A guy and girl hold hands in the middle of a field

About the Book

Title: The Boy Most Likely To
Published: 2015
Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Cover Story: Snoozeville
BFF Charm: Yay x 2
Talky Talk: He Said, She Said
Bonus Factors: The Garretts, Non-After School Special
Relationship Status: Old Flame

Cover Story: Snoozeville

Because nothing says “teen father,” “family on the brink of bankruptcy,” and “recovering alcoholic” like a stock photo of two people holding hands. At least they colored the boy’s hair red to reflect ginger Tim, but besides that ZZZZZZZZ.

The Deal:

A companion book, The Boy Most Likely To takes place a month after the traumatic ending of My Life Next Door and follows the same cast of characters. If you haven’t read My Life Next Door, you can still enjoy this book, which brings you up to speed on all of the important stuff that’s happened previously. (But if you want a recap of the first book, go here.)

With that said, if you plan on reading My Life Next Door, you should stop reading this review right now, because I’m about to drop some major spoiler bombs.

Okay, so! The previous novel concluded with Samantha’s mother, Grace, agreeing to pay for Mr. Garrett’s hospital bills after she drunkenly hit him with her car. (Eat a bag of dicks, Grace.) A month later, the Garretts are still dealing with the aftermath of the accident, which, for oldest sister Alice, means bearing the brunt of family wrangling while her pregnant mother focuses on her father’s rehabilitation. Meanwhile, Tim, Nan’s alcoholic brother, is working hard to maintain his newfound sobriety, even after his dad kicks him out of the house.

Alice’s brother Jase doesn’t hesitate to offer Tim the Garrett’s garage apartment, and sparks are flying between Alice and Tim before his first bag is unpacked. But while their chemistry is undeniable, nothing else is a sure thing–not the Garrett’s financial status, not Alice’s school plans, and certainly not Tim’s future, especially when a past transgression comes back to haunt him in a seriously permanent way.

BFF Charm: Yay x 2

2 BFF charms

Alice is a spitfire, but she’s got substance underneath all of that sass. Strong as hell, she takes on the burden of running the chaotic Garrett household so that her mom can take care of her dad, and she does this out of genuine love, not just duty. She’s a total heartbreaker when it comes to the boy department, and while I didn’t quite buy the reasoning behind her cold fox routine, I applauded her confidence and her fiery nature. Alice, who’s a bit of a loner, definitely needs more girlfriends, and I’d be happy to sign up… as long as I don’t have to go running with her.

There was something decidedly Marcus Flutie-ish about Tim in My Life Next Door, but now that I’ve had the chance to be in his head, my feelings are strictly platonic. Still, he’s a really, really great dude–funny, self-deprecating and wolfishly charming–and it’s impossible not to root for him with your entire being.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Since the novel alternates between the perspectives of Alice and Tim, you get a robustly painted picture of their attraction towards each other. The desire between the two is palpable, but it’s more tantalizing when it’s unspoken, and Tim has an annoying/endearing habit of hitting on Alice like it’s going out of style. Plus, I have to say, being inside a teenage boy’s head isn’t the sexiest thing in the world. And then there’s another factor (I won’t spoil it) that comes into play that reeeeeally ruins the mood.

But, hey, on the bright side, there’s actual bona fide (safe!) S-E-X in this book!

Talky Talk: He Said, She Said

I would describe Huntley Fitzpatrick’s writing in her previous two novels as belonging to the School of Sarah Dessen, but for this book, she tried something a little bit different, and I think it paid off. Her dialogue is still spot-on, but her sense of humor is on full display thanks to Tim’s narrative, which crackles with snark and hormones. For example, when he’s talking about the time he found Nan’s diary, in which she wrote letters to God:

I knew she’d gotten the idea from this Judy Blume book she loved crazy much, because I’d read part of it when I was ten and someone told me it was all about tits. It was, but not in the way I was hoping.

Tim’s voice is more distinct than Alice’s, but she still feels like a fully-formed character, and their altering POVs keep the plot humming along.

Bonus Factor: The Garretts

A large group of people holding hands and standing on a beach at sunset, with their backs to the camera

The Garrett family, specifically George and Patsy, were my favorite aspect of My Life Next Door, and they were pretty much the main reason I picked up this companion book. Given that I could read an entire novel starring George, I was disappointed that he didn’t play a bigger role in this story, but it still felt marvelous to be around the fam again, from Mrs. Garrett, who claims that her mothering skills stem directly from the Dark Arts, to Patsy, who loves to call Tim “Hon,” to my dear little worrywart George. In his honor, here’s a classic George moment:

“What’s a virgin?” Harry asks loudly.

“Something about a forest,” George whisper-yells back.

Bonus Factor: Non-After School Special

Old ad for an After School Special with a red X over it

Several issues surface in this story that seem like prime after school special material, but Fitzpatrick carefully steers away from clichés. These are real problems happening to real people. With the previous book, my main issue was a sudden detour into melodrama, but the chief conflicts here evolve naturally. There’s a bit of a surprise at the beginning, and I can’t say I was happy about it–I’m not drawn to books about [spoiler redacted]–but the consistent tone of the book, combined with the authenticity of the characters, prevents the plot from becoming Lifetime fodder.*

*And by that I mean everything on Lifetime except for Unreal. Because obviously, that show is legit amazing.

Relationship Status: Old Flame

Book, even though a few years have passed since our last fling, the company of your characters felt as good as ever. I’m so glad we had the chance to catch up, but I can’t deny that you’ve undergone some major life changes, and I think our romance has run its course.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Media Masters Publicity. I received neither cocktails nor money in exchange for this review. The Boy Most Likely To is available now.

Sarah lives in Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.