Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick + Lemonade Recipe!

Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Dial Books For Young Readers
Published: June 14th 2012
Page count: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought 

Buy from:   Amazon  .  Barnes&Noble .  The Book Depository  

Book Summary:
A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another 

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.” 

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself? 

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

*The Chef's Review*

My rating: 4/5 stars!

What a sweet book!!!

I enjoyed reading it and it kept me entertained all the way through. Jase and Sam are the example of a typical but "I wish this would happen to me" teenage summer romance without the too much drama part. Jase is such a cute guy and I simply adore him, along with his scandalous Garret family.

Meanwhile, Samantha was a little odd on some parts. Although I can't blame her giving to the fact how her life at home is. Sam's mother (Grace) is this hard-working woman running for senator who is so keen on making their life so perfect that she sometimes forgets about her daughters: Sam and Tracy. In other words, she is a perfectionist (although I have to give her thumbs up for the image she created in my mind for the perfect lemonade). While the campaign is running she meets this Clay Tucker, a guy who is an overenthusiastic politician (let's just leave it at that) who is making her become into one of his minions more or less.

So anyway, let's go back to Jase and Sam! They have been next door neighbors for quite a while but they've never actually met because Sam's mom doesn't approve of the Garrets (and who would like to get acquainted with such a loud, disorganized, happy looking, too many children kind of family?). But they finally do meet and then the romance starts right away.

While Jase and Sam are the main characters of the book, I have to admit that it was George and Tim who grew on me. And, how could you not love such characters! Jase's little brother, George, is so cute with his constant intellectual interruptions and Tim (Sam's best friend's twin brother) with his sarcastic humor that even though he is a bit of a mess, he starts to come around later on.

However, there are some details that prevented me from giving this book 5 stars like:

  • Jase's way to approach Sam. It was so sudden (if it were to happen to me, I would have freaked out.)
  • Sam's awkward behavior in her relationship with Jase. I think she exaggerated when she didn't want to confess to her mother and people in general about Jase, when at the end it wasn't such a big deal. Her attitude sometimes frustrated me. 
  • The ending. It was so sudden! What happened to Jase's dad? Did Nan (Sam's best friend) really gave up on their friendship? Did Sam move?

But all in all, it was fun to read. Thank you Huntley Fitzpatrick, I'll be looking forward to read another book of yours.

*My Life Next Door's Lemonade Recipe*

I wanted to start with something simple, and what better way than the famous perfect lemonade that's mentioned here in this book.  This is what caught my attention while I was reading, I couldn't simply stop imagining it, so I gave it a shot.  It may not be as fancy as in My Life Next Door, but to me, it's perfect and it's simple and that's why I loved it sooo much! It has the common simple ingredients with a twist. Let's start!

We will begin with the ice cubes. They looked so pretty! 

  • 2 yellow lemons
  • Water
  • Ice cube tray
  • Knife
  • Cutting table
  • First, you should make sure that the lemons are perfectly clean. Then take your knife and start taking the lemons' peel off very carefully without the white layer because that's the bitter part and we don't want that.  
  • After that, start slicing the lemon peel into very fine strips. Place them inside the ice cube trays (about ½ teaspoon each) and fill them with water. 
  • Put them inside the freezer and you're done! All you have to do is wait until they are solid.
Ok, now let's pretend you have your ice cubes ready. We will proceed with our lemonade. You will need...

  • 5 cups of cold water
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar (or until hearts' desire)
  • ½ cup of green lemon juice
  • Knife
  • Lemon squeezer
  • Bowl
  • Glass pitcher
  • Spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Pour the 5 cups of cold water into the glass pitcher. 
  • In a bowl, add the boiling cup of water along with the sugar and stir well until it dissolves (the reason I'm doing this step is because we all know how Grace is a perfectionist and she will hate it if she had granulates of sugar in her lemonade just sitting there and not blending properly like they should). Set aside. 
  • Cut the lemons and squeeze them (not too much because there is a point when the last drops turn bitter) until you get the amount (I used about 6). Set aside.
  • Now all you have to do is mix and stir all the ingredients together in the glass pitcher. Pour yourself a glass of lemonade with the adorable lemon zest ice cubes and enjoy!

Please tell us what you think about this recipe in the comments below!

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