Book Review: Boy Most Likely To

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Release Date: August 18th 2015 
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 416 
Source: NetGalley, Publisher

Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To:
– find the liquor cabinet blindfolded
– need a liver transplant
– drive his car into a house

Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To:
– well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters. Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To:
– find the liquor cabinet blindfolded
– need a liver transplant
– drive his car into a house

For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.

Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.

And Alice is caught in the middle.

Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this return to the world of My Life Next Door is a story about failing first, trying again, and having to decide whether to risk it all once more

This book is like chocolate that slowly melts in your mouth; the kind you wish would never end. It’s no secret that I loved and adored My Life Next Door and was excited to walk back into that universe. And while I didn’t quite get what I expected, Fitzpatrick delivered a fantastic book and reminded me all over again why I love her writing and these characters.

Before I get much further, let me say that this book does kind of push the YA envelope. Not so much in that it’s inappropriate, because it’s truly not, but the tone and the way it’s written made it feel more like an upper YA pushing into the New Adult region. Tim falls in that definite grey area of life; not really a kid, but not quite an adult yet either. He should be attending his last year of high school, but instead finds himself kicked out of school (yet again), kicked out of his house, and then hit with another big surprise. I often had to remind myself that he was still under 18 due to situation, but there is still plenty that the “typical” teenager will be able to relate to. And while we get dual POV, this is without a doubt Tim’s story.

Tim, under all his bad boy, messed-up exterior, is truly a good guy. He’s been handed a crap sandwich in life and up until this point he hasn’t handled it so well. He lost his himself in drugs and alcohol and no one truly thinks he’ll amount to anything. After all, he is the boy likely to do something stupid. When the book starts, we find that Tim has been clean for several months already, but still has a lot of stuff to straighten out. His father has just given him an ultimatum to get his life back on track in the next 6 months or he’ll find himself cut off completely. Tim has lived so long without anyone thinking positively of him that it’s hard for him to see it either. His “Boy Most Likely To” list broke my heart and just made me want to hug him and tell him it wasn’t true.

Of course, that’s kind of what Alice does. While she is used to seeing him as her younger brother’s screwed up friend, she slowly gets to see another side. She takes the risk allowing him to be “more” and offers him the support he’s been missing in his life. Alice isn’t the one to fix him–only Tim can do that–but she starts to show him all his positives. While their romance is a bit hidden among the other storyline, it’s still an enjoyable one. They work well together and I do wish there had been more of them falling in love/going on dates. I do hope that Fitzpatrick writes another book in this universe because I would love to see them more relaxed and without the heavy burdens they had to handle.  And, of course, it would allow me to see all the Garrett’s again; a family I love and adore maybe a little too much!

Warning: If you don’t want to be spoiled please don’t read on.

[spoiler]The true love story is between Tim and Cal. Cal is the surprise of the book: he’s the kid that Tim has supposedly fathered. The whole situation around Cal is pretty weird and there should have been a lot more questions asked, but ultimately Cal was good for Tim. It allowed him to see that he could be reliable and be there when it counted. That while creating Cal may have been another blunder, the way he cares for him is not. I loved watching Tim realize that while he had a horrible father, he wouldn’t be one himself. He stepped up and did the responsible thing, even when others were questioning why or wanted him to walk away.

Another thing I really loved that Fitzpatrick showed is how a mother doesn’t automatically have to love her child. In fact, Hester was most likely suffering postpartum depression and had little to no connection to Cal. He was a pothole in her road and one she hoped to put behind her soon. She knew that she didn’t want to raise Cal and that adoption was the best option. The explanation of why she didn’t give him up right away still doesn’t work for me, but that’s okay and something I can forgive for the greater good. Too often society dictates how a mother should feel for her child and it’s important to remember the everyone is different. Even if she wasn’t experiencing postpartum depression, not forming that connection does not make her heartless. Maybe she just wasn’t meant to be a mother, and that’s okay, too. Either way, it was a bad situation at a bad time and one her grandfather should have let her out of much, much sooner as it was not healthy for her or the baby.

I won’t say how it all ended up, but I do wish that Fitzpatrick had gone a slightly different way. It would have made everything so much more powerful, in my opinion. Of course, maybe Tim wouldn’t have been able to do what needed to be done had it been written differently. Still, it seemed a little too easy in my book.

Final Verdict: Not quite the love story I was expecting, but a great read anyway. I highly recommend it, even if you haven’t read My Life Next Door.

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