So to make up for Wednesday’s shorter review, I decided I would give a stand alone reviews on another book from my top 5 favourite YA reads of all time – the stand alone contemporary romance Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett. It took me a day and a bit to read and is really what started me off on my contemporary romance binge over the summer as I read it in May, it was an incredible pick-me-up after my exams.
PLOT SUMMARY: The story follows a girl named Bailey (online persona “Mink”) who has spent months crushing on her online best friend “Alex” bonding over their love of classic films. She lives with her mum in California, two coasts from him until she decides to move in with her dad who just happens to live in the same coastal town as “Alex”. Scared he isn’t who he claims to be she doesn’t tell “Alex” she has moved to his hometown and decides to try work out who “Alex” is before taking the plunge and meeting in person as everything up until now has been completely anonymous.
Once she has moved she nabs a summer job at the local tourist attraction, where she meets the security guard Porter and they quickly become enemies, or friends; she is unsure. As the book progresses, very unpredictably she begins to fall for Porter and is getting close to working out who “Alex” really is, confusing her as she still doesn’t know if she should take the risk with her online best friend or with the real-life Porter?
Again, dramatics unfold and plots thicken giving this book exciting, unexpected and humorous climax’s round every corner.
WRITING STYLE: Bennett’s writing style is very accurate to that of a teenager, the sarcasm and humour really coming across in the characters dialogue. All the relationships seemed very real because of this especially the one with her dad. She wasn’t an overly wordy writer which I enjoyed because again, more accurate to that of a teenage girls thoughts. I loved the small excerpts of conversation between “Alex” and “Mink” at the beginning of each chapter, I thought it was a nice way for each chapter to start off. I also loved how she wrote Bailey, she was the typical teen when it came to being nervous and unsure of her decisions but not so self-conscious that she wasn’t witty or entertaining to read. The humour in the book is really what sticks in my brain because it was so unlike anything else I was reading at the time. Again just overall really well written.
CHARACTERS: The main protagonist, Bailey was one of the best female lead characters I have read in a while. She was endearing and the perfect balance of the witty, sarcastic banter-type and the damaged, quiet and unsure of themselves protagonist. I also loved her relationships/interactions with all the characters especially ‘Alex’, porter and her dad because they seemed genuine and not too stereotypical.
All the dialogue flowed really well and was very natural. The humour, which I have mentioned was my favourite bit, all fitted in normally and didn’t seemed forced. I genuinely laughed at all of it, which is odd for humour in books.
Porter was the kind-of stereotypical annoying and condescending on the outside/ really nice and caring guy on the inside love interest. Their interactions were some of my favourite because of the authenticity I felt coming from their conversations; it seemed very realistic, to the point where I felt I experienced it myself. I love their relationship. I definitely found myself wanting her to be with Porter and not “Alex” by the end.
I also love the small slices of “Alex” and “Mink” relationship that you see. you can understand why she is enamoured by him and you find yourself really rooting for them despite them never meeting in real life before.
RELATIONSHIPS: I have already said that I wanted Porter and Bailey to end up together. I felt this way almost instantly, and it wasn’t because I had anything against “Alex”. I just felt their relationship was much more real and natural. It might have been because I saw more of their relationship than her and “Alex’s” but I don’t know. I can’t put into words how much I loved their relationship. It was so realistic to teenage love and the way they dealt with all the issues that were thrown their way was just incredible.
I have already mentioned my love for Bailey and her Dad’s relationship, I think I felt this way because it’s very similar to my own with my dad. There is a banter between them and both know the other is teasing no matter what they are saying.
To conclude, as I kind-of spoiled in the opening paragraph this is obviously 5 out of 5 stars for me. The humour in this book just made me so giddy and the relationships between all of the characters only fuelled my love for Bennett’s writing. Similarly to all the books on my top 5 YA reads I have no problems with this novel, which is quite a challenge for me. I apologise if I have been a little vague in sections as it has been a couple of months since I last read it, but I hope this review was helpful for you. I seriously recommend you go and pick up this book if you can, especially over this time of year as it really got me in the summer mood.
I have really enjoyed reading Bennett and I hope to read more from her soon. (Her links below)
Thanks and happy reading,
My links :
Jenn Bennett Links:
Disclaimer: All views and opinions are my own and I am not being paid to say anything. Also no links are affiliated.