Title: The Boy Most Likely To
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: August 18th 2015
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.
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 novel is for readers of The Spectacular Now, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
When I finished reading My Life Next Door I didn’t expect there to be another book featuring the Garrett’s. While there was a few things left open; Tim’s recovery, Nan’s cheating and her argument with Sam, My Life Next Door ended in a way that seemed natural for the story. However discovering The Boy Moat Likely To, the next chapter focusing on Alice’s and Tim’s lives, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and discover how everyone moved forwards from the events of the first book.
After his descent into alcohol and drugs Tim is determined to turn his life around, and he has four months to do it before his father cuts him off completely; no more allowance, no more health insurance or car payments, and the money saved for Tim to go to college will go to his sister. Moving above the Garrett’s garage is Tim’s only option with nowhere else to turn. He isn’t sure how to prove to his father he is a man, capable of owning up to his choices and making the right ones, but he figures attending AA meetings and continuing to help the Garrett’s is a good a place to start as any.
However Tim’s past catches up to him in the worst possible way, something that could derail all the progress he’s made if he lefts it. He is forced to own up to the choices he made back then and face the consequences of his actions.
Meanwhile Alice is helping her family through the aftermath of her father’s accident, caused in a hit and run by Grace Reed. She works herself to the bone, helping her mother with her younger siblings, her father with his hardware store and his finances, as well as completing her homework and preparing for nursing school. Like Tim she is forced to deal with a lot of responsibility she should have to and, even though she thinks her father’s medical care is being paid for by Grace Reed, part of the settlement she agreed to for hitting their father, she is soon proved wrong. Another weight is added to Alice’s shoulders which may topple her whole family for good.
Alice has had to take on a lot since what happened to her father. In addition to helping out her parents and babysitting her younger siblings she has taken on the added weight of the finances and, as a nurse-in-training, she worries more about her father knowing all too well what can go wrong in a way her siblings, without her training, don’t. There is a lot of weight on her shoulders and, while at times it can get too much for her, she handles it well.
She is an incredibly patient person, though at times she can act rashly which causes friction between her and Tim. She sees herself as heartless, referring to herself as Tin Alice, but she more than proves she cares about a lot of people and she comes through for them in ways they don’t know they need.
Tim has a long road to redemption as far as his family are concerned. Since he decided to clean up, ditching the alcohol and drugs after he put Sam’s and Nan’s lives in danger, he has been doing everything he can to turn over a new leaf. You get the feeling, seeing Tim’s journey, that he really wants to turn his life around. Even when his life takes a decidedly different path, and when at times he has doubts and reaches for a bottle, he fights back.
Tim is used to being the disappointment, used to people pitying him, and he hates it. He’s all to used to being self-reliant and often snaps at people who offer him help, seeing it as condescension. You can see many times through this book how truly dedicated Tim is to turning his life around and owning up to the mistakes he made when he was drunk or high. I can’t think of any characters who have made as miraculous a journey as Tim has but it still felt real. He wasn’t perfect and his struggle wasn’t made light of. You could see how hard it was for him but he kept going, finding everyday things he could use to replace his vices.
The relationship between Alice and Tim is slow to build up. Alice is wary of getting involved with someone like Tim; a recovering alcoholic who is admittedly still a bit of a mess and younger than her to boot. She has her own issues to deal with and doesn’t have the time to babysit someone else in addition to her younger siblings. But Tim doesn’t need her to hold his hands and watch over him. He more than proves he is a match for Alice and the events of this book help her to see that he is sincere about facing his mistakes and taking ownership for fixing them. There are things that get between them, themselves included, both Alice and Tim are slow to apologise and admit to their mistakes but they always try and reach out to the other person.
The family interactions that I loved so much in My Life Next Door were just as much as part of the background of Tim and Alice’s story as they were Jase and Sam’s. George remains my favourite member of the Garrett family but each of the younger siblings added something to the story. We also see glimpses of Sam and Jase, and their continuing relationship and what happened to them after the ending of My Life Next Door.
Tim faces a harrowing journey, one that is not made light of or brushed under the rug in this book. His experience at the AA meetings and his struggle with not drinking or smoking, his desire to go back to the easy way when things get to hard and his determination to not be that person anymore were all very well written. Huntley Fitzpatrick stayed true to Tim’s character and didn’t give him an easy road to travel. We see through his eyes his past. Like Sam Tim had the very best chances and education but parents who constantly looked the other way. When he goes to the Garrett’s they see through his paper-thin excuses and lies. The Garrett’s are presented as the ideal. Despite their problems, which they do have, they have the one thing Sam and Tim didn’t have growing up; a warm and supportive family environment. It’s easy to see why both Sam and Tim are drawn to them.
I really enjoyed My Life Next Door and The Boy Most Likely To completely surpassed it. It has everything I loved so much about the first book, brilliant supporting-characters and a heart-warming romance, and adds to the mix more amazing characters you can’t help but fall in love with and some of the best character development I’ve read in a while.
What did you think of The Boy Most Likely To? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.