warming to anyone in need of a romance with a twist. Huntley does an impeccable job of voicing unique characters that inevitably work their way into your heart and plant their souls in there for good measure.
Sincerely, – C.