All her life, Samantha Reed has been fascinated by her next-door neighbors, the Garretts. They are a loud, messy family with eight children, and they live in a state of almost constant chaos. Samantha’s uptight mother has always told her to stay away from the Garretts, but Samantha is jealous of their seemingly carefree lives. However, she’s only ever watched them from afar…until one day, when Samantha is 17, Jase Garrett climbs up to her bedroom window and introduces himself. Jase is handsome and sweet, and he has a strong sense of responsibility, unlike most of the privileged guys Samantha knows. The more time Samantha spends with Jase, the more she falls for him. But eventually a terrible tragedy forces Samantha to choose between the Garretts and her own family.
I’d heard so many great things about this book that I finally just had to read it! It didn’t quite live up to my very high expectations, but overall I enjoyed the book. I really loved the depiction of the Garretts; it’s rare to see a large family portrayed in fiction at all, much less in a positive light. The romance was sweet and straightforward, without the endless angst and love triangles that fill a lot of YA novels. I also found the plot with Samantha’s mother very interesting…I honestly had no idea where it was going to go! I loved some of the secondary characters, particularly Tim; I would have liked more of his story. Overall, this is a very well-written and enjoyable YA novel, and it would definitely be a perfect summer read!