Why have I only read this now? Seriously?! Because this was good… on so many levels. I blame the cover; it’s so painfully cute-sy sweet that my desire to read it waned with each moment my eyes landed on its too cute cover couple.
My Life Next Door is more than said couple. It’s definitely more than the sweet moment they are depicted in. In fact, this isn’t a sweet book—or isn’t just a sweet book. There’s emotion and depth and truth, beyond her gazing sweetly at the him right before the even sweeter kiss (as the cover had me thinking.) And I like that. Having read this author’s second book, I already felt that this was going to be more than just kissy- face couple on the cover. And indeed: payoff.
On misconception. Where some think one thing while others, the opposite; sometimes the truth lay somewhere in the middle. All the players in this one are more than we think them to be: Sam’s life is not as easy as some assume, but neither is Jase’s life as complicated as she expects. Others too like Nan and Tim are (not ) screwed up for the reasons apparent. Her sister and mother not what she’s known previous. There is a boat-load of “I think’s and I believe’s” that contrast so well against the real things that eventually come out, so that the disappointments felt bigger, and so much more with the latter’s opposite.
On Growing up and being more. There’s also a whole thing on who her mother was and who she was becoming. In fact there’s a lot of “becoming“ here and not just on her mother’s part. The same extends to who Sam is for Nan, her best friend, and who Tim (Nan’s twin) is to the both of them. A lot of what’s hard comes through here. There’s a growing up and a growing apart given the inevitable shift in WHO THEY ALL ARE TO and FOR each other: Mother isn’t just mother, now; Best friend isn’t just best friend, either; and, sister isn’t just sister, for that matter.
All the change is ache-y; especially in the way things play out because none of it is about her, but around her. None of it is happening because of her. But she feels the effects nonetheless. This is where the “cool calm way” she’s perceived of having is a façade; she’s not the cool and collected thing he thinks her as, she’s simply caught unawares as everyone else’s life moves forward. All of it is so sad yet true….
The only negative that’s nagging at me is how most of the change is so…. well, negative. Mother is not just mother. Sure. But why reduction into someone who’s not as strong as thought? BFF is not just BFF. Sure. But why so much vitriol in their unmaking? To balance those, there’s the shift in Tim and the introduction of Jase, but really, why so negative?
On their connection. I think the sweeter side of things balanced out the sad so that it’s a sweetness I’m thankful for. Her in his life felt very fish out of water at first, but it’s in the way things they found their rhythm and their roles, that adds another dash of real. Nothing is instant in this. Sure there’s a prince charming moment, but otherwise, it’s sweet the way they got to know each other and they way the rest of them know her. Better though is the honesty by which he makes his case; her presence in his life and his absence in hers: brutal in delivery yet truthful still.
I enjoyed this.