Also by this author: My Life Next Door (My Life Next Door, #1)
Published by Dial Books on August 18th 2015
Pages: 425 •Goodreads
The romantic companion to My Life Next Door—great for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han.
Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and 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.
Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this novel is for readers of The Spectacular Now, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns.
I think everyone goes into reading The Boy Most Likely To with two thoughts in mind: they can’t wait to see more of the Garretts, and they can’t wait to hear more of Tim’s cutting sarcasm. The novel definitely hits the mark on both counts- the Garretts are an ever present entity in Tim’s life as he tries to refocus and reevaluate his life. Huntley Fitzpatrick is so gifted at bringing such a large and vibrant family to life in her stories, and it juxtaposes so well with lost and lonely souls such as Tim, or Samantha from My Life Next Door.
However, unlike My Life Next Door, this book isn’t truly a romance at its core, which is a bit misleading from the synopsis. Yes, Tim and Alice have a relationship that develops somewhat over the course of the novel, and it is told in alternating points of view, but it’s much more a coming of age story about Tim facing a lot of hard choices- his alcoholism, his multiple expulsions, and his lack of healthy relationships. I found myself wishing that this book hadn’t been a romance at all because it really felt too forced- I wanted to really become immersed in Tim’s story and not in Tim’s romance with Alice. It didn’t feel necessary and it didn’t feel authentic, and I think Alice’s narrative was a superfluous addition to the book.
(Note: The next paragraph will contain spoilers, as this book is extremely difficult to fully evaluate without them).
Tim’s coming of age is truly put to the test in this novel before the hundred page mark hits, when a random girl who he went to school with in the past arrives and drops a bomb on him: he’s a dad. After an alleged drunken one night stand, she became pregnant and gave birth to his son and has now chosen to seek him out with this information. A precarious and problematic position for any 17 year old, but even more so for a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. Did the plot twist seem far-fetched and cliché? Absolutely. However, in some ways it was the thing that I found most interesting about the plot progression in the book. Tim’s struggles as a single dad with one child (Calvin) are interestingly juxtaposed with the Garretts, with their 8+ children and their endless knowledge of cribs and cradles and all things baby-related. I also think it was refreshing to look at a single teen dad situation, rather than a singe teen mom story. Hester, Calvin’s mother, is very detached and disinterested in her son and while it was abhorrent and shocking at times (hello, it is SO dangerous to leave your children alone in the car, especially in the heat!!!) it could also be realistic considering he was an unwanted pregnancy, and not everything is happily-ever-after once a baby is born. Tim stepped up to the plate when the baby’s mother didn’t, and it’s a really unique way of handling the teen pregnancy topic.
Overall: The Boy Most Likely To is perhaps a book that was mismarketed as a romance, when really it’s a coming of age story, and I enjoyed it all the more for it. While it has a very different vibe than My Life Next Door, I enjoyed Huntley’s writing and liked how it kept the events and characters of MLND very present. While this book was super long for a contemporary, I’m glad to have a copy of it on my shelves and I hope that Hutley Fitzpatrick chooses to write in this universe with this cast of characters again.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Goodreads Challenge 2016
- Must Read in 2016 Challenge
- Rock My TBR 2016
I still haven’t read My Life Next Door, although it’s been on my list for ages. I kind of skimmed around in your review here so I could avoid spoilers, but both of these books sound like they’d be great reads. It does seem like this one goes a bit deeper than My Life Next Door, though!
I’d definitely start with MLND if you want to read Huntley Fitzpatrick! I read it after it was really popular but I still really loved it! I hope the author keeps writing companion novels in this universe.
Great review! I read My Life Next Door SO long ago, and while I want to get to this book, I think I’d need to read that one again first. But I am glad to hear the Garretts are still around in this one! I hate that the romance is more forced in this one, but I’m still gonna give it a go one day.
– Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover
Yes I would recommend a reread of MLND if you have time, I think you’ll get more out of this book if you do. I REALLY hope that Huntley Fitzpatrick keeps writing about the Garricks in one way or another.
I read and liked THE BOY MOST LIKELY TO well enough right around the time before it came out. But, in hindsight, I definitely think that if I had looked at it through the lens of a coming-of-age tale, I probably would have liked it a lot better! I, too, felt the romance was unnecessary, and would not have been averse to having it focus more on Tim and his choices and his growing up. But it’s definitely a neat addition to her books, and I think she still writes complicated and complex characters and situations real well.
I could not agree more with everything you just said! I’m hoping Huntley continues to return to this universe, because I think she could really expand on it..