/trigger warning: Gun violence, addiction, ptsd/
Overall: 4.75/5 Stars
Plot and Themes: 5/5
Awesomeness Factor: 5/5
Review in a Nutshell: Alex, Approximately is a great twist on a fantastic movie, with diverse characters, great writing, and many funny and entertaining moments.
“Sometimes you have to endure painful things to realize that you’re a whole lot stronger than you think.”
Alex, Approximately is a fun YA contemporary inspired by You’ve Got Mail, following Bailey Rydell. When Bailey moves across the country to California, to the same town that her online friend Alex also lives in, she’s too afraid to tell him. Instead, she spends the summer at a new job, getting used to her new hometown, and meeting new people, including Porter, her extremely-frustrating-yet-hot coworker. As the summer goes on Bailey must decide whether to finally tell the truth to Alex or to stay in her bubble with Porter.
This book takes place in a Southern Californian beach town, and I will say they really insulted the East Coast a lot in this book. But whatever, it was such a fun book that I’ll forgive it. The writing was great, with an awesome sense of humor that made it all the more enjoyable. While there isn’t a crazy amount that happens in this book plot-wise, there’s enough that it keeps you hooked and quickly turning the pages.
There are some heavier themes in this book – addiction, death, PTSD, gun violence – but for the most part, they were handled really well. I loved how Jenn Bennet handled Bailey’s history with gun violence, and her and her mother’s different ways of coping with it. I didn’t love, however, how the addiction plot line was portrayed. Porter’s best friend Davy is an addict, which started after he severely hurt his leg in a surfing incident, and I wish at least one character had offered to try and help him instead of vilifying him. I also wish we learned more about him and his story since there is clearly a lot to unpack.
Not counting Davy, I loved all of the other characters and their stories. They were all well-developed and interesting characters. Bailey is a film geek, who I admit is a little pretentious at times but is also 100% relatable. She describes herself as an “evader” and I don’t think I’ve ever related to something more. Porter is the asshole-jock-but-secretly-nerdy guy, and I absolutely loved him. Also, the side-characters were equally fantastic, like Grace (who is a boss), Porter’s family, and Bailey’s dad. And the cast of characters was very diverse, which is a big YAY! in my book.
Pros- Adorable romance, relatable characters
Cons- Didn’t like how the addiction plotline was handled, and I will fight anyone who insults East Coast beaches
Alex, Approximately is an adorable beach read with just enough hints of You’ve Got Mail to make me smile, but also was completely original and fun.