My rating: 4 of 5 stars
So what if I liked to be in control of things? Someone had to be, after all. —Andie
The Unexpected Everything was my first encounter with Morgan Matson, and I unexpectedly liked it very much. I nearly loved it, were it not for a few annoying scenes here and there. Nevertheless, I am glad that I gave this book a shot because I found it to be very meaningful.
Love, family, and friendship. These are things that all of us need in life, and Andie’s story definitely illustrates this ideology. Andie’s summery life basically revolved around her father, boyfriend, and close group of friends. Throughout the novel, she rarely interacted with people outside this small social circle. Some readers might take that negatively, but I actually liked that Andie was very picky with those she spent her time with. I myself would rather have a couple of genuine relationships than a ton of shallow or fake ones. This might sound strange, but Andie made me realize that it sometimes wouldn’t hurt to actually plan your relationships. After all, we only have so much time to live.
Initially, Andie had a superficially perfect life. I was impressed that despite her young age, she literally had everything in control. Her plans for her future were practically set in stone, so she had this confident and carefree approach to life. However, her happiness wasn’t as complete as it seemed. Her relationship with her father was strained, and little did she know that all her carefully planned out life was about to be shaken (if not positively changed) by a sudden political scandal, as well as an extraordinary romance.
Quite a number of readers have criticized this book’s length. I understand, since I concur that YA contemporaries are typically less than 500 pages. However, I wish to point out that they are not required or supposed to be that way. Moreover, I honestly appreciated the expansive storyline because it gave me more time to vicariously grow closer to the characters, who were charming, funny, and relatable in their own respective ways. (I was particularly fond of Clark, who was a fellow bookworm, fanboy, and writer.) To me, every chapter was crafted with intention or purpose. I never felt that the author merely wanted to drag or fluff up her novel with entertaining but irrelevant fillers, aka padding. In other words, I loved that each scene was packed with significance. Kudos to worthwhile drama, people!
Now here comes the root of my mild irritation. I would have given this book 5/5 stars if Andie’s character development hadn’t suddenly flopped in the climax. I was really caught off guard because she had already matured so much, yet it was all to no avail. I was annoyed that although she was aware of the consequences of her actions, she pushed through with them anyway and made matters worse for herself and her loved ones. Her problems could have been easily prevented if only she hadn’t let her emotions cloud her better judgement.
Overall, as conveyed by my 4-star rating, I really liked The Unexpected Everything. Gleaning upon its emphasis on love, family, and friendship, I can objectively say that it is one of the most meaningful books that I’ve read this year. I’m excited to read the other works of Morgan Matson.
P.S. I wish that the “book within this book” will be published someday. 😉