My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book had so much potential, so the fact that the last 1/4 of the book was so unfathomable unacceptable has shocked me to my very core. I was sure this was going to be a 4 star book with occasional, sparkles of 5. Everything about it showed a depth and sweetness that drew me right in. The writing was solid, and it had some things to say that I haven't heard very much in YA.
WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS MAY OCCUR IN THE VAGUE RANTINGS THAT WILL FOLLOW. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.
Then blamo. The most ridiculously out of the blue incident occurred. That was okay, because these moments occur in every contemporary romance, and it gives the characters a chance to rise up and overcome obstacles to become stronger people and/or couples. Blah, blah, blah.
But nope. That's not what happened here. Instead, characters behaved in ways that are so uncharacteristic of themselves that I couldn't even recognize them for the characters I had known and loved for hundreds of pages. Also, to make matters worse, really big, overwhelming issues were resolved, after extended periods of ugliness, with just a few sentences and a kiss. . . or hug? Can't even remember. BECAUSE NO. JUST NO. Teenage lust does not resolve life-altering events.
Finally, the resolution is weak, unsatisfying, and reeks of mistruth. For realistic fiction, it definitely misses the realistic mark in a disappointing and frustrating way. Then la-di-dah, everyone lives happily ever after, except all the side characters and the reader who invested way too much of her time caring about what happened to all of the characters (which she'll never known, because none of their subplots were resolved. NONE OF THEM).
AND MAJOR SPOILER:
A completely inhumane and intentional criminal act (okay, technically 3 criminal acts, because that's how bad it was) perpetrated by what should be a responsible adult is completely brushed under the rug, after the selfish individual throws a sum of money at the issue, that in my opinion was quite pathetic and not nearly enough to account for the damage that was done, both financially and in terms of quality of life and life expectancy, especially considering this villain showed a complete lack of believable remorse.
Basically, I'm leaving the book angry, offended, and extremely disappointed in everyone. The whole heart of the story was sacrificed to this unnecessary and unsatisfactory plot twist. Due to the extremely poor resolution of both the plot twist and the story, I might hesitate to pick up another book by this author, even though I like her writing style overall. She creates interesting characters and really develops the world, but there's something lacking here in terms of story structure, particularly in the way she fails to wrap up so many of the subplots. If all you want in the ending of a romance novel is for the two characters to be together, then this delivers that, just nothing else that you spent hundreds of pages wondering about and/or hoping for.