HISTORY OF BOOK CENSORSHIP: This presentation is perfect for Banned Books Week or as an introduction to book burning in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. The slides give a brief history of nine censorship and book banning incidents in world history.

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Review: My Life Next Door (Fitzpatrick)

AUTHOR: Huntley Fitzpatrick
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Dial Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780803736993
PAGES: 395
SOURCE: public library
GENRE: romance
GIVE IT TO: HS, fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti

SUMMARY: Samantha Reed’s pristine life with her sister and senator mother may seem “picture perfect,” but it is far from that. Samantha never worries about money. She attends a top-notch private high school. Her house is tastefully decorated and impeccably clean. Trapped in a false image of perfection, Samantha longs for more and spends lots of her time watching the Garrett Family next door. With eight children, the Garretts are loud, messy, and broke–everything Samantha’s mother despises. When Jase Garrett, the Garrett’s third-oldest child, approaches Samantha one night and introduces himself, both Jase and Samantha fall hard for each other. Knowing her mother would disapprove, Samantha struggles to keep her relationship a secret.

REVIEW: Despite huge Goodreads reviews, this book was just okay for me. I slogged my way through the story for nearly two weeks. It is the beginning of the school year, so I read more slowly than usual, but I never felt compelled to read My Life Next Door compulsively. There always seemed to be something more important to do, something I cared about more than finishing this book.

I liked the characters–Jase and Samantha are perfectly nice and their relationship is sweet. They seem like very normal teenagers with normal problems, and I’m sure lots of teens will relate to them. The story is realistic and believable.

My problem with this book is that, while everyone is nice and everything, it’s pretty boring. I liked Tim’s character and, despite my lukewarm reception of this book, I would probably read a book written from his perspective. The conflicts are relatively minor until near the end, when a catastrophe comes out of the clear blue and finally introduces some tension between the lovers. By then, I just didn’t care anymore.

THE BOTTOM LINE: It’s okay if you like “slice of life” fiction. The romance is sweet and realistic, but it doesn’t have enough conflict to keep me turning the pages.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We can’t get it–it is very high school.

READALIKES: Along for the Ride (Dessen); Temptation (Hopkins); Endless Summer (Echols); The Boy Who Sneaks Into My Bedroom Window (Moseley)


  • Overall: 2/5
  • Creativity: 2/5
  • Characters: 3/5
  • Engrossing: 1/5
  • Writing: 3/5
  • Appeal to teens: 4/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 2/5


  • Language: high–lots of F*** from one particular character
  • Sexuality: high–kissing, kissing breasts, intercourse
  • Violence: none
  • Drugs/Alcohol: medium-high–one boy is addicted to drugs and alcohol; smoking cigarettes; adults and teens serve/drink wine
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