Published by Simon & Schuster Children's UK on April 1st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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Bailey “Mink” Rydell has met the boy of her dreams. They share a love of films and talk all day – Alex is perfect. Well, apart from the fact that they’ve never actually met . . . and neither of them knows the other’s real name.
When Bailey moves to sunny California to live with her dad, who happens to live in the same town as Alex, she decides to track him down. But finding someone based on online conversations alone proves harder than Bailey thought, and with her irritating but charismatic (and potentially attractive?) colleague Porter Roth distracting her at every turn, will she ever get to meet the mysterious Alex?
From the author of Night Owls comes a story of summer, first love and hidden identities . . .
Alex, Approximately is a really adorable contemporary romance story that is perfect for the summer. It’s set in a beach location and would be the perfect book to bring with you on a trip to the beach!
This novel follows Bailey, who is a classic Hollywood film buff and chats constantly to a boy named Alex through some kind of film site. When she moves in with her dad, who coincidentally lives in the same town as Alex, she decides to find him without actually telling him that she’s moved. The task proves to be quite difficult and Bailey also finds herself quite distracted by her summer job at a museum and her pesky coworker, Porter, who won’t leave her alone. As she spends more and more time with Porter, her friendship with Alex online deteriorates, and she finds herself having to choose between her real life or the relationship she’s fantasised about. I absolutely loved the plot of this book. It was light and fun and had me yearning for the beach (which never happens because I’m very much an indoors type of girl). It had lovely descriptions of the beach and it was written in such an atmospheric way that I felt like I was there with Bailey, eating churros and basking in the sun. What I loved most about the plot was how nicely it was paced. It flowed beautifully and it was really hard for me to put the book down because I was swept up in everything that was happening. The setting of the museum was a lot of fun and all of the little adventures that Bailey went on kept me in the story and had me wishing I was there.
I fell in love with most of the characters from the very beginning of the book. I thought Bailey was a really relatable and realistic character and I connected with her instantly. She describes herself as a bit of an evader, and I have to admit that I’m sometimes the same. She was a really easy character to love and I highly enjoyed reading from her perspective. I also absolutely loved Porter. He came off as a bit of a dick sometimes at the start of the book, but he’s actually an incredibly hard worker who is respectful and has a huge heart. I didn’t think I’d love him as much as I did but he was definitely one of my favourite characters in the novel. There were also a whole host of wonderful side characters, including Pangborn, an elderly man who’s been working at the museum of decades and is a huge ball of hilarity. I love it when contemporary romances have awesome side characters and isn’t just focused on the lead characters.
My favourite part of the novel though was the relationships and how nicely they were developed. It wasn’t just the romance that had me hooked – I was also a big fan of all the friendships and the familial relationships. Bailey hasn’t been able to spend much time with her father in recent years and it was really nice to be able to see their relationship grow stronger throughout the book. I loved how supportive they were of each other and really enjoyed the family wasn’t something that was left out of the story in favour of the romance. I also really loved Porter’s family and how much they sacrificed for each other. There were also some really wonderful friendships in the book, especially the one between Bailey and Grace. I liked that Grace was able to bring Bailey out of her shell and was there for Bailey when she needed someone to talk to. And I also absolutely loved the friendship between Bailey and Alex and how honest they were able to be with each other through the internet. What I appreciated most about these relationships were that they were relatable and real. The characters brought with them flaws into these relationships and they were portrayed with such honesty that I felt like I knew who these people were and what they meant to each other.
But of course, let’s talk about the romance. I absolutely loved Porter and Bailey together. Hate to love is one of my favourite romantic tropes and it was done so well here. The development of their romance was so wonderfully executed and they were so cute together. I loved how much of a sweetheart Porter was, even though he probably annoyed the crap out of Bailey at the start. I thought their relationship was portrayed in a really realistic and honest way and every scene they had together made me quietly swoon. I also loved how sex-positive the book was and that the characters actually talked about it instead of leaping into bed together at the first chance. There were a few things that I didn’t like about the romance and the story, and most of these things came at the end during the climax of the book. But they were very minor flaws in comparison to what was a beautifully written book.
I loved Jenn Bennett’s first book, Night Owls (or The Anatomical Shape of a Heart), and Alex, Approximately was just as delightful. It will make you laugh and cry and fall in love with the characters and their stories. The relationships between the characters were wonderful and I highly, highly recommend the novel!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for providing a review copy of the book.
Alex, Approximately is now available at all Australian retailers for $17.99.