Author: Huntley Fitzpatriack
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers, 394 pages
Publication Date: June 14, 2012
The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.
As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.
Sweet, romantic read.
The focus of this book is on the romance, which is a nice slow-building realistic one. I just loved how their relationship developed. And Jase, what a perfect guy! I've read a few contemporary YA recently and he is definitely my favorite so far. Good-looking (of course), open, honest, a good brother, good son, great friend. He can fix anything. Absolutely a stand-up guy. He comes from a large family that Samantha has always watched from the roof. I have to say that I'm not sure how they never really were around each other at all. Yes, they went to different schools, but they lived next door to each other. Oh well. Samantha lives with just her mom and her older sister, and the rambunctious Garrett family has always fascinated her (and her mom can't stand them). Samantha's home is ordered and peaceful (her mom vacuums every single day) while the Garrett's house is messy and completely chaotic.
So one night Jase climbs up the trellis and they talk for the first time. (I'm not sure if I missed this, but do they ever explain what made him finally climb up?)
Samantha is a realistic character. Unlike Jase, she has flaws. She's beautiful, but a little closed off and she listens to her mother too much. I did not like her mother at all, she was a piece of work.
There were times when I was so disappointed in Samantha for how she was treating Jase (not bad, but...well, let's just say she doesn't treat him as well as he treats her), but it felt real. She grows throughout the novel. It was nice seeing her come into her own as she grew to love Jase and his family. And the sex in the book is handled in a realistic, responsible way.
Also, I ended up loving Tim. He cusses, he drinks, he does drugs, he's irresponsible (he's constantly getting fired, even from a hotdog stand), and he's been a horrible friend to Samantha. But...he ends up being such a great surprise. Nan, his sister, who has been best friends with Samantha since they were five, also ends up acting in a surprising way. The relationship between Samantha and Nan is one part of the story that does not get resolved.
And the Garrett family, such a warm, wonderful family! George is adorable (I think he's four).
There are some serious issues that come up in the book, and it raises questions about what you would do in a situation where you have to choose between your family and doing what's right.
Posted by: Pam