Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Coming of Age
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenges: #ContRom2017, #NGEW2017
I am just trying to get a handle on all my emotions. I enjoyed this book so much, I am worried that I won't be able to properly explain my affection for it.
Bailey, aka @Mink, had been fostering an online relationship with @Alex for several months, when the decision was made for her to live with her father, in California, in the same town as Alex. Alex had been wanting to meet Bailey in real life, however, she was hesitant to reveal that they were now sort of neighbors. So, she gathered up all the clues from their online correspondence, and set out to find Alex, but in her search to find Alex, she found her first love, a best friend, peace with "the incident", and herself.
I love contemporaries, and this is the stuff that great YA contemporaries are made of. Alex, Approximately had it all for me.
- A great heroine: Bailey won my heart immediately, with her "artful dodger" approach to life, her voice, and all her quirks. I felt as though I had found a kindred spirit in her. There were times when I admired how sure of herself she was, like with her throwback fashion sense, but then she still hid parts of herself. She grows so much in this book. She begins to come to terms with the tragic incident, she begins to trust others, and she begins to make attachments. I love seeing character growth, and Bailey grew and changed so much. I found her delightful at the beginning of this story, but at the end, I loved her.
- A great hero: Bailey referred to it as "damaged charm", but seriously! Porter was fantastic. He was all swag and posturing in the beginning, but he was quick to let us in. Every time I thought I had Porter figured out, Bennett would pull the curtain back further, and show us another part of him. I found him to be the most complex character in the book, and I loved every second of getting to know him.
- The romance: I was on this ship from page one. The online banter was cute and all, but when these two were physically together -- I just couldn't get enough of them. There were so many times when I thought Bennett captured that feeling of blossoming first love so well. So many honest moments too. Bailey was a young woman, and she was exploring her feelings and her desires, and Bennett showed all those sides. I kind of loved that she put those parts of Bailey's sexuality out there, because I feel like girls are encouraged to stifle their natural desires and to keep them secret. She also had some very open discussions between Porter and Bailey regarding sex, their experience, and being safe. That's something that should be discussed between partners and showing it this way, again, illustrated that it was par for the course, and it's not shameful or something to be avoided. *Applause, applause* for that.
- This story was so flipping cute! Some reviewers are saying they felt the story was predictable. I don't think it was a secret who Alex was. It was more about being an observer to the journey of the characters, and I loved watching it all play out. I swear, the story was so cute, I may have squealed a few times.
- Awesome adult characters: Bailey's dad, Wanda, Porter's family, and Pangborn. There were so many adults, who were an important part of this story, and Bennett made them pretty great. Not perfect, but perfect for the role that they served.
- The movie quotes: The movie quotes selected at the end of each chapter were perfectly curated. They either summed up or gave us a peek and ahead, and I found their incorporation brilliant given the MCs love of film.
I wish this ARC hadn't mentioned about 10,000 times not to quote the ARC, because this book is so quotable. I swear, I have like 100 highlights on my DRC. I hope to tag them all on GoodReads once the books is published, because there are just too many beautiful words that must be shared. I will share one quote, because it was from a movie, so I can.
I will be adding this book to my favorites shelf, because it is just a magnificent example of great YA. I experienced so many emotions while reading Alex, Approximately, but most of all, I experience this sort of blissful happiness, that I hope will carry me through this week.
To sum it up:
**I would like to thank Edelweiss and the publisher for the advanced copy of this book