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Alex, Approximately Hardcover – April 4, 2017
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"Uncommonly nuanced." (★Booklist, starred review)
"An irresistible tribute to classic screwball-comedy romances that captures the 'delicious whirling, twirling, buzzing' of falling in love." (★Kirkus, starred review)
"A strong addition to romance collections." (School Library Journal)
"Sympathetic characters and plenty of drama." (Publishers Weekly)
You’ve Got Mail gets a teenaged spin in this story of Bailey, classic film buff and product of divorce, who moves across the country to live in a California surfing town with her dad. Bailey’s been swapping movie facts with online pal Alex, a boy who happens to live in that same California town. Alex, though, still thinks she lives on the East Coast, and doesn’t know her real name—Bailey’s mom is a high-powered divorce attorney, and Bailey is all too familiar with the value of privacy. A summer job at a local museum has Bailey finding a new best friend in spunky, British Grace, and a new nemesis in Porter, a security guard and member of a legendary—and plagued by tragedy—surfer family. It’s not long before Bailey and Porter’s verbal sparring turns into something more, and while it becomes clear to the reader that Porter is Alex, neither he nor Bailey have any idea. Strong character development makes this a must form romancereaders: bottled-up Bailey has plenty of secrets in her past, and Porter’s family dynamics, plus his Hawaiian background and disintegrating friendship with a troubled fellow surfer, give him depth. There are a lot of different, sometimes dramatic, threads here, but the plot never feels overcrowded. Movie quotes kick off each chapter, and the California backdrop is an ideal setting for this uncommonly nuanced summer romance. — Maggie Reagan (Booklist, STARRED REVIEW February 15, 2017)
A movie-obsessed teen moves to her dad's beach town and unexpectedly falls for an edgy surfer rather than the "film-buff soul mate" she was expecting to meet. The summer before senior year, 17-year-old Bailey Rydell moves from D.C. to her father's small beach town on the Central California coast. The one perk of moving is that "Alex," her favorite chat-mate on a classic-film fan forum, lives there too, and she plans to surprise him—not that they know one another's real names (she goes by "Mink" online). Her first day working at a mansion-cum-museum, introverted Bailey, a white girl who sports platinum-blonde Lana Turner pin curls, meets Porter Roth, a "ridiculously good-looking" but cocky 18-year-old security guard from a legendary local surfing family. Porter, who's Hapa (half Polynesian/Chinese, half white), has a unique way of exasperating Bailey. As she futilely attempts to find Alex via chat-transcript clues, readers will figure out his identity long before she does. There's definitely a The Shop Around the Corner buildup to the romantic chemistry, but in addition to their charming banter and online-quiz exchanges, Bailey and Porter also tackle substantive issues such as anxiety, PTSD, drug abuse, cheating, and sexual experience. Bennett creates an authentically multicultural ensemble, from Bailey's Nigerian-by-way-of-London new bestie, Grace, to her dad's Mexican-American girlfriend and Porter's references to Hawaiian cultural beliefs. An irresistible tribute to classic screwball-comedy romances that captures the "delicious whirling, twirling, buzzing" of falling in love. (Fiction. 14-18) (Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW 3/1/17)
A year after her mother divorces to marry a lawyer, Bailey Rydell decides to leave Washington, D.C., to live with her father in California. One of her primary motives for going is to track down Alex, a boy she met online but has never seen in person. Like Bailey, Alex loves old films and, coincidentally enough, he lives in her father’s neighborhood. But after Bailey settles in and starts a job at a quirky local museum, her mission to find her “film-buff soul mate” is sidelined as she becomes absorbed in a love-hate relationship with Porter, her arrogant, surfer coworker. As might be expected, Bailey’s and Porter’s fiery retorts soon kindle passion, and the two start dating despite Bailey’s guilt about keeping him a secret from her online pal. In what’s essentially a YA version of You’ve Got Mail, Bennett’s (The Anatomical Shape of a Heart) contemporary romance offers sympathetic characters and plenty of drama. Although the climax is forced and predictable, the protagonists’ backstories shed light on their respective anxieties, adding depth to their conflicts. Ages 14–up. (Publishers Weekly February 13, 2016)
Mink and Alex share a love of classic movies via an online group for film fanatics. Seventeen-year-old Bailey and eighteen-year-old Porter share a deep animosity for each other as coworkers at the Cove, a kitschy museum in Coronado Cove, California. Unbeknownst to them, Mink is Bailey, Alex is Porter, and the makings of romantic comedy are put into play. Certain revelations move Bailey and Porter’s enmity to sardonic banter to flirtatious teasing and eventfully to some hot sex in the back of surfer boy Porter’s van; however, they both feel somewhat horrible about “cheating” on their online maybe-more-than-platonic friends. A sexier, modern version of You’ve Got Mail and The Shop Around the Corner, this will hit romcom fans right in the sweet spot, and the chemistry between Porter/Alex and Mink/ Bailey manages both a spirited charm and a lusty spark. Narrator Bailey is bold, witty, and humorously self-deprecating, while Porter is the bro with the heart of gold. Two subplots and a few too many tropes of the romance genre threaten to send the story off the rails, but the focus mostly stays on Bailey and Porter, who carry the day like true stars—the heroes and heroines of their beloved movies would be proud. (BCCB March 2017)
An irresistible tribute to classic screwball-comedy romances that captures the "delicious whirling, twirling, buzzing" of falling in love. (Kirkus, Starred Review)
About the Author
Jenn Bennett is an award-winning author of the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series (KINDLING THE MOON), the Roaring Twenties romance series (BITTER SPIRITS), and the young adult contemporary romances THE ANATOMICAL SHAPE OF A HEART (aka NIGHT OWLS in the U.K.) and ALEX, APPROXIMATELY. Her books have earned starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, won the Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA® Award, received two Reviewers' Choice awards and a Seal of Excellence from RT Book Reviews, and been included on Publishers Weekly Best Books annual list. She lives near Atlanta with one husband and two pugs.
