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? – Goodreads
The Unexpected Everything is Morgan Matson’s fourth book, and it is her star. My ARC is littered in highlighted marks of passages and even a few wet marks from tears. Because here’s the thing, Matson writes well. She is one of the masters of contemporary literature for a reason and Unexpected Everything is the book you hold up to the light to remind people that.
The Unexpected Everything is the story of Andie, a girl after my own heart. She has diet coke running through her veins and eats a small variety of very bland foods to the point when my friend read this book there was a passage that made her go “Oh. Hello Ashley.” Andie is methodical and has a list to make her life orderly and easy. Of course her mother dying at a young age wasn’t expected and losing out on an internship was also unexpected. Instead of getting that perfect internship for her college applications she’s instead walking dogs.
Morgan makes it work, while I felt sad for Andie, the growth she had throughout this book was heartbreaking and amazing all at the same time. While she has her friends for the summer she’s a dog walker, which was never on her plan. However, that is another thing that friendships and family. While I could easily focus on the romantic relationship Andie has throughout the book, the relationship she has with her friends and father was of almost more importance to me.
Since her mother’s death, Andie’s father hasn’t been around. He was grieving in his own way and completely dropped the father ball and at page 235, Andie calls him out at it. “I haven’t had a father in five years.” She dropped that ball on him and then, like adults, they figure it out. Their relationship isn’t perfect. It’s messy and rough around the edges but I adored it. It reminded me how much I love parents in YA literature and how I think there needs to be more of it in YA literature.
Another thing that Matson does well is write friendships. Andie has a group of friends who have nothing in common, but also have everything in common. It’s not a perfect group and there are painful friend moments in which I cry. Because if I have learned anything growing up, friendship break ups are often harder than romantic breakups and Matson wrote about it so real that my heart went out to these characters, multiple times. I wanted to hold them and make them laugh.
“What are you saying?” I asked, my voice coming out unsteady. “That we’re all just done? Friendship over?”
She took a long drink and then set her cup back down. “I don’t know.” –pg 439, ARC
Of course, Matson knows how to write romance. There is just something swoony about her romance, and Clark is exactly what Andie needed in her life. She didn’t even know she needed him. Clark pushes her, he makes her summer better, he has his own background story, he gets along with her friends. He made me have heart eyes.
It’s you — of course it is. There you are. –pg 263, ARC
Morgan Matson is easily one of my favorite contemporary authors, hands down, no questions asked. That being said, I worried about The Unexpected Everything, because what if I didn’t love it? Those fears were unfounded, because not only did I love it. I cried and I rarely cry at books. This book had everything I wanted and more. It really was the unexpected everything.
Everyone does best of the best lists on blogs. It is one of my highlights of blogs because I love seeing what hit books I missed during the year. Or what books someone loved and I loathed (because this happens). In no particular order here are my favorite 10 books of the year:
- Anything by Oliver Jeffers. I read everything and anything by him and enjoyed it. While not everything was five stars, most was and if anything I would give it more than five stars if possible. From The Hueys to Once Upon the Alphabet you can not go wrong with Jeffers.
- On The Fence and Split Second by Kasie West. Although I am friends with West, this does not effect my rating on her books. I love her books and the fact that On the Fence made me cry says something. Mostly that she’ll mock me about it. But really, West gets that part of being a teenager that no one talks about and isn’t always fair. But also the sweet moments, the little moments, the falling in love moments.
- Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour. I’m about 99.9% sure that I have flailed about this book to everyone this year. It was sweet and it’s just a really nice love story. It’s heart breaking and real and I wanted to live in this novel. Even talking about it now, is making me want to re-read it.
- Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. This is one of the few books I truly devoured this year. I loved the emphasis on friendship and making people go outside of what makes them comfortable. And yes, this is coming from me. A very predictable person. But I love Matson’s writing and that was affirmed in this book.
- Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler. Do I really need to flail about this book? You all know how much I love it. Read it. Cry. Come talk to me so we can flail together.
- Landline by Rainbow Rowell While this was far more of an adult book and I didn’t relate to it on the level that I related to Fangirl I still loved and adored Landline. I get emotions reading Rowell’s writing that I don’t get from everyone else.
- Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. Flawed, real girls that you related to? Yes please. I adored this book. Hearts in my eyes.
- Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. We all waited so long for this book and it did not disappoint me. The way I related to Isla is just a tad embarrassing.
- The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand. I’m still crying right? The tears have they stopped? Oh this book. It was so. so. so. good.
What have you read and loved this year?
The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?
Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go Skinny Dipping? Um… – Goodreads
4.5 rounding up to 5.
What do you do when you are only know as someone’s best friend? That is Emily’s life. She is not known as someone’s boyfriend, but someone’s best friend. Which is an awesome twist on usual trend of “only known as someone’s girlfriend and we’ve broken up. HOW SHALL MY LIFE GO ON.” Since You’ve Been Gone opens when Emily wonders where Sloane went. Sloane disappeared in the middle of the night and Emily is waiting for her to come back. While waiting for her to come back, Emily receives a letter in the mail from Sloane full of things she should do.
Emily is convinced if she completes this crazy list, Sloane will come back. She wants her BFF back. But this book is more than that. This book is full of growth and what it means to be yourself, your true self, when your daredevil of a best friend isn’t pushing you into things. As much as this book is nothing like my relationship with my BFF. Or any of my close friends. I don’t hang with daredevils. I hang with people who push me out of my comfort zones, but they also respect when they look at my face and see the panic attack coming.
Emily spends the entire book growing, and it is awesome to see. She gains a new group of friends: Dawn, Frank, Matthew. Three people who do the crazy things with her, but also call her on things when she needs it. Which is what friends do. Matson, was also able to have the friendships grow organically. Nothing felt forced or caused me great pain while reading. I also, always appreciate a Mumford and Sons reference. (Shocking. I know.)
I devoured this book in about a day. The only reason it took me that long was the fact I had to go to work for 9 hours. Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone is strong. And I cannot wait to see what is from her next if it makes me feel anything how Since You’ve Been Gone made me feel, it will be an amazing book.