Today I’m hosting a blog tour for Morgan Matson and her adorable dog central book, The Unexpected Everything! I’ve got a review of the book, a guest post from Morgan about her childhood dog, and of course, a giveaway of the book. I hope you enjoy the ride!The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster Children's on May 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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From Morgan Matson, the bestselling author of Since You’ve Been Gone comes a feel-good story of friendship, finding yourself, and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans.
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?
If there’s anything that I can trust Morgan Matson to deliver, it would be a strong focus on friendship. In The Unexpected Everything, Andie has a group of four best friends, each with their own quirks, personalities and worries. They spend a lot of time together, chatting on their group chat and catching up at their local diner. These girls couldn’t be closer and their friendship felt genuine and realistic. They really cared about one another and understood each other’s worries.
But as with any other friendship, things are going to come between them in life – boys, secrets, jealousy and struggles. It’s hard to maintain a friendship when you drift apart, and that was dealt with realistically in The Unexpected Everything.
My friends had been the one thing I could always count on, and with everything else beginning to spin out of my control, I needed us to stay together.
As Andie gets wrapped up in hew new job, romance and spending time with her father, her friends become the least of her worries. I was frustrated with Andie, with how she couldn’t see the developing problems with her friends when I could see what was happening from a mile away. Because she’s quite controlling and can’t really deal with unexpected circumstances well, she encourages her friend to keep a secret from the other friends. Andie has an OCD personality, and although she acted pretty selfishly at times, she felt realistically flawed. I was frustrated with her, but I could understand where she was coming from.
Aside from the friendship, the other focus of The Unexpected Everything was on family. It was refreshing seeing the reverse of the absent parent syndrome – Andie and her father have to spend more time together when he experiences an issue with his political career. While awkward at the start, I loved seeing their bond grow and how they became more concerned with each other’s lives. It was heart warming seeing her father get involved with her friends, romance and life. The father-daughter relationship was developed really well which is something we don’t see much in YA books.
But under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have been walking dogs in a fancy dress. I wouldn’t have been spinning out, with no idea of what I was going to do with my summer. And until I figured it out, I knew I shouldn’t be flirting with random dog owners, no matter how cute they were.
The romance was another aspect that I found realistic. While the two had some pretty awkward moments and an awful first date, they brought out the best of each other. Clark gives Andie stability and the belief that mistakes can happen, and Andie gives him friendship and inspiration. It was refreshing to see attraction turn into friendship and then a romance, and I liked how it wasn’t perfect at the start but slowly evolved out of common interest.
I loved Clark’s introverted personality and how he’s a fantasy author who struggles with writer’s block. He’s a thinker who connects with people on an intellectual level, and helps Andie come out of her perfectionist shell. It’s refreshing having a beta male as a love interest and Clark was absolutely swoon-worthy.
Being a dog person, it was also entertaining following Andie with her casual job as a dog walker. The furballs were absolutely adorable, especially the Great Pyrenees dog Bertie.
Everything in The Unexpected Everything felt realistic, from the imperfect relationship, to the friendship dramas and the bond in a father-daughter relationship. It’s a book about taking risks and going out of your comfort zone and just going with the flow, because you’re not sure where life will take you. I loved how relatable the story was and it is the perfect summer contemporary.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Guest Post by Morgan Matson: Murphy, The Unexpected Dog
I grew up with a dog (a little white ball of energy – a bichon frise) named Friskie. I named her (in my
defense, I was seven at the time). I love dogs and had always imagined that at some point, when I was enough of an adult to handle it, I would get a dog of my own. In 2012, I wrote Second Chance Summer and wanted there to be a dog in it. Because of a plot point, the dog’s name had to also be something that could work as a last name. I chose Murphy somewhat arbitrarily (it was between that and Hudson) and I did the mental equivalent of a coin toss to get there.
In writing about the dog in SCS, I was drawing on my own experiences growing up with a dog, but the dog was also there because I was starting to really want one of my own.
The book came out in 2012, and my tumblr from that year was basically just pictures of dogs.
I started to get serious about getting a dog by the end of 2013. I had rented a house with a yard, I was reading dog books, I was posting ever more pictures to tumblr. I started going to rescue websites and adoption fairs. I was pretty sure about what I wanted – a dog like the kind I grew up with, goofy and high-energy.
I went to a rescue in January of 2014. I had gone looking for the dog I saw on their website – a curly haired dog that reminded me of the dog from my childhood. But when I met that dog, we didn’t click. She was really unfriendly, and so I prepared to go. Then the woman running the rescue asked me, “Do you want to take a look at Murphy?”
I just stared at her, and she pointed out a yellow-white terrier, shaggy and running around. I don’t believe in signs, but this maybe felt like one. I played with him for hours and then took him home that night. Just on a fostering basis. Just for a few days.
Now, over two years later, my Murphy is sleeping next to me as I write this. He was nothing like the dog that I thought I wanted. He’s not goofy or high-energy. He sheds. He doesn’t have curly hair. He’s almost totally silent – I’ve heard him bark maybe five times in two years. But he’s sweet and very mellow, but also loves to go on walks and hikes. Basically, Murphy wants to be where you are, which was why he was by my side the whole way as I wrote The Unexpected Everything.
It was because of Murphy that there is a huge dog subplot in the book. Andie, the main character, gets a job as a dog walker and has one regular dog, Bertie, who she walks every day (he’s the big white fluffy dog on the cover). I wouldn’t have written Bertie, or any of the other dogs in the book, without the experience of owning Murphy. I know there was a time when he wasn’t my dog, but with every month that gets harder to remember.
The dogs are one of my favorite part of The Unexpected Everything – I have Murphy to thank for it.
Giveaway – Australians only
I’m giving away a copy of The Unexpected Everything to a lucky reader of Happy Indulgence (fake entries will be disqualified – I can tell)! Winner will be notified by email and will need to respond within 48 hours. Giveaway ends 8 May 2016.
Thanks Simon & Schuster Australia for sending me this book for review and inviting us to be a part of this amazing blog tour!
Follow the blog tour below!