Posted in 5 Stars, Book Review

REVIEW: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson


Genre: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Formats Available: Kindle, Hardcover, PaperbackAudible

Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.

Future? A top-tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.

So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too.

Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all—working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?

MY RATING: 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚

This was my first trip into Morgan Matson territory, and I’ve been looking forward to it ever since I heard her favorably compared to Sarah Dessen, who has been my YA contemporary goddess since I was fifteen. I feel almost guilty saying this, but I think I may actually like Matson better!

When I realized how long The Unexpected Everything was–over 500 pages–I won’t lie, I was a bit nervous. I’m not a reader easily deterred by length–as I’ve mentioned before, War & Peace is one of my all-time favorites–but I just couldn’t imagine a YA contemporary standalone needed that much time to tell a story. But the good news is that the font is on the larger side, and while the first 100 pages or so move rather slowly, the pacing picks up from there. I actually read the last 400 pages in one sitting, which is a rare occurance for me these days.

Ms. Matson was able to pull off several story elements I don’t usually like, one being the quintessential large group of best friends. Normally I find it difficult to keep track of the characters, and even when I can manage to remember their names, I always come away from it feeling a little unconvinced. No one has friendships that perfect, right? But Andie’s friend group is well-developed, with even the most minor of characters having a backstory and a personality. I grew attached to and cared for them all, rather than just worrying about Andie, and I found that very refreshing.

Another YA trope I can’t stand is the aloof, distant parent who doesn’t really change over the course of the story. Ms. Matson takes that trope and turns it on its head with Andie’s father. He starts out being the stereotypical clueless parent, but over time turns into a flawed, loveable character just like the rest.

The romance element . . . sigh. I won’t spill details for fear of spoiling the story for those of who you haven’t yet read this, but suffice it to say that I had heartwarming goosebumps long before I reached the last page. I’m hoping these characters crop up again in subsequent Matson novels, because I’m dying to see what they’re up to.

If you’re looking for a novel that will remind you of summer as a teenager, this is the one to grab.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I then promptly lost said digital copy, was unable to download it again, and decided to check it out from the library. So…do with this information what you will.



Olivia Ard is the author of women's fiction trilogy The Bennett Series and Readers' Favorite 5-Star recipient 'Tis the Season. She is pursuing a second degree in sociology. She and her husband JD live in Central Alabama, where they await their miracle baby's arrival this November with joyful expectation.

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