Title: The Unexpected Everything
Author: Morgan Matson
Genre: YA contemporary
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 rarely reach for YA contemporaries. Like I can count with my fingers how many I have read in total. The Unexpected Everything is not the kind of book I would normally pick up. And yet I loved everything page of it. This was such cute, fun, and endearing book. It promises a cute romance, fun friendships, dogs and a summer-y feel. It delivers on all four counts with an added depth to the story.
My main qualm with this book is how predictable it is. There’s this dramatic reveal towards the climax that was completely spelled out in every previous scene involving those particular characters. But predictability? There are worse sins. If you want a book to clear your head, this is perfect.
Some much of this novel relies on how fun is to read about this characters. I laughed, I grinned, I cried even; all because Matson was able to paint this characters so well. And for a contemporary there are a ton. There is Andie, the nice people she works for, her politician father and his staff, her endearing three best friends, her adorable love interest, her other former love interest, her friends’ boyfriends, and dogs. Each one comes alive on page through their quirks and strong characterization.
The romance is an important part of the book. I’m normally not really that interested but here it just worked. Maybe it was because both characters were allowed to exist outside the romance, even in the latter half of the book was pretty romance-heavy. Clark, in his extreme adorkableness, is one of those characters that you just fall in love with instantly. Andie, as any female character I love, was flawed and honestly fun to read about. Also their meet-cute includes a dog! This book is filled with dogs!
I adore how realistic the relationship between the main four girls felt. Their long text chains (emojis included) were some of my favourites. I’m biased to be honest, as I have a similar dynamic with my three best friends. But to me that speaks well of Matson’s ability to translate friendships, low points included, to page. Their interactions felt pretty real and got the biggest laughs out of me. Also practically all of the dynamics in this book were adorable.
I was expecting not a whole lot of depth from this if I’m being honest. It wasn’t the kind of book that makes you rethink your whole life, but it does posses a surprising amount of depth. Most of it comes from Andie’s relationship with her father and her unresolved feelings about her mother’s death. You get the sense that Andie has moved on, learned to make the best of her circumstances, but also there are parts where you see how much her parents have affected her. And when it wanted to be this book could be heartbreaking. It’s a hard balance of to strike, between the other, lighter elements, but Matson handles it well.
Now, this book is long for contemporary. My edition has 517 pages. I’ve seen that many people were bothered by its length, but it didn’t bother me. It was the amount of words needed to tell Andie’s story. The plot took a bit too long to take off, as all of Andie’s plans start falling apart, but once it gets going there are always things happening. Be it setting up dynamics or funny parts, I never felt a scene was unnecessary to gratuitous because of how darn enjoyable everything was. Despite its length, I would definitely recommend for getting out of a reading slump.