Title: The Unexpected Everything
Author: Morgan Matson
Published: 2016 by Simon & Schuster
Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).
But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?
”I flexed my feet in my too-tight shoes and made myself stand up straight, trying to ignore the rapid-fire clicking of the cameras going off all around me.”
I LOVED this book! I have been a fan of Morgan Matson’s since I read Second Chance Summer a couple years ago. She writes such in-depth, yet realistic, young adult fiction. She delves into family dynamics and friendship struggles with such care and intensity, unlike many Contemporary Romance authors. It tends to be a more superficial, “fluff,” genre, so it is always a treat to read any of her books and not only get the fun romances and laidback summertime environments that make me happy, but also go deep into the protagonist’s life, friends, hopes, dreams, and family issues.
The Unexpected Everything is about making the most out of life when things go differently than you plan. Andie had a prime spot in an exclusive internship all planned out for her summer. Unfortunately, due to her father’s political career, she had to rethink her summer. She gets to spend more time with her friends (not always a good thing), meet a new boy, and try to understand her dad. It’s a fun story of a weird summer job (walking dogs), a nerdy love interest (homeschoolers, represent!), and an improvement of communication skills (with family and friends).
Andie and her father have a complicated relationship. Her mom died five years ago, and they both dealt with their grief in different ways. Now that they are spending a summer in the same house, they have to come to terms with their relationship and figure out how to repair the distance. This involves change on both their parts. I enjoyed seeing the growth in their relationship throughout the book. After learning how to actually communicate their thoughts, it was fun seeing how her dad interacted with her friends and his job. He went through the most character growth, with the exception of Andie, of course.
Friendships have never been more real than in this book. Usually the group of friends in young adult books consists of equal closeness friends and there is no acknowledge of tension that any group would naturally have. Two of Andie’s friends, Bri and Toby, have been best friends forever, and they befriended Andie in elementary school. Palmer joined their group of friends at the start of high school. There’s also Palmer’s boyfriend, Tom. This whole little crew has their quirks, party scenes, hang out spots, and traditions. With the “best friends forever” tension that occasionally puts Bri and Toby in a bubble, the constant worry over guys to date, the difficulty of matching up free time with different summer jobs, and the group texting conversations, all the nuances and struggles of friendships in high school are realized. There is boy drama, miscommunication, jealousy, sleepovers, and ultimately big changes. This is no flat, static, friend group. This is the reality of life: constantly moving and changing with emotions and situations. I love watching everything and seeing how this core group of friends influences Andie’s summer and her plans for her future.
Clark. Precious, precious Clark. Classic homeschooled kid who wrote a bestselling fantasy book series and graduated high school early. As Andie slowly discovers more and more about Clark through the beginning of the book, she realizes that he is completely different from all the random boys she would date briefly. She always loved the excitement of the beginning, but was never interested enough to risk going further into a relationship than three weeks. As someone who understands this emotional state completely, I enjoyed seeing her realize that Clark was different. She was too intrigued by him to stop things. They developed as a couple very naturally. The miscommunications and drama were there too, of course, but overall, I found them to be a very interesting and different couple than you see in young adult typically.
If you love dogs, if you love summer job romances, if you love high school friendships, if you love father-daughter relationship repairs, if you love classic movies, if you love old diners, if you love scavenger hunts, if you love a bit of scandal, if you love nerdy boys, if you love good books, or if you just love what I love, I would suggest reading this book. It is very fun and also very realistically deep.
(Side note, takes place in the same town/area as Since You’ve Been Gone, it even has some of those characters in it with cameo appearances.)
Content Warning: I can’t remember if there is any language, I would say probably very little, if any.
Definitely has the sexual content of a PG-13 movie, with references and steamy make-outs.