Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Book Review: The Boy Most Likely To


  

When I read Huntley Fitzpatrick's first novel, My Life Next Door, I fell in love. Ms. Fitzpatrick simply did everything right. I thought, "Now here is an author to watch."  I was 100% certain that she was going to be The Next Big Thing in YA Literature.  Move over, Sarah Dessen.  (Who I love, by the way.)  Huntley Fitzpatrick completely captured my heart with the romance of Sam and Jace, and with the entire Garrett family.

So I eagerly awaited her second release, which was What I Thought Was True.  I read it pretty much as soon as it came out, but that occurred during my Black Hole of Blogging, so I didn't review it here.  It was.... meh.  There was nothing wrong with it.  A friend and I discussed it and deemed it to be "a good beach read."  It was a good story with good characters.  Frankly, if I hadn't had such high expectations for it, I probably would have liked it a whole lot more.  But I came away feeling like it could have been any of half a dozen YA novels I read in that time frame.  And I was sad, wondering if the Fitzpatrick magic had just been a one-time fluke.

So it was with great trepidation that I picked up The Boy Most Likely To.  But oh my goodness, the magic is back.  Dare I say... this one *might* even be better than My Life Next Door.  I think I'll have to do a reread of the first book in order to confirm, but that's a challenge I'll willingly take on.  ;)  In any case, The Boy Most Likely To needs to be on your TBR list this year.

The Garrett family is back, and this time we get to see them from their own side of the fence.  While Samantha and Jace were the focus of the first book, they are minor (but still lovable) characters in this book.  The Boy Most Likely To focuses on Tim Mason, the eternal screw-up.  As the book opens, he is issued an ultimatum by his father: get out, and get your life cleaned up by the time you turn 18, or lose your college fund.  He needs somewhere to live, so Jace offers him the apartment over the Garretts' garage.  He moves in and proceeds to attempt to get his life together--in the face of a very unexpected complication.

I loved so many things about this book.  For one, I feel that dual narrators can either make or break a book.  When they are done well, they can be excellent.  And here, they are fantastic.  Tim Mason and Alice Garrett alternate narrations, and their voices are both so distinct and so well done.  I was so drawn into this book that I couldn't put it down for a second, so I did part of it on audio as I was driving my my kids around town, and the narrators were, I kid you not, EXACTLY like what I was imagining in my head.  So, so perfect.  I also love that this book hits that niche market of "new adult," the just-past-YA age group of those entering college and the real world.  There aren't a lot of quality books out there for that group, but this one definitely qualifies.

But mostly, I loved the characters.  I simply adored Sam and Jace in My Life Next Door.  And I have to say that I'm impressed by Fitzpatrick's ability to take characters that I adored and fade them to the background and give me new characters to fall in love with.  Well played, Ms. Fitzpatrick.  I am now 100% in love with Tim and Alice.  And Calvin.  Oh, Calvin.  There were definitely tears shed at the end of this book.  And no, I'm not telling you how it turns out, darn it.

Can I just end by saying that I want to be a Garrett?  They are just the best family ever.