All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

on April 12, 2017

Alex, Approximately
Jenn Bennett
Simon & Schuster
2017, 388p
Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster AUS

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

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 California to live with her dad, who happens to live in the same town as Alex, she decides to use her sleuthing skills to find him. But tracking someone down based on online conversations alone proves harder than Bailey thought, and with her irritating but charismatic colleague Porter Roth distracting her at every turn, will she ever get to meet the mysterious Alex?

This book was freaking adorable.

I could totally relate to Bailey because I am also the type of person that would want to go in to meeting someone I’d talked to online armed with knowledge. Bailey used to live with her mother but when she moves to California to live with her dad, she’s armed with plenty of information about her online friend ‘Alex’ so that hopefully she can track him down and just check him out in person before they meet properly. She knows that he works for a family business and a few other things but it isn’t until she attempts to pin down precisely where that is that she realises it’s not going to be as easy as she thinks.

Bailey calls herself the ‘Artful Dodger’ – she avoids conflict and confrontation almost obsessively. She has a reason perhaps, for being this way. And to be honest, it’s probably about the best reason there ever could be for someone fearing confrontation. She could just tell Alex, whom she has a real connection with online, that she’s moved to California. He wants to meet her, he’s asked her many times. But what if the online groove doesn’t translate to the offline? What if it’s awkward and weird? Better that she scope things out first….if ‘Alex’ isn’t who he claims to be or if things look strange, then he never need know she moved to California.

Distracting Bailey from her task of tracking down Alex without him knowing about it, is Porter Roth, her gorgeous but incredibly annoying colleague at her new summer job. Porter definitely gets Bailey’s back up, so much so that she finds herself lashing out when normally she’d stay quiet. Despite the fact that he sometimes infuriates her, she also finds him very intriguing…and the more she gets to know Porter and spend time with him, the less she thinks about Alex, the less they talk online.

Oh, Porter. I have a bit of a crush on Porter – ok, it’s quite a large crush. A surfer good enough to go pro who works two jobs, who put his own life at risk in a terrifying situation to save someone else…..what’s not to love? Okay he can be a bit of a ass at times, he’s a teenage boy. They do that. The thing about Porter is that he provokes a response in Bailey, be it a positive one or a negative one and I’m not sure many people have been able to do that for a few years. She seems to have been drifting, not really having any real close friends due to moving schools several times for different reasons. Alex is probably the closest thing she has to a real friend but their interactions are online, mostly about the classic films they both love although there are more personal things sprinkled in there. They’ve never confided their biggest secrets to each other though…..

I loved Porter and Bailey together. All of their interactions made me squishy inside, be they good or some of the ones that are a bit angry or painful. The way in which they click is obvious in so many ways – in fact far more ways than Porter and Bailey at first realise especially Bailey. She does seem to kind of put Porter in a box after their first interaction or two that seems to prevent her from ever considering him as an option despite several things that fit right away – he’s the right age and he also works two jobs.

The reader doesn’t really get to see Bailey’s life in New Jersey and Washington DC before she moves to California but it seems like the move really does help her grow as a person and shake off perhaps the lasting effects of a trauma she experienced some years ago. She makes a good close friend in Grace, a girl she works with who also goes to the school that Bailey will be starting at in the fall. She meets Porter and becomes friends with him with the whole ‘something more’ hanging over them. She has a great relationship with her dad which read as so genuine and real and again the reader doesn’t see her relationship with her mother prior to her move but it seems it’s not great afterwards. It seems as though in California, Bailey has found a place where she fits in. A home.

When I was reading this book, my husband stopped me and said, “You’re really loving that, aren’t you?” and I said yes, but how did he know? Apparently he’d been watching me and I had this {probably} super dopey smile on my face all the time because there are just so many super cute moments. Porter and Bailey have this amazing back and forth chemistry where they have some really feisty, argumentative type interactions interspersed with some really sweet (or sexy) ones. The whole thing is just super feel good adorable and I loved it a lot.

*Note to self: Find the old movies mentioned in this book and watch them.

**Note to self: Buy everything else that Jenn Bennett has ever written.

9/10

Book #68 of 2017

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