Book Review: The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars – I liked it, and it had some excellent parts.

24611582Title: The Boy Most Likely To
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Dial Books
Hardcover: 432 Pages
“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.
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.”

Why did I read this: I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway. I don’t normally read contemporary, so I doubt I would have read it otherwise.

The Boy Most Likely To is my first Huntley Fitzpatrick book. I understand that she wrote another book using the same characters that takes place before this one, My Life Next Door. I don’t think it is necessary to read that book first after reading its synopsis of that book, and its story didn’t appeal to me. Its two central characters, Grace and Samantha Reed, are not very interesting, and Samantha’s relationship with Jase Garrett seems to lack the heart of Tim Mason and Alice Garrett’s relationship.

I thought the characters were the strongest part of The Boy Most Likely To, because they felt like real people who could live next door. In particular, I thought the two main characters, Tim and Alice, were likeable and relatable. It was interesting to see the progression of their relationship juxtaposed against Tim’s recovery from alcoholism and his problems with his own family. I’m not sure that it is a realistic representation of single parenthood, since Tim doesn’t have a full-time job, and has a very strong support system in the Garretts. The other characters; The Garretts, the Masons, and Hester, the mother of Tim’s child, were fleshed out, but the cast of characters is not very diverse, and felt very small town, white, middle to upper-class.

I thought the plot starts a little slow. It picks up after Tim finds out that he has fathered a child, and starts to take care of his son, but I thought this could have happened sooner. The importance of family and belonging is a theme in this story, especially in Tim and Samantha’s less than stellar families. I find Tim’s mother perplexing – she appears extremely family oriented, but remains completely oblivious to how poorly her husband treats people, and how much her own children are lacking love and attention.

This book gave me the feels because of how much I wanted Tim and Alice’s relationship to work out, and I was curious to see how they would overcome teenage parenthood. The writing was also good for the most part, but no interesting quotations jumped out at me. It is written in first-person, with chapters alternating between Alice and Tim’s perspective, and their voices kept me reading. I really enjoyed the beach-town setting, and it reminded me how much I enjoy being in this sort of town after summer. The cover design is pretty good, because it feels very light, airy, and summer-y, and you get a sense of the emotional support that Alice provides Tim.

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