Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Jenn Bennet Alex Aproximately
Jenn Bennet Alex Approximately

Title: Alex, Approximately  
Author: Jenn Bennett 
Series: Stand-alone 
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, YA  
Publication date: April 4, 2017 
Rating: ★★★★½ 

Bailey “Mink” Rydell has met the boy of her dreams. They share a love of films and talk all day – Alex is perfect. Well, apart from the fact that they’ve never actually met… and neither of them knows the other’s real name. When Bailey moves to California to live with her dad, who happens to live in the same town as Alex, she decides to use her sleuthing skills to find him. But tracking someone down based on online conversations alone proves harder than Bailey thought, and with her irritating but charismatic colleague Porter Roth distracting her at every turn, will she ever get to meet the mysterious Alex?

The only thing that could have possibly made this book better is me reading it in summer, preferably on a sunny beach in California. Alex, Approximately gives off tons of summer vibes. It’s feel-good, it’s romantic and it’s absolutely adorable. From the very first sentence the characters had me hooked and I knew right away that they would not disappoint me. I’m so glad I decided to give this book a chance. If you need some cheering up, this one will do it. Ah, I might have fallen a little bit in love myself. I blame the setting.

The story takes place in Coronado Cove, California. West-Coast beaches (because really, east-coast beaches are trash – just ask Alex), sunny days, small-town life and surfing. Life does not get much better than this. Except of course when there are also gorgeous surf boys around who may or may not have the potential to go professional. And are nice. And sweet. And the perfect amount of cocky… Are you feeling the ‘feels’ yet?

Before Bailey Rydell moved to California to live with her dad, she met a guy online that might just be a little bit more than ‘a friend’. Like her, Alex is a classic film fanatic and they easily connected on an online movie platform. Their personalities instantly clicked and they became buddies that watched movies together on a regular basis and talked almost every night. Bailey has always known that Alex lives in the same town as her dad, but when she finally moves to Coronado Cove, she doesn’t tell Alex about it. Before she does, she wants to use the little clues he gave her in their conversations to find out who he is in real life. That’s her plan for the summer. And for a while everything goes according to plan, but then life interferes…

Meeting real-life Alex could be great, but it could also be on big awkward disappointment. Which is why I'm not really sure if I want to know anything more about him.

Bailey meets Porter Roth at her new summer job. They don’t start off well. Porter is loud, confident and intimidating, the exact opposite of the person Bailey has been the last couple of years. She hates that he tries to invade her personal space and tries to pull her out of her comfort zone. But the better she gets to know him, the more she learns that maybe he’s not so bad after all. And that maybe it’s time she got pulled out of her shell. Soon it becomes clear that the two of them make the perfect team.

I absolutely loved their chemistry. I also loved their characters. Both have a considerable past weighing on their shoulders, but it doesn’t stop them from living their lives. Bailey and Porter felt like two very sweet, funny, regular people who fell in love and helped each other deal with their traumas. They matched really well and I appreciated the adult manner in which their relationship was handled. By which I mean that it felt completely realistic. Sex is not some forbidden taboo. Everything felt very normal, just as it should be. So did every character. 

I’d say it was all so very sweet and swoon-worthy, and believe me - it was, but it was never too cheesy. Instead I found it honest and truthful. The characters were well developed and in between all the ridiculous (but adorable) banter there was more than enough depth to be found. There were beautiful friendships, highly enjoyable side characters and on-point descriptions. This really was YA romance at its best. It’s not ground-breaking, nor is it the most original story in history, but I’d definitely recommend it to everyone in need of a cute read.


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