Published by Simon & Schuster Children's on May 5th 2016
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?
The Unexpected Everything is a perfect summer read. It’s a good 500 pages long but never drags, in my opinion. The story takes place over a summer filled with fun, drama, and a perfectclimate for character development.
Andie prefers to be as in control as possible by keeping herself to a tight plan. Her original plan for the summer is to attend a ‘pre-pre-med school’, but this plan falls apart at the last minute when her father’s political career is hit by a scandal that has a significant knock on effect on her. So she gets a last minute job as a dog walker to try and have something to show for her summer activities on her CV.
As a total dog lover this aspect of the book is what got me to pick it up in the first place. Just look at all those cute dogs on the front cover!! How could I have put it back on the shop shelf when it promised cute dogs and summer fun in abundance?
The Unexpected Everything is much more about human relationships than dog and human ones, mind you. The dogs are mostly cute background pieces in the scenes they appear in, but it was still a nice touch to have them there. I spend hours and hours walking my dog every week while I listen to my audiobooks and songs on my iPod. I liked having this in common with Andie.
Of course, the most important question to ask about any book involving animals is whether they all live (at least, that’s the most important question I have). So, View Spoiler »I can happily say that, while it does get a bit tense on this front at one point, all the dogs live!!! « Hide Spoiler
The summer romance in this book is quite sweet. I really enjoyed reading about Andie because she is confidant and in control. The control aspect is almost to a fault, however. Which is something she has to learn to loosen up about over the course of the story. Part of this loosening up is invigorated by the her changing perspective on what she looks for in romantic relationships.
Andie is used to short term relationships where she can have fun and enjoy being with someone without having to get too deeply involved with them. Short term relationships works perfectly in line with her lifestyle at the time because she doesn’t have to let these boys past her facade and they don’t derail any of her plans. But with Clark, one of her dog walking clients (dog owner, not dog), she finds herself wishing the relationship didn’t have to end and shows more of her true self than she ever planned to.
Clark is a nice choice of love interest. He loves pop culture, he’s a writer (we even get excerpts of his writing throughout the book) and he’s a genuinely kind person. Basically, he’s pretty cool and a big help in encouraging Andie to loosen up and enjoy what her summer has to offer.
Whilst Clark is a cool love interest and the developing relationship between Andie and Clark is fun to read about, it was the relationship between Andie and her dad that stole the show. Usually her dad is far too busy to spend quality time with her but this summer he is forced to stop working while his office is investigated for misuse of funds.
I loved how Andie and her dad managed to reignite their relationship. They have so much fun together over the summer. They go from hardly noticing each other, like ships passing in the night, to bonding over John Wayne films and racing around their town on adventures. It was great to read about a positive parent-child relationship, utterly heartwarming.
That Summer Feeling
A lot of the proper conflicts in this story are concentrated at the start and the end of the novel. The middle, however, is for the most part a comfortable drift through Andie and her friend’s summer adventures, including pool parties, epic scavenger hunts and banterous group text chats.
Just being able to hang out with these characters was enough to keep me avidly glued to the pages. Reading this book is as addictive as eating a packet of giant Milkybar chocolate buttons. I kept reading during every spare moment I could find.
I found the fun middle parts of the story, where readers can just hang out, far more enjoyable than the conflicts. But the conflicts were essential to highlighting just how good those summer moments were. All summers, after all, have a beginning and an end. But what all the characters have to learn is that you don’t have to end it as the same person you were at the beginning.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for a chilled out summer read, with plenty of character interactions that will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling. There’s plenty to enjoy here.