29 March, 2017

{ARC Review} Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Standalone Novel
Publishes April 4, 2017 by Simon Pulse
e-ARC provided by Edelweiss
In this delightfully charming teen spin on You’ve Got Mail, the one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

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.

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My Review

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Um. Hard to explain my feelings about this book. On the one hand, it was definitely a cutesy book. On the other, it felt... I'm not even sure how to explain it? I wanted to say overly dramatic, especially near the ending, but I'm at a loss.

Anyway though. This was definitely a hate to love sort of thing. When Bailey moves to a new town in California and gets a job at the local tourist-y museum, she and Porter immediately hit it off, in which she cannot stand him and he constantly seeks to antagonise her. But, of course, as time passed by, the two began feeling things for each other. Their relationship didn't progress too slowly or too quickly, but at a perfect pace, filled with sexual tension and lots of banter. It was the type of progression that made me angry at them for not being able to kiss halfway through the book. So if you're in need of a good romance, this one will definitely give you a good helping.

I liked Bailey! I could relate to her character a lot because I, too, am a person who avoids confrontation. I'd do a lot of things to get out of the spotlight and it avoid confronting anyone, most of the time. (Or, at least, I used to be.) Hard knock life. Reading about Bailey's development, seeing her grow from a shy character to someone who isn't afraid of the spotlight anymore, was amazing and believable. I appreciated the way Bennett did it because it wasn't too drastic and felt realistic.

For the most part, I did like Porter. When he was being cute and all. But in the beginning, I just thought he was being a prick to Bailey, antagonising her for no apparent reason. He constantly assumed what kind of person she was and that annoyed the living hell out of me. He wasn't like that during their relationship, but when there was a bump in it near the end, he once again got on my bad side. I mean he was swoony and all but that doesn't cut it. He didn't let Bailey explain anything. He hardly gave her the time of day and I hated how he treated her. She didn't even know what she'd done wrong! Every time she tried to talk to him, he would blow her off or use some lame excuse and it genuinely annoyed me.

Like all contemporaries, there's more than meets the eye for both parties. Bailey had a traumatic experience when she was 14 due to her mother (who's a divorce lawyer) winning a case. Porter, who's part of a family who takes surfing very seriously, had his own demons to fight. Bennett did a great job at showcasing both of their pasts and have them not freeze up when they were assaulted with memories from then. 

I would have loved to see more female friendship! I mean, there was Grace, who was Bailey's first friend when she moved to town, but honestly, I thought she could have been more present. I can't complain too much though; I'm just glad she was there in the first place.

Also: great father-daughter relationship! The two got along splendidly and were active in each other's life, and always supported one another throughout the novel and I loved that! They're also huge nerds for old movies and some weird board game that I think involved farm animals? Anyway, they were adorable and I loved the relationship.

Bennett also did another great thing with the novel: she made it sex positive. While it made me uncomfortable sometimes, it in no way affects my overall opinion of the book. In fact, despite my personal feelings, I thought it was a great thing to include in the novel. Bennett didn't make Bailey feel ashamed of her body at all throughout the novel, nor afraid of indirectly mentioning sex and masturbation and whatever else Porter and Bailey did. It was nice to see those things (indirectly) mentioned instead of it being taboo or something.

So! All of that being said, I'd give this 3.5 stars! I definitely would recommend this if you're looking for a swoony--and somewhat steamy--romance!

P.S.: I haven't watched You've Got Mail, but I'm pretty sure that if you liked that movie, you'd like this too!

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