The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
YA – Contemporary
Published May 3rd 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books
As summer comes to an end I’m realizing just how many candy YA books I read these past months with zero shame. They’re fun and light and easy and sometimes just what I need when sitting by the pool. All in all, this book was adorable and exactly what I needed to finish on a lazy Sunday.
Andie’s summer plans unravel when her congressman father’s political scandal causes her letter of recommendation to a premiere pre-med internship to be revoked and her spot given away to someone else. She’s extremely type A, independent, and ambitious and is now left with “nothing” when she’s forced to fill her summer gap in her resume with the only job she can find on such short notice, walking dogs.
With her dad now home all of the time (when neither of them are used to it) and a new job, the world she has constructed for herself begins to crumble. Things start looking up when her dad begins to spend more time with her and she meets a cute guy on the job (because of course), but like all YA novels things don’t stay perfect long.
This book, so so cute and exactly what I needed as a good summer send-off. Summer reads for me usually are just so incredibly cute I can’t help but smile from all the sentimentality and just pure joy. This book somehow perfectly straddled the line for between beach read and a slightly deeper contemporary look at family life. So much of the book is focused on Andie’s relationship with Clarke but there is just so much else about friendship, growing up and moving on, and the effects of loss and grief on a family.
So for starters, Andie’s damaged relationship with her father was what I loved about this book way more than I expected to so that was a pleasant surprise. For the five years after he mother’s death Andie and her dad have not been particularly close. He distanced himself and went fully into work and Andie accepted that as her life now. It was incredibly charming to see them fumble around one another at the beginning of the summer when they were both home unsure of how to act. That felt very real to me and how a lot of family relationship are, no bad blood but not close either. By midway, her dad begins to try and make amends and relearn who his daughter is. This very easily could have turned into a stream of angst but it never did and I thought the renewed connection was sweet and I’m glad this layer was added to the story and actually fleshed out.
As cute as her scenes were with her dad, the scenes of Andie with her friends was what I loved the best and the “break up” at the end was something I kept thinking would be good for both characters but I never imagined they would actually follow through…that was a pleasant surprise. Really, as much time as Andie spent with cute and dorky Clarke was really balanced out with her just hanging with her friends like teenagers do and I like that they all had lives outside of their relationships and friendships and when they didn’t it wasn’t necessarily idolized.
As much as I could ramble on about how this was a perfect candy read there is a super obvious problem. This book was long, over 500 pages long. I’m fine with long books but when I pick up a YA contemporary I plan to just read while at the lake for the day, I don’t expect it to be long. I read it on my kindle so I didn’t notice the bulkiness as much (such trickery) but it definitely felt like I was reading separate novels at points because things were resolved (or could have been ) then bam, new problem.
“Because believing you’re not alone is the cruelest trick of all.”
“Theoretical crushes could remain perfect and flawless, because you never actually had to find out what that person was really like or deal with the weird way they chewed or anything.”
“The idea that you could rethink the thing you’d always thought you wanted and change your plan – it was almost a revolutionary concept. That you could choose what would make you happy, not successful”
Probably not (see: length) but I will definitely be picking up more Matson in the future.