by Huntley Fitzpatrick
The Short Story
Samantha has always been intrigued by the Garretts, the bursting at the seams family next door. Her mother, on the other hand, feels like "those" kind of people are beneath them. One day Jase Garrett stops by, and everything changes for Sam. It's a cute romance that really is excellent for much of the book. But the last third or so is not. But read it anyway because the first part is so good.
Come for the....
family. Reading about the Garretts and their 8 kids made me happy. The author does a great job of capturing the contented chaos that comes with a lot of people. There are maybe more names than separate personalities, but I thought that added to the sense that you could get lost and find a place in the mass of people. I loved how easily Samantha fit in and made herself a Garrett. I loved the little brother and how he said embarrassing truths that only little kids can get away with. I loved that the Garretts started out being totally foreign to Sam and she just had to go with a lot of things. (like the mom regularly nursing the youngest kid in front of everyone)
Of course, the relationship between Samantha and Jase is the bulk of the book. They're fairly mature and have a lot of cute and funny moments. And some pretty mature ones. For the most part I thought the book was honest and realistic, especially in dealing with more adult topics in their relationship. Although his parents were a bit unrealistically permissive... I don't think the first response to knowing your 17 year old's girlfriend had spent the night would be to ask her to babysit. But maybe that's just me.
Don't Think About This Too Hard
- I wanted to love everything about this book, but then the big "plot twist of drama" came along. And it basically led the book astray. My biggest problem was that it affected almost all the characters, but basically none of them got any resolution. Just the main two. Which made it feel like the twist only served to create relationship drama. I felt like everyone else was left hanging, and that didn't sit well with me. The beginning of the book was too good for that.
- To go with that, there were too many little subplots and characters that didn't serve a purpose or take the story anywhere. The best friend and her plot line did nothing. The best friend's brother, Tim, was so much drama in the beginning, for no apparent reason. All of that should have been cut. Sam's sister seemed to have gotten lost from whatever book she actually belonged in. I kept wanting to tell the author to get back on track.
The Big Three:
Language: Tim swears like a sailor, with many f-words
Sex and Stuff: um, yes. Some detailed kissy (and more than) scenes
Violence: not really an issue