Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Alex, Approximately

Monday, April 3, 2017

Just Finished Reading ... Alex, Approximately

Alex, Approximately
by Jenn Bennett
To be published by Simon Pulse
on April 4, 2017

Synopsis from Goodreads: Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online by “Alex.” Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush. Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new arch-nemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever-it-is she’s starting to feel for Porter. And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.
My take: I really liked Jenn Bennett's debut YA, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, so I was super-excited to get my hands on this.

I liked it a lot, with one exception. But first let's focus on what I loved. Jenn Bennett has a gift for creating appealing, quirky characters and settings. I loved vintage-weraing, film buff Bailey and not-stereotypical-at-all surfer dude Porter. I loved Coronado Cove, the cute little California beach town where the story takes place. I loved The Cavern Palace, the crazy museum/memorabilia shop where Bailey and Porter work. (Is it like a more downscale Hearst Castle? I've never been there, so not sure...) Loved Bailey's relationship with her dad, loved her BFF Grace. There was a LOT to love.

What I didn't love as much was the whole "You've Got Mail" set-up As the synopsis says, Porter (aka Alex) and Bailey (aka Mink) have an online-only friendship. She knows he lives in the same part of California as her dad, but doesn't tell him that she's moving there. So there's that -- the whole "keeping secrets" trope. Then there's the weirdness of two teenagers in 2017 who are friends online -- but not on Facebook or Instagram, just on a film fanatics online message board. Then you have the fact that, after Bailey moves to California, she sort of half-heartedly tries to track down her online soulmate IRL. To me, the book spent too much energy trying to keep this secret from the characters until the very end. That all didn't seem to bother most of my friends on Goodreads, but it did me.

In any case, that small negative was far outweighed by all the amazing positives about this book. Definitely put it on your TBR if you're a fan of contemporary YA romances!

25 comments:

  1. I'm not a huge fan of mistaken/hidden identity tropes in general, and I think it's even harder to pull off with modern technology. I went into this knowing I was going to ignore all that lol

    And I felt like that was the least important part of the story once it got rolling.

    *POSSIBLE SPOILERS*

    I had issues with Porter's friend and how that all played out. It felt forced just to confront Bailey's issues. What did you think about all of that?

    I loved it though!

    For What It's Worth

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    1. Yes - I agree with you. Didn't say that in my review because I didn't want to dwell too much on the negatives when I DID really like this. I thought there was too much dramatic backstory for both Porter and Bailey (including Porter's friend). It felt like everyone had some past trauma and I thought it was at odds with the cute, rom-com tone of the book.

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  2. Ohh I'm going to keep your points in mind when I read this one. See if it'll bother me too. Thanks for sharing Jen!

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    1. I seem to be the only one who felt this way. I'm sure you'll love it!

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  3. I am super excited for this since I loved her last book. All the things you loved I know I would love. The you got mail set up was what really excited me about this so I will have to see if it bothers me. Great review!

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  4. Great review! I agree with you re: the secret keeping. Although that didn't bother me as much as Porter rolling with the secret even after he found out. That felt like such a bad and double standard to me! Super cute setting though!

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    1. Yeah, that's the inevitable weirdness that results from this set-up. Agree with you on the setting - it was fantastic!

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  5. I loved it! This book was so fun. Loved the hero. Loved the heroine. Loved the movie quotes. There were all these positive adults and it was sex positive to boot. The romance was adorbs, and it was exactly what I wanted when I read it.
    Sam @ WLABB

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  6. Yassss! I think I'm fine with the whole prolonged secret-keeping in this book. As you said, there was far more awesomeness to be had. :)

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    1. Yes, normally a lot of secret keeping drives me nuts. But overall the book was worth it.

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  7. OH I did like Jenn Bennett's first book too!! I actually didn't even realise she had another one coming out. Fail to me haha. 😜 I definitely want to try it out at some point! I'm glad it was a pretty solid success for you.🎉

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    1. Okay, will be checking to see your thoughts!

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  8. I'm hoping to read this really soon! I'm happy to hear that was a lot to love even with the secret keeping.

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    1. Yeah, that's never my favorite. But I guess necessary in this kind of plot.

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  9. So glad to see you enjoyed this one, Jen (with the one exception). I have been pretty excited for this one. I was at my local Barnes & Noble on Sunday and they had it shelved early and... I didn't get it. I don't know what was wrong with me. LOL

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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  10. I'm still planning on reading it, but I'm sure the plausibility will bug me a little too since I like things to make sense. Thanks for the review!

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    1. Glad I'm not the only nitpicker out there!

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  11. It was weird how she just kind of forgot about the You've Got Mail premise as soon as Porter came into the picture-- by the time the author went back to the Alex online storyline, I was like ??? I basically forgot that was even part of the book anymore. I feel like Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks were a lot better connected in their emails than Alex and Mink were in their blah messages.

    But I liked the book-- I just didn't love it. Glad you were feeling it. And I totally agree about the town and the museum!! Best parts of the whole book!

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    1. YES -- I felt the same. I didn't want her to think she was in love with two guys, but also I was SO disappointed that she ditched her online OTP so quickly. I definitely liked ASoaH better than this.

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  12. I really loved Bennett's other novel, so I am just like you were - super excited to read this one and see if her next book still manages to line up! I don't know if the secret aspect of things will bother me or not... I haven't read too many novels like that before, so I don't really have anything to compare it to :/

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    1. Look forward to seeing what you think!

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  13. I've really been looking forward to reading this. I love YA contemporaries, and this sounds perfect for me.

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