Review: Alex, Approximately

by - 7:40 PM

| ISBN: 978-1534404946 | Pages: 390 |
Publication Date: April 4, 2017 | Source: Own
| Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars |

The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.
Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as 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 archnemesis. But life is a 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.
This was a total splurge on my part, but after watching Xan from Twirling Pages talk about this in her Best Books of 2017 video, I had to pick it up. I figured, what better way to ease back into the busy schedule of school than with a cute contemporary that I can fly through.

First thing's first: that cover is a big no no - it's not a bad one by any means, it just doesn't do this book justice at all. In my opinion, this cover should have a food truck that sells churros on it because after reading this, the one thing I craved the most was churros (and sunshine cause it's snowing here in Massachusetts). 

“Sometimes you have to endure painful things to realize that you're a whole lot stronger than you think.”

Alex, Approximately is a spin-off of You've Got Mail which, don't shoot me, I've never watched before. I decided to go into this mostly because I adore the "pen-pals turn real life romance" trope, it's a guilty pleasure of mine. This entire novel is full of cheesy YA romance tropes which usually would have been a bit much for me, but I kinda loved it.

“We all really do contradict ourselves and contain multitudes. How do we even figure out who we really are?” 

I'm going to attribute my lack of "ughs" towards all the cheese to Jenn Bennett's writing style. She makes everything seem so fun and easy to read that you don't really realize how cliched some of the events are. I mean, haters turned lover is as cliched as you can get with YA. I watched a book review on Sophia from thebookbasement's channel and she described Jenn Bennett's writing as being summed up into "chatty" which honestly is the best way to describe. It's chatty in the best way possible because the style makes the story so enjoyable.

“If you don't pay attention to things, they wander off.” 

Now, I loved the first 75% of the novel, actually loved it because of how great the story was. I almost decided to binge read it, but decided to go to sleep like a normal person and finish it the next day. That last 25% was a big let down for me, and I've seen a lot of other people echo my thoughts. I understand the reason some events happened, but there just seemed like so much excess drama that happened in the last quarter of the novel that I just wanted things to dial back down so I could enjoy the sheer cuteness of the characters.

“She’s got the strength of a tater tot.” 

The chemistry between Bailey and her archnemesis Porter is amazing - they have this great banter that is so fun to read and while they do argue a lot, they also have this respect for the other person that their fights don't ruin their relationship. I adored their relationship throughout the story as well as the other relationship dynamics throughout the novel. Bailey's relationship with her new best friend Grace, a pixie sized British-Nigerian superwoman, and her father are just so heartwarming and beautiful.

“Before, my anxiety was singing solo. Now all this weird anticipation and jumbled excitement has added some strange harmonies into the mix. I’m a barbershop quartet basket case.” 

The cast of characters in Alex, Approximately is also incredibly diverse with Grace (like I mentioned before) being British Nigerian, Bailey's father's girlfriend being Latina, and Porter being half Polynesian. The novel also delves into some touchy topics like PTSD and drug abuse. There are some aspects that I feel like could have been addressed better (the drug abuse...) instead of conforming it to societal expectations.

To sum it up, Alex, Approximately was a blast - I chuckled at passages, rolled my eyes at the witty banter, and cried internally at the heartwarming passages. While I'm not a huge fan of how the novel wrapped up, I still thoroughly enjoyed myself and I'm glad I picked this up.

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  1. This book sounds so lovely! I adore the "chatty" type of writing--it's so easy to breeze through, while still getting me invested in the story. The way you described the romance is reeeeally sweet, especially about respecting each other even when they fight. <3 A bit more convinced to read this now. Awesome review, lovely!

    - Aimee @ Aimee, Always

    1. Thanks so much :) If you do pick it up, I'd love to know what you thought ♥♥