Because the law requires me to make some sort of pun about the title here…I MUST SAY, GOOD SIR, THIS WAS AN UNEXPECTED DELIGHT. Although not everything was delightful. But lucky for your precious faces, I’m going to have an orderly list of likes vs dislikes. But regardless, my ultimate feeling over this tome (AND IT IS A TOME BECAUSE IT’S LIKE 500000 PAGES) is definite summery * delight. **
* Although FYI it is winter in Australia. I realise the Americans are all like “Oh let’s publish nice summery books and be seasonal with our fiction!” but I am huddled under 74 blankets while forced to read your summer books and being murderously bitter about it all, honestly. #AppreciateCaitsSuffering”
** And do you know how often I read books I can accuse of being “delightful”???? Like 3% of the time. Everything I read is depressing or has dragons. #priorities
- THE FOCUS ON FRIENDSHIP!
Friendship is the BIGGEST THING in this book! (Also a common theme in Matson books, I’ve noticed.) Which gives you that “N’awww, this is so fabulous” sort of warm fuzzie feeling. Andie has three really super close friends (Bri, Toby, and Palmer) who, despite their confusing names, are all girls — and these four are TIGHT. HUZZAH. PLUS! The story really focuses on the building relationship of Andie and her dad. In the beginning? Andie and her dad are basically strangers — and then their relationship develops into the best father-daughter friendship I’ve EVER READ BASICALLY. They watch John Wayne (ew) and have midnight ice cream meetings and have inside jokes and IT IS LITERALLY MY FAVOURITE.
- THE LOVE INTEREST IS A HOMESCHOOLER
WHO IS NOT A FREAK. Be still my beating heart. Clark is a) a huge nerd, b) socially shy but not inept, c) a homeschool gradate, d) and a fantasy writer. (AKA = HE IS THE MALE VERSION OF ME.) He was absolutely adorable and goes down as one of my favourite bookish boys in the universe. I shipped him and Andie to Jupiter and back, basically. And just endless applause for the fact that THERE IS A HOMESCHOOLER IN A CONTEMPORARY WHO IS ACCURATELY AND NICELY REPRESENTED. (!!!) It needs repeating. Also all the writer references and jokes were gold.
- IT’S A PLEASANTLY FUN BOOK TO DEVOUR.
Although I confess to stressing out majorly because happy books?????? I do not trust ’em. But that aside — it was all about the fun shenanigans of a laid-back summer. Scavenger hunts, waffles, a few parties (that were not wild or untasteful) movies, witty banter, roooooooomance. (Also the romance was slow-burn and fabulous.) It was totally PLEASURABLE to read, despite the fact that, YA KNOW, I’m freezing over here and bitter about that.
- HELLO, SO MANY DOGS.
Andie is set to go to pre-pre-med-med school (shhh, it’s a thing) but gets dumped from the program at the last minute. She ends up walking dogs all summer. I KNOW. DREAM JOB. (I am actually quitting being a writer directly and taking up dog walking because PUPPPPPIES.) So there are tons of dogs (and a few cats) in this novel and it’s GLORIOUS and none of them die. #win
- I ACCIDENTALLY LAUGHED MY HEAD OFF.
The witty banter was so brilliant I LAUGHED OUT LOUD. And this is from the Vulcan who usually gives a brief “heh” to summaries great mirth. But this time? ABSOLUTELY CRACKING UP.
- TOO LONG. FAR FAR FAR TOO LONG
I’m not gonna lie: it nearly lost a star for this. I got bored several times. I understand the endless chapters were to build the friendships — but THERE WERE SO MANY RANDOM RABBIT RUNS. Literally pages and pages of events that really didn’t contribute to the plot. And, well…what plot, really? It had laughs, sweet moments, small calamities to overcome, and smooching in the sunshine. But definitely didn’t excel in any sort of plot direction. I found the first 100-pages rather excruciatingly slow and tedious because of this, but once they were OVER I did thoroughly enjoy myself. But HELLO CONTEMPORARIES NEVER NEED TO BE 500-PAGES.
- TOO ENTIRELY PREDICTABLE
Maybe I just read too much? But I could’ve outlined this entire book before I read it. Not one. single. thing. surprised me and I think the predictability contributed to the afore mentioned nap-ness.
- THE CLIMAX FAILED TO MOVE ME AT ALL
This could be because I’m Vulcan, I totally admit…but the climax focused on a drama around one of the secondary characters. Okay…um, isn’t this Andie’s story? Of course it affected her and she made mistakes and then — DID A STUPID THING AND I WANTED TO DUNK HER IN A DOG BOWL — but the drama didn’t worry me at all because it centred on the feelings of a secondary character I didn’t care about. Luckily the last chapter was so suffocatingly CUTE that I looked past my “meh/detached” feels and ended the book feeling HAPPY.
The Unexpected Everything was definitely a deliciously summery friendship story!
I enjoyed that a lot! (I miss me zombies and stabbings though.) But the predictability and the length did give me lots of YAWN moments. However, puppies and ice cream and the cutest fantasy writer love interest to ever grace literature MORE than make up for that.
THANK YOU TO SIMON & SCHUSTER FOR THE REVIEW-COPY. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson was published May, 2016.
Andie has a plan and she always sticks to the plan.
Future? A top tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby – pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.
So it’s no surprise she’s got her summer all planned out too.
Until a political scandal cancels her summer pre-med internship, and lands both her and Dad back in the same house for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all – working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark in closer than expected. Palmer, Bri and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but here’s the thing … can she?
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