My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Summer, Animals, Romance, Family, Friendship
Andie had it all planned out.
When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.
Important internship? Check.
Amazing friends? Check.
Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks)
But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.
Because here’s the thing – if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.
And where’s the fun in that?
The Unexpected Everything is the perfect summer read. I forgot we were still in April for a couple of hours.
Seventeen-year-old Andie, daughter of a congressman, is a dog walker.
Well, she didn’t plan on spending her summer running after dogs and making sure these fluffy buddies get their everyday amount of sun and exercise. Hell, she had a secure spot for a pre-med internship… before her letter of recommendation was withdrawn. Now she doesn’t know what to do—and since the best places are already taken, all that was left for her was a position as a dog walker. The joy.
She didn’t expect much from that job, especially not to meet a cute geek-looking guy who goes by the name of Clark. Like superman. But the thing is… Andie doesn’t date seriously. She’s all about having fun and isn’t ready let a guy infiltrate her heart and personal life. They’re awkward together. They don’t know how to behave in each other’s company. It’s adorable.
I only read one book by this author – though a ‘did not finish’ doesn’t quite count, does it? – and that was Since You’ve Been Gone. I quickly realized that I was the black sheep, not being able to enjoy it like everyone else. Except, I’m the type of human being who believes in second chances, so I let myself be hyped up about this new contemporary novel.
You know a story is enthralling, therefore worth finishing, when you can’t help yourself from peeking at it even during the most inappropriate moments. When someone’s talking to you, it’s clearly impolite to turn on your tablet and read a few sentences of Andie’s life, isn’t it? Well, my mind didn’t register that during those moments. I wanted to be as connected as possible to the story—book. Summer reads are usually the ones that put us in a high-spirited and sentimental mood; the sun, the beach, the romance, the warm weather, the joyful atmosphere and blather all provoke those sentiments.
I find that, nowadays, contemporary young adult novels rarely reach five hundred pages, let alone exceed that amount. To be honest, it’s rare for me to not start losing interest in those monster books after the first hundred pages. To keep me interested, the said books have to contain 1 – real unforced humor, 2 – a relatable or entertaining heroine, 3 – three-dimensional secondary characters and 4 – a diverse series of events.
This book is slow and five hundred thirty pages long, I’m not going to lie and pretend otherwise. It is what it is: a detailed account of Andie’s unexpected summer. Some parts are humorous, others more serious, most of them lent but the majority captivating. Andie and Clark make one hell of a diverting team. Do not fear, romance is not the only thing you will get out of it. It is also a story of family reunion. She and her politically invested dad are not the closest of pairs.
For five years, he distanced himself from Andie and Andie never could mend the hole created in her heart. But now that he decided to take a break from anything politics-related, he’s determined to make amends for his lack of presence around his daughter. Those scenes are sweet. A father acting shyly around his own daughter may seem incongruous, but it’s reality for many people in this world. Personally, I found their renewed connection extremely sweet and was glad for the added theme of family by the author. It’s a favorite theme of mine.
… But the book doesn’t deserve five stars. The main reason why it doesn’t is because of its unrealistic quality. Contemporaries can simply exist for our entertainment, period, but I could feel the author wanting to make this book as realistic as possible. It didn’t work. Not exactly. We do feel pulled in by Andie and enjoy following her ‘summer adventures’ but at the end of the day, we know that this isn’t imaginable and that it could never be us in Andie’s place. I prefer my contemporaries as close to real life as possible, but if you don’t mind a series of unrealistic coincidences, you’ll probably love this even more than I did.
Regardless, I’m so glad I gave Morgan Matson a second chance. Pun intended.