Seventeen-year-old Tim Mason has always been good at three things: flirting with girls, being the life of the party, and finding where his father has hidden the liquor. Recently, however, he’s trying to turn over a new leaf, attending AA meetings and staying out of trouble. But that’s not enough for Tim’s strict father, who has given him an ultimatum: if he hasn’t proved that he can handle adult responsibilities by the time he turns 18, his family will completely cut him off financially and give his college fund to his sister. Tim doesn’t have the foggiest idea of how to live up to his father’s demands, especially when one stupid decision from his past comes back to haunt him. But helping him to figure things out are his best friend Jase and the entire Garrett family, including (especially) Jase’s older sister Alice. Alice is beautiful, smart, and tough as nails, and to Tim she’s completely irresistible. But will he find the courage to go after what he really wants, and will their fledgling romance survive all the baggage from his past?
When I read the prequel to this book, My Life Next Door, I wasn’t completely in love with it, but I remember really liking Tim and wanting to know more of his story. So this sequel was definitely up my alley, and overall I really liked it! Tim is the kind of fictional boy I always end up adoring: he’s done a ton of stupid things and sabotaged himself at every turn, but he’s got a good heart and is trying so hard. When he is confronted with one particular past mistake (I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t be more specific), he doesn’t react in the best or most selfless way, but his thoughts and feelings seem very realistic under the circumstances. As he adapts to this big change in his life, he grows and matures as a person, which is very satisfying to see. And I loved his relationship with Alice from beginning to end, especially the way their flirtatious banter masked deeper, more vulnerable feelings. There is quite a bit of angst and drama in the book, so it might be too young adult-esque for some. But I found it a compelling read and would definitely recommend it to fans of YA contemporary romance.