I have read and loved almost all of Morgan Matson’s books for now, so obviously I was eager to get into her latest release. Right now in France it’s winter and dead-cold here, and you know, sometimes you just need to read a book that’s set in the summer to warm your heart a little bit. Or maybe I like being not logical and reading books with all the summer feelings while I’m shivering in my scarf that’s as big as my bed covers.
UNEXPECTED TURNS FOR A CHARACTER-DRIVEN STORY
“You have to try. You have to take your chances. Go and attempt and see what happens. And even if you fail – especially if you fail – come back with your experience and your hard-won knowledge and a story you can tell. And then later you can say, without regret or hesitation… ‘Once, I dared to dare greatly”
If you’re looking for someone who clearly knows what she’s doing while she writes, please ask Morgan Matson, because I feel like she understands this whole young adult contemporary vibe very, very well. In that unexpected everything, we get to meet Andie, used to living almost alone since her father’s this big-time politician. Between her group of friends, her love life and her dad’s life colliding with hers, everything will be, as the title suggests, very unexpected. Despite what you might think from that, this is not a plot, but a very character-driven story: we get to see things change, relationships evolve, and characters just as well. If the book is more than 500 pages long, which I have to admit was a bit long for a contemporary, and quite predictable at times, I still didn’t get bored while reading it and I loved getting to know all of the characters I quickly grew attached to.
THREE DIMENSIONAL CHARACTERS AND A AZEIZGQJDH LOVE INTEREST
“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. It was the
opposite of everything I had long believed to be true.”
Something I always look forward to in a contemporary, is meeting the characters, seeing them shaping, evolving, and by the end of the book, feeling like they were my friends all along. I knew I could kind of trust Morgan Matson on that one, because she manages to shape very likeable characters with their quirks and their flaws. As a kind of planner myself – well, I do love when I know where things are going to be honest -, I could relate to Andie’s planning frenzy, and I loved seeing her letting loose a bit as the summer goes, I loved seeing her taking chances on jobs, on people, on things she never would have before. The main character is surrounded by a kind of big cast of friends, but surprisingly – or not too surprisingly, if you know Morgan Matson’s writing -, they all were very-well thought-of, three dimensional: I felt like I knew every friend as much as Andie did, each having their own goals and dreams and heartbreaks.
I obviously need to put here a special mention to the male interest in this story, because he was just SO damn great. He wasn’t your typical male love interest, if you ask me, because there are SO many awkwardness about him, and he was just way too cute. A home-schooled glasses boy writing fantasy. Can this get any better than that?
FRIENDSHIPS AND LOVE IN A WORD: REAL
“It’s always a risk. Wherever there is great emotion. because there is power in that. And few people handle power well.”
All of the relationships between the characters felt genuine and unique in their own ways. We all know friendship isn’t quite the same thing with one friend or another, and I loved how we could see this reality in the characters of this story: the closeness, almost twin-like relationship, the relationships with the friends you barely see, the getting to know and befriending someone new, with the awkwardness of a first meeting turning into fist-bumps and private jokes. I loved how Morgan Matson manages to make friendships feel so real in every single one of her books.
Obviously I have to talk about the love interest, and the relationship between the two love birds…and the thing is, it was real. No insta-love here, nothing weird or out of place, nothing that seems quite unreal when it comes to love either. From a first awkward first date to getting to know each other better, from being wary to opening up, from time struggling to actually falling in love, everything felt genuine and just overall SO CUTE, I just LOVED this so much.
Another relationship I need to underline here, is the father-daughter relationship, because as you can expect it from this synopsis, there is a lot of this in that story. I always love when there is a strong family presence, so I was thrilled to get to know Andie’s father a bit more and see them trying to built a relationship a bit awkwardly and trying to get to know each other better. From someone that feels like a shadow in Andie’s life, he grows and changes and evolves alongside Andie, which was very beautiful and heartwarming to read about.
If The Unexpected Everything was a tiny bit long, it still reinforced my conviction: Morgan Matson is one of the queens of young adult contemporary, and if you love the genre, I think you need to read all of her books right now. She makes characters, friendships, love, feel genuine and real, which I love. Moreover, in this story about change, growth and evolution, both in terms of relationships and in characters’ life, The Unexpected Everything was hopeful and had this giddy happy feeling that lots of summer books have.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Did you read The Unexpected Everything? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to read it? Share your thoughts in comments!
Morgan Matson, The Unexpected Everything, Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, May 3rd 2016.
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?