I recently read My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick and rated it a 3.5/5 stars. Considering it was her debut novel I thought she did very well. I was expecting a similar experience reading this one as I did with My Life Next Door but unfortunately it just fell flat for me.
As usual let me start with the synopsis:
Gwen Castle lives on an island getaway type of town where the locals all know each other and every summer the beaches fill up with tourists. Instead of working for her father like she does every summer, Gwen takes a job caring for old Mrs. Ellington who suffered a fall earlier in the year and needs extra supervison. Everything seems to be going well until she realizes that her “spring hook up” is staying on the island for the summer instead of staying with his family. Gwen thinks she can just ignore Cassidy Somers but that proves to be very difficult when their paths become more entwined.
I really wanted to like this book. The premise sounded promising and I was already familiar with Fitzpatrick’s writing style so I assumed it was a no brainer, however I could not connect to it.
Let me first start with the things I do like:
[SPOILERS] I loved Gwen’s relationship with her younger brother Emory. I think their bond is very sweet and heartwarming and it forces Gwen to grow up a little more than a regular teenage girl. I appreciate that he has a mental handicap that isn’t specified so readers can relate him to a specific identity in their own lives. I think Fitzpatrick has a wonderful way of writing family; making their problems and struggles very realistic and yet their love also, very true and wholesome. I especially loved the roles of all the elderly characters in the story. My family being Portuguese, her grandfather had a special place for me. I loved that he was passionate about his faith and his fishing traditions and he never took anything for granted. I also really enjoyed Mrs. Ellington’s sense of humour and the grandmotherly way she treated Gwen. I found it touching since Gwen lost her own grandmother at such a young age but she still held significance in her heart.
Now, on to the things I disliked about this book:
To be honest, besides Gwen’s grandfather, brother and Mrs. Ellington, I did not like any of the characters. The characters felt very onesided and two dimensional and I could not relate to any of them.
1. Gwen: as the protagonist, she really annoyed me. Everything was about sex with her and I found myself getting more and more disconnected from her. Even though she was upset when everyone called her easy, she always put herself out… Like hello? You are being exactly who you don’t want people to see you as.
2. Cassidy: I don’t understand you at all. You are in love with this girl and you don’t do anything to fight for her after she thinks you hurt her? Okay….
3. Vivian: ……….. I don’t understand people who lead others on the way she did.
4. Nico: I appreciate his cousin love for Gwen but he needs to figure out his life.
5. Gwen’s dad: he is a terrible father.
Also, I don’t understand why Gwen calls her grandmother vôvo and calls her grandfather grandpa Ben when her grandfather is the one who is Portuguese … That makes no sense to me.
The entire plot felt pointless and it took way too long for the readers to understand what happened with Gwen and Cassidy the first time.
Overall I just didn’t connect to the characters, the plot fell flat and I found myself not really caring about what happened.
This is just my personal opinion so I still recommend this book for this who like Huntley Fitzpatrick and her writing style.