I am a huge fan of Huntley Fitzpatrick’s. I read My Life Next Door a couple years ago, and What I Thought Was True earlier this year. I loved both. I was eagerly anticipating the release of The Boy Most Likely To (even had the date circled on my calendar), but I just didn’t love it as much as I loved her other two books.
We first met Tim in My Life Next Door as the twin brother of Sam’s best friend. Alice is Jase’s older sister. You might remember Tim from MLND as a hot mess, but after being kicked out of school, and out of his home, Tim is getting his life back on track in TBMLT. Newly sober, Tim moves in with the Garretts, where he promptly butts heads with Alice, who has taken on the role of parent after her father’s accident and her mother’s recent pregnancy. Another person to look out for – just what Alice absolutely didn’t need. But soon, Tim and Alice develop a sort of friendship, and then a relationship, and maybe it turns out that they balance each other out pretty perfectly.
I’ve seen a lot of people try to review this book without spoilers, but seeing how there’s a curveball in the first few chapters, it’s pretty much impossible. I’m going to put my review under a read more.
Let me start by saying this: I love babies. I will babysit your infant any day. I will sew cute bibs for you, spend endless hours shopping for baby clothes, and ooh and ahh about your pictures and videos. But that does not mean that I want babies in my YA.
Let’s face it. There’s very little that “the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days” could mean, aside from a surprise baby. But still, I was not expecting the majority of this novel to focus on child rearing. Is this supposed to be a cautionary tale? Is there a lesson here? Or it is simply a plot device so that Tim is forced to grow up a little? I couldn’t tell.
As if Tim didn’t have enough going on in his life – trying to stay sober, to keep away from drugs, to get himself back on track – a baby is added to the mix. And, although he doesn’t remember sleeping with Hester, the baby’s mother, he immediately accepts that the child is his, without a paternity test. Father a child? Sounds like something I might do.
And this creates the main conflict of their relationship. Tim doesn’t feel that Hester is a good mother, so he takes on most of the responsibility of raising Cal. Alice has enough on her plate just dealing with her own siblings, so for her now sort of semi-boyfriend to add another child to the mix might just push her over the edge. Does she really want to become a surrogate mother to yet another child? Maybe she should rethink her budding relationship with this guy. Or… maybe she’ll just accept it, as almost everyone in this book does.
TBMLT doesn’t have a lot going on aside from the baby thing. Tim and Alice’s relationship builds very slowly, almost to the point that, when they finally get together, I was left thinking, where did that come from? I definitely got the sense that Tim had a thing for Alice, but I never really got the sense that Alice reciprocated. Sure, she learned to tolerate him, maybe even enjoy his company, but I didn’t get any of those firework feelings I got with Sam and Jase in MLND.
Some threads from MLND are carried through into this book. Sam and Jase, of course, make appearances. Sam’s fight with Nan is mentioned, though for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was about. The accident is brought up and becomes a semi-important side plot, mainly for Alice, but also a bit for Tim. And, as expected, the little Garretts appear and steal the show in their brief scenes. Patsy was my favorite, with her possessiveness toward Tim.
Overall, I think that TBMLT is definitely the weakest book I’ve read by Huntley Fitzpatrick. The baby thing did not have a satisfying end. The relationship did not have a satisfying build up. The dual-POV was jarring. There was too much angst. It’s still far better than a good amount of the books I’ve read so far this year, but it’s not up to the level that I expect from Fitzpatrick. Still, I definitely recommend it for any of her die-hard fans, because if nothing else, you’ll enjoy the throwbacks to her other novels.
Final rating: ★★★☆☆