The Unexpected Everything, by Morgan Matson
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Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Length: 519 pages
Times Read: 2
Rating: Two Dog Walkin’ Thumbs Up
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?
What I Liked: I’ve been a longtime fan of Morgan Matson, and this is her best yet. Her books are always long (this one clocks in at over 500 pages), but they’re easy to fly through. This is my second time reading it, and I found it just as compelling as the first. The character arcs, especially Andie’s (our main character), are spot-on.
Andie didn’t anticipate spending her summer as a dog-walker, but when her internship falls though after a scandal that her politician father was involved in, she takes what she can get. Enter Clark.
Bad at walking dogs, easy on the eyes
Andie meets Clark on the job, because he is spectacularly bad at walking Bertie (Sidenote: one of my pugs is named Cubert, called Bertie for short). Despite initial attraction and a couple of adorable awkward conversations, their first date does not go well. I actually found this to be a nice change of pace from many contemporary novels out there, where first dates are filled with fireworks and butterflies.
But when Andie gets a call later that night that Bertie has eaten a ton of chocolate and is really sick, she’s there.
“Why would literal poison be so delicious?”-Bertie, probably
Andie and Clark spend the night keeping watch over the dog, and end up talking the whole time. It goes WAY better than their date did, and by the time Andie leaves in the morning, she’s already hooked.
It’s hard for Andie to open up to people, aside from her three best friends (more on them in a minute), because she’s super Type-A. Growing up in the public eye as the daughter of a politician has taught her to be controlled and in charge all the time.
Once Andie starts to trust and open up to Clark more, nothing but good happens in their relationship. They’re able to help each other through some pretty tough stuff–Andie as she continues to grieve for her mother who died when she was young, and Clark who’s actually a teenage best-selling fantasy author with a bad case of writer’s block.
Aside from the romance, one of the things Morgan Matson does best is her complicated, messy, real friendships. Andie’s got a group of girls who really have her back. They look out for each other, they have group scavenger hunts, and totally support one another. They also do things like give each other challenges. The big one in this book was Palmer challenging Toby to speak only in emojis while texting for the entire summer.
And then everything ended happily ever after, forever and ever, amen.
Morgan Matson would never let us get away that easily. We have breakups, both relationship and friendship, and they are ROUGH. Not everyone gets back together. Some friendships are forever fractured. It’s realistic, and it happened to me more than once in high school, but man is that tough to read about.
What I Didn’t: Listen, I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads, so I’m going to nitpick here, but it bugged me that two friends stopped being friends because of a guy. Take this with a grain of salt though, because almost the exact same situation in the book happened with a friend and me in high school, and we were never the same friends again. It’s easy to say girls should rise above letting a guy come between them, but almost impossible to do. So reading about this hit a little too close for me, and most definitely influenced my experience with it.
Final Thoughts: If you like contemporaries, especially set in the summer, read this one. And then read all of Morgan Matson’s backlist. They’re always long, they’re always painful, but they’re always worth it.
Favorite Quotes: “Clearly, the downside of having a theoretical crush on someone you knew nothing about was the crashing realization that you actually knew nothing about them.”
“Wait, I’m sorry, but how do you not read books? Like-what do you do on planes?”
“The idea that you could rethink the thing you’d always thought you wanted and change your plan-it was almost a revolutionary concept.”