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Top Customer Reviews
Bailey Rydell doesn’t do direct. She isn’t called the Artful Dodger for nothing. So when she decides to move across the country to live with her dad in California, she can’t quite get around to telling Alex, her online friend-but-maybe-more.
It doesn’t matter that Alex lives in the same town as her dad. Or that he wants her to come out and meet him. She just isn’t willing to take that big of a risk on someone whose real name she isn’t even sure she knows.
But if she can find out who he is without him knowing about her, and he’s everything she thought he was and hoped he would be, then maybe she’ll be willing to take a chance and reveal her identity. She just needs to find him.
Which turns out to be not quite as easy as she thought it would be, given what she already knows about Alex. Although the very distracting, maddening, gorgeous, Porter Roth might be to blame for her lack of progress. And for her waning interest in finding Alex at all.
Jenn Bennett makes it so easy to fall in love with her novel. From the writing that immediately draws you into the story and keeps you engaged and invested throughout. To the characters you can’t help but adore. To the wildly entertaining interactions between Bailey and Porter. To the lighter moments that include a case of mistaken identity, a museum heist, an embarrassing family tradition, an unhealthy love affair with churros. To the serious moments that include heartache, the end of a friendship, family tragedies, loss. And to the notable film quotes at the beginning of each chapter that hint at what is to come.
ALEX, APPROXIMATELY is an enchanting and enduring story, told from Bailey’s point of view and through her messaging with Alex, that spans the course of a summer with just a glimpse beyond. It offers substance and depth coupled with romance and humor. It has an easy flow that will make the pages fly. It is an insanely good read that is a definite must.
I don't usually say this but the last few YA contemporaries I've read have been glorious! I think part of their appeal for me is that they're standalones. One book and you're done. I can't remember the last time I read a standalone book before I started my ARCs for this last month.
Alex, Approximately was the YA You've Got Mail retelling I never knew I needed until I picked it up. Despite Jenn Bennett being one of my favorite authors, I was kind of nervous going into this book. You've Got Mail is one of my top five favorite rom-coms so I was worried I was going to overhype myself for the story and be disappointed. But Bennett totally pulled it off! This classic hate-to-love story felt fresh and modern while staying true to the original!
This book was everything I love in a contemporary romance! It was swoony and the romance was everything! It's a classic hate-to-love story with the requisite witty banter between Porter and Bailey! The quips they volleyed back and forth were clever and those scenes were adorable! I loved that they manage to stump one another every once in a while and it just added to the dynamic. And hallelujah! There's no instalove in sight with this book. We get to watch Bailey and Porter's relation change over the course of a summer and it felt completely realistic and unrushed. Also, like Bennett's other YA contemporary, this book was very sex positive! There are open and honest conversations about and portrayals of sex, masturbation, and female pleasure in this book and we need so much more of that in YA.
I could continue to gush about the romance but there were so many other great things that worked with it to make the book so amazing. There's great friendships and awesome family dynamics! It was so refreshing to read a YA book that didn't have absentee parents! I seriously loved Porter and Bailey's families! Bailey’s dad is wonderfully nerdy and earnest and obsessed with Settlers of Catan. He was such a fun character to read! Porter’s family was just as great! They're a surfing family and I loved seeing their interactions in their shop and at home.
The other great thing in this book is the setting! The small town California atmosphere worked so great and only added to the story. I LOVED the museum Bailey and Porter work in! It's a weird mansion-turned-museum that was delightfully strange and quirky! It was almost like it was another character in the book!
If you can't tell by all of my gushing, I ADORED THIS BOOK! If you're looking for a fun summer beach read, Alex, Approximately is definitely one to add to your list!
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.
ALEX, APPROXIMATELY is a winner with its charming romance and delightful voice--you won't be able to put it down until the end, and even then you'll be looking for more pages.
You'll root for Bailey and Porter. How many other ships can say they caught a thief (twice!), took a compatibility quiz, and got locked in a museum overnight? And that's on top of all the mistaken identity. This book is a fun, enjoyable hoot. Porter has some great lines, and knows how to bribe Bailey with food cookies, and is all around too swoony for his own good. GUARD YOUR HEARTS.
I was surprised to find this book has a good deal of trauma in it. Bailey in particular has a dark backstory you'll be able to piece together fairly easy, and the effects that event still haunt her today. There's a heartfelt moment on the beach during a bonfire that shredded my feels. Porter, too has some trauma he deals with, and while his arc isn't as in depth as Bailey, there's a scene between her and his mom that got me. I really, really love to see accurate and nuanced portrays of trauma in books, and thought this one to be to done well.
Oh, also!! Bailey's dad is a sweetheart. They have a great dynamic. So do Porter and his family, so basically all the family stuff was great. Everything was great! The ship was great, the voice was great, the little clues that point to Alex/Porter that Bailey couldn't see were great, the side characters were great... you get my point. I can't wait until this is out and I can get my own copy + throw it at everyone!
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