REVIEW: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

by - 1:53 PM

“Sometimes you have to endure painful things to realize that you're a whole lot stronger than you think.”

Back of the book blurb:

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.
Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.
And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

Chase’s thoughts:

Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 391
ISBN: 9781481478779

Available for Purchase:

My rating:

            I had been intrigued by Alex, Approximately for a long time. Like… way before it came out. It took me a while to get to it, though. And boy, am I glad that I did! It started out a little rough… I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue it. But, trust me!!! YOU MUST FINISH IT. YOU WILL FALL IN LOVE.

“For the evaders, avoiders, dodgers, and side-steppers. You probably have a good reason for hiding. May you work through it and find your inner lion.” 

            The reason I was so hesitant at first was because the protagonist, Bailey, is the kind of the socially awkward girl that can barely talk to anyone. And that always bugs the shit out of me. I know it’s A Thing, but I can’t relate, so it’s hard to read about it.

            HOWEVER, once I gave it a chance, I immediately fell in love with Bailey. Yeah, she was socially awkward, but when she moved to California from DC to get away from her mom and stepdad, she pretty much has to step out of her shell and learn to talk to people. And when she does, it’s pretty fucking great.

“The entire time they’re talking, I can’t tear my eyes away from Porter. What I’m feeling for him now is like drowning and floating at the same time.”

            Basically, Alex, Approximately is kind of like a modern retelling of You’ve Got Mail, which is an exceptional movie. Bailey has an online account for a film-loving forum and she and another user named Alex have connected. He lives in California and he knows that her dad lives in California and has been trying to get Bailey/Mink to come out to her dad’s so they can meet up.

            Being the evader that Bailey is, when she does actually move out to California, she doesn’t tell Alex. Instead, she gets a job at a local museum and meets none other than Porter Roth, Bailey’s new arch nemesis. And surprise, he’s actually Alex from online.

            Porter Roth is… everything. I love a good enemies to friends to lovers trope. And Jenn Bennett pulls it off with flying colors. To begin with, Porter teases the fuck out of Bailey and it really irks her. They start off rocky but slowly become friends and beyond that slowly become attracted to each other. I love Porter a lot. I think he’s hilarious and sweet and so damn beautiful.

“He looks toward the ocean, dark purple with the last rays of light. "My mom says we're all connected--people and plants and animals. We all know one another on the inside. It's what's on the outside that distracts. Our clothes, our words, our actions. Shark attacks. Gunshots. We spend our lives trying to find other people. Sometimes we get confused and turned around by the distractions." He smiles at me. "But we didn't.” 

            There are some great things that the reader gets out of Alex, Approximately. Things such as navigating your first love and coming out of your shell and how to deal with friendships rather than running away. It was truly magnificent to follow Bailey’s journey as she realized that ultimately, evading and running away from everything was selfish. Her character arc was a thing of beauty!

            I really, really enjoyed Alex, Approximately. And I think you all will, too!

Happy Reading!
The Wandereader

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