Alex, Approximately

30312700First Lines: He could be any of these people.  After all, I don’t know what Alex looks like.  I don’t even know his real name.

Hello everyone!  I hope you and your mamas had a great Mother’s Day weekend!  This girl finally managed to finish the monstrous nonfiction book she was reading and decided it was definitely time to go YA again.  She is also referring to herself in the 3rd person.  Please excuse this; it has been a very trying few weeks.  (Less than 2 weeks of school left and then it’s all summer reading!)

Bailey Rydell loves classic movies with all her heart, and what could be better than finding a like-minded person to share that love with?  Bailey has been talking to a stranger named Alex online for months, gushing over the classics.  When Bailey moves across the country to live with her dad in what is coincidentally Alex’s hometown, she’s racked with doubts.  What if Alex isn’t as amazing in person as he is online?  What if he’s actually a creep?  So she keeps her move a secret and begins life in her new home.  But life would be so much easier if she wasn’t always heckled by Porter Roth, the security guard at her new museum job.  He may be her archenemy, but Bailey’s going to see how fine the line is between hatred, love, and whatever’s happening between her and Porter.  As the summer goes by, Bailey must decide between her online crush and the one forming in real life.  This decision is simpler and more complicated than she knows, because Porter is Alex…approximately.

This was adorable! I really enjoyed it from start to finish!

Bailey is a bit different from a lot of protagonists. She deems herself the “Artful Dodger” (a reference to Charles Dickens if you caught that) because of her avoidance of fights, awkward conversations, and general avoidance of difficult moments. And she has this trait basically the whole book. A lot of protagonists who say this aren’t actually avoiders. But Bailey is. And I enjoyed this for two reasons: A) as a fellow dodger, it was so awesome to read about someone else who is uncomfortable in certain situations and just think You get it! and B) it shows the downside of being a dodger in so many different ways. And, as someone who tends to be a dodger, sometimes I need this reminder myself.  It was just great to see someone with what basically amounts to introversion actually be an introvert.

The plot was incredibly interesting. Bailey moves across the country to live with her dad, who is geeky but actually a good parent (shocking for a YA novel). She meets Porter, a security guard at her new job and deems him her new archenemy…until she gets to know him a little better. (Very When Harry Met Sally, to stick with the theme of classic movies.) Mostly it’s about her life in this new town, but it’s interesting. She’s dealing with stuff with herself, with friendships, and with her family. So there was never a lack of things going on.

The writing is great as well. I felt like I was invested enough in the story to constantly stick with it as well as the fact that the story was well-explained. What I mean by that is there are tons of references to old movies from the 40s and 50s. The plots of these were explained in a way to allow us to see the parallels between the movies and the plot of this book. I could easily follow along with who all the characters were, where everything was, and what was going on. There’s humor in the story and the descriptions are quite good as well. Oh, and no info-dumps! It teases things out, even when you pretty much know what’s going to happen. It was fun to read.

This story also manages to cover a series of pretty serious topics, but in a classy way.  I mean, things from more (seemingly) mild problems like trust issues and friendships to more difficult ones that I really don’t want to spoil.  They were all covered with respect and in a way that didn’t make you feel uncomfortable in the slightest.  I’m actually pretty surprised by how subtle it all was because these were issues that characters dealt with daily rather than just being awkward teaching moments.

This was just so much fun to read.  Perfect for your summer.  But be warned (and I say this from personal experience and the many reviews of this I’ve seen), you’ll have a hard time putting it down.

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