The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 3, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 519 – hardcover & paperback, 528 – ebook
Format Read: paperback ARC
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Simon & Schuster
Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.
Future? A top-tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.
So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too.
Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all—working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?
Many thanks to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my views and opinions below.
Okay, so I love Morgan Matson’s books; they’re all such memorable reads and I always find myself enjoying every single second of them. I only have, like, 3 auto-buy authors and she’s definitely one of them. So, imagine my excitement when I hear that she has a new book coming out! I.am.pumped! Seriously, the excitement I felt was surreal. Unfortunately — I don’t know if it was just me or if it was the book itself — but… this book kind of fell flat. I kept waiting for that moment when I would get completely sucked in, that heart-racing ‘omg‘ factor… 400 pages in and… nope. Zilch. Nada. Maybe it was just because my expectations were ridiculously high and the hype was massive, but I still can’t help but feel a twinge of disappointment. Compared to her other books, The Unexpected Everything just failed to grab a hold of my attention and actually keep it until the end.
I’ll start off by talking about what I liked about the book, because although it just wasn’t up to par with her other books, the book in and itself did have some redeemable parts. I loved the dynamic between the characters, especially between Andie, Toby, Bri, and Palmer. Their friendship was just so precious! It’s always nice to see books that give as much importance to the platonic relationships as they do to the romantic ones, and that’s something that’s always been emphasized in Morgan’s books — which I absolutely love. Also, the humor and banter was 10/10! I found myself giggling at the book more often than not. It made the pages fly by a little faster.
Andie was a nice protagonist, too. Not my favorite, but she was okay. I couldn’t understand her reasoning sometimes and her decisions seemed to lack common sense a lot of the time. You know when you’re reading a book and the MC does something that you just know will come back to bite them in the ass at a later point? Well, that was Andie… times ten.
Speaking of Andie, can we just talk about her dad? I loved the subplot there. I loved watching their relationship develop. I loved watching them slowly get to know each other. Most of all, I loved the care with which Morgan explored their relationship. It was really something to read! Especially the scavenger hunt scene.
Now that we’ve covered what I enjoyed, let’s touch bases on what didn’t work for me. The biggest and most important issue for me, perhaps, was how predicable everything was. As I mentioned above, there was just no ‘wow’ factor that made me want to ignore life and keep reading. I could’ve guessed what was going to happen from the get-go, but I just had to give the book the benefit of the doubt and keep reading. To be honest, most of this book could’ve been condensed into fewer pages. The five-hundred-something pages were just completely unnecessary. The first half of the book barely had anything going on and the second half felt like one very long epilogue that just dragged on and on and on.
Another thing that fell flat for me was Clarke and Andie’s relationship. I wasn’t feeling it. Their interactions were clunky and forced (especially at the beginning) and just tragic. I couldn’t really enjoy the scenes of them together because they were just too tedious. I wanted banter, chemistry, a spark – call it what you will – but their dynamic just made me cringe. I feel like, as a romantic pairing, they weren’t very compatible for each other; Topher would’ve made for a more exciting interest, probably.
In short, The Unexpected Everything wasn’t what I hoped it would be, but it did have qualities that compensated for the defects. The writing was articulate and the characters were relatable and their banter was hilarious. It just that, unlike Morgan’s other books, I couldn’t feel the feels.
Rating: 3 fish