Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Goodreads: ★★★★ 1/2
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?
I highly anticipated the release of Morgan Matson’s new book The Unexpected Everything, and made sure to read it as soon as I could. Matson is the queen of the young adult summer story, and this year she took it to the next level with a 500+ page book. The Unexpected Everything follows teenager Andie. She is the daughter of a congressman, and the book opens with her dad being caught in the middle of a political scandal. Andie is a planner, and at first she isn’t bothered by the scandal because she has arrangements to attend a summer program away from home. Of course, her plans unexpectedly change and she is forced to stay at home all summer with her dad and adjust her entire life in the process.
It took me quite a while to get into The Unexpected Everything. I found the writing to be quite clunky, as the dialogue was broken up by large chunks of text. However, once I got into the groove of the story, I began to enjoy it much more. While I wasn’t sure how I felt about the story for much of the book, everything comes together in the last 100-150 pages, and I was blown away with how Matson crafted Andie’s summer.
What I really love about this book is how Matson is able to realistically capture the teenage experience. The emotions are really well written, and the events play out as they would in reality even though things are played up in the book for the entertainment value. For example, Andie has a great group of friends and spends nearly all of her time with them. While inseparable at the beginning of the book, this friend group must learn to deal with the unexpected events life throws at you. I admired how Matson chose to deal with these events, and I think the book is very relatable both for the young adult audience, but older readers as well.
Moreover, there were also some great additions to The Unexpected Everything that I really loved. My favorite scene in the novel is an epic scavenger hunt that Andie competes in with her friends. I love a good competition, and having one in the book was a lot of fun. Not only did it focus on the game, but it provided an opportunity for character development. Similarly, if you are a dog lover you are really going to enjoy this book! Andie ends up finding a summer job as a dog walker, and we get to go along on some of her walks and other dog-filled adventures. The dog element was such an added bonus!
Finally, my favorite part of any Morgan Matson book is the character development. The Unexpected Everything is light and fun, while still being emotionally charged. For instance, Andie’s mother died of cancer five years ago, and Andie and her father have had a strained relationship ever since. I love how the father-daughter relationship played a role in the novel. Of course, I also really enjoyed the romance that played out as well. Andie meets a boy named Clark while dog-walking, and I think their relationship was realistic and super cute at the same time.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed The Unexpected Everything, and highly recommend you picking it up if you are looking for the perfect summer read. This book truly did make me laugh and make me cry, and I know it will be one I reread again in the future. I plan on completing my read of all of Morgan Matson’s work by the end of the summer with Second Chance Summer, her only book I’ve yet to read.
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