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Alex, Approximately Audio CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged
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Audio CD, Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged
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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) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Jenn Bennett is the award-winning author of the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series, the Roaring Twenties romance series, and the young adult contemporary romance The Anatomical Shape of a Heart. She lives near Atlanta with one husband and two pugs.
Amy Melissa Bentley is a professional stage and screen actress. A member of SAG-AFTRA, she has performed in Scotland, New York City, and throughout Connecticut.
Top customer reviews
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.
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Jenn Bennett has done it again. The Anatomical Shape of a Heart was a successful blend of romantic conflict and plot outside of the romance, and Alex, Approximately is no different.
Both Bailey and Porter have personal problems that they are trying to overcome, and they both have their own goals, although Porter's were featured a little less than Bailey's. I also liked the focus on family and friendship. Bailey's mom isn't perfect, but she isn't vilified either, and her dad is great and he tries hard, and Bailey isn't mad that he's dating again. I also liked that Bailey and Grace's friendship wasn't all smooth sailing, but their fights aren't petty. Their friendship pushes Bailey to trust people more and not keep them at arm's length.
I love any book reminiscent of You've Got Mail, and this one delivered - for a bit. Bailey and Alex stop messaging altogether, and I honestly thought that would be a bigger part of the plot. I also thought she'd hate Porter for longer, so they get together a bit too quickly for my tastes. I mean, I liked them together of course, but I wanted more drawn-out tension. They didn't need to get together on the last page, but I would've liked a little more build-up.
I did like how the online friends plot resolved and that Bailey's dad was smart enough to figure things out, and I liked how "Alex" and Bailey bonded over movies and then each chapter began with a film quote (and the last chapter got a You've Got Mail one, which made me exceedingly happy).
The Davey subplot bugged the heck out of me. I know it was there for good reasons, but it still rubbed me the wrong way.
A smattering of foul language. I think I only caught the f-word once or twice and the s-word around a dozen times. More sexual content than I like in my YA books, but it's less graphic than other books.
One small little note: both Bailey and "Alex" have just finished their junior year, but Porter's already eighteen? So I'm not sure how that would work, and I don't remember it ever being addressed.
The Verdict: So, so good. I'm really liking this crop of You've Got Mail-inspired stories cropping up (and not just because I'm writing one).