Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Review: The Unexpected Everything


The Unexpected Everything is Morgan Matson's newest book - just published today - and only the second book I've read by her. It's crazy because she writes exactly the kind of YA I love - contemporary, smart, funny, sweet, and real. Sarah Dessen is one of my all time favourite authors and Matson's books are a lot like Dessen's. I read Since You've Been Gone two years ago and promptly fell in love with Matson. So, I was thrilled when an ARC of her new book showed up on my mailbox. I read it last week after a hellish end to a weekend (if you follow me on Twitter you'll know our townhouse got broken into while we were away for the weekend) and it put me in such a good mood. I freaking loved The Unexpected Everything. Loved. It.

Here's the synopsis:
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? 
I think the next time an adult says they don't want to read a book about a teenager (because they're young, immature, annoying, etc.) I'm going to shove The Unexpected Everything in their face. I actually found myself forgetting Andie was in high school. Granted, it was a bit easier to do because the book took place during summer vacation and Clark was a couple of years older than she was. But it also had a lot to do with Andie's personality and the way Matson wrote her (and all of the other young characters). Andie was a pretty mature 17-almost-18 year old but she was still a teen and still acted like it at times (it would have been weirder if she hadn't acted her age). I hate when YA authors dumb down their characters because they think their audience (also teenagers) can't handle "complex" characters or storylines like you're supposed to find in an adult novel. Matson doesn't do that - she treats her readers with respect and the result is an amazing novel.

I need to talk about Bertie here for a second because his little storyline gave me some huge laughs. Important information: Bertie is a dog. A large, fluffy, white dog. First of all, I would love a white, fluffy dog. Also, I was pretty thrilled when Andie noticed a P.G. Wodehouse quote in Clark's house. I was even more thrilled when I realized the dog's name, Bertie, is a play on the name of one of the characters in Wodehouse's novels, Bertie Wooster. (If you've never heard of Jeeves and Wooster, I suggest you watch the show featuring Stephen Fry as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie as Wooster. I also really need to work on reading the books asap.) Plus, me tweeting about Bertie and his name resulted in a fantastic conversation with Matson herself. I tried very hard not to fangirl or sound like an idiot. :)

I loved the friendship between Andie, Palmer, Toby, and Bri. I found it pretty realistic and made me nostalgic for high school friendships (not high school itself...no thank you). Like Andie, I was lucky and my friends and I were pretty drama-free. But, once you graduate high school, those friendships you had for the last four years become so different. Even before I had any idea the girls would encounter some problems, I found myself wondering if the four of them could survive being long distance friends. As Toby realized, sometimes you need to find out who you are apart from the friends you've had for forever. All that being said, I really liked reading the scenes with all of the girls together. It made me think about those friends from high school I'm still in touch with and what went wrong with the ones I don't really talk to anymore.

I also absolutely loved Clark. He was so smart and funny and so very right for Andie. I also found it interesting to read his interactions with Andie and her friends. Clark was homeschooled and, because of his career, he lives a fairly solitary life. Reading as he hosted his first party and how he interacted with the girls and Tom, Palmer's boyfriend, was so great. Also, the romance between he and Andie also seemed really realistic which I loved.

I really can't say enough good things about The Unexpected Everything. Morgan Matson has written an absolutely fantastic novel that every contemporary lover should pick up at some point before fall. It's the perfect summer book (I really miss summer vacations...not so much the school year though...) with characters you'll fall in love with, and a story you'll become so invested in. Even though I've only read two of Matson's books (I plan on getting to her backlist very soon), she's definitely one of my favourite YA authors.

*An ARC of this novel was provided by the publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

2 comments:

  1. Ooh, sounds so good! I actually own two or three of her books but haven't read anything by her yet!

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  2. Yes! I'm 20 but felt like Andie was the same age as me from the way she thinks and acts. I think that helped make the story so powerful and as you say, all the characters are likeable. I agree with your review completely!
    I also reviewed The Unexpected Everything on my blog if you're interested: https://readbyjess.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/the-unexpected-everything-morgan-matson_22.html
    -Jess

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