Personal Thoughts: When I heard there was going to be a YA retelling of You’ve Got Mail my interest was immediately piqued. What a fun concept! And it’s a much more current work to be adapted than those we typically see. I rarely request books from publishers for review unless I feel 100% confident that I’ll love them and I plan on reading them the moment they come in the mail. Otherwise, reviewing tends to feel more like work than enjoyment and that’s just not what I’m here for. Alex, Approximately met both of my requesting guidelines so I took a chance and I was lucky enough to get an early ARC copy and I’m thankful that I completely loved it! I also just want to mention the beautiful cover. I love the laid back California vibe and the gorgeous hanging lights that grace the background!
Plot Summary: Bailey Rydell has been talking to a mysterious fellow film lover named Alex on an app for quite some time now. He just so happens to live in the same town as her father in California and he’s been begging Bailey to come visit but after a traumatic experience earlier in her life, Bailey is extremely guarded and skeptical of getting too close to anyone over the internet. She ends up moving in her father in California but neglects to tell Alex this important bit of information because she’s worried he might be a creep so she decides to scope out the town and try to find him on her own terms. Bailey gets a summer job at a local museum where she meets who she believes to be, one of the most obnoxious jerks ever, son-of-a-famous-surfer- Porter Roth. Little does Bailey know that the hypothetical man of her dreams Alex, is none other than the person she cannot stand, Porter.
Critique: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett is everything I hope for out of a YA romance! The book covered a wide range of topics, not focusing solely on the romance aspect. There were familial relationships, friendships and Bailey’s own relationship with herself that were all tackled and everything was handled so well. Alex, Approximately is definitely on the longer side of YA contemporary, clocking it at nearly 400 pages but it’s completely worth the time it takes to conclude Bailey’s story in a satisfying manner. I loved Bailey sense of style- she always modeled her hair after Lana Turner and tended to dress like a retro film star on most days. She struggles with trust issues after a prior experience has left her reasonably guarded and reading about her journey to letting her walls come down a bit is completely gripping. I really loved Bailey’s dad and his addiction to Settlers of Catan (a board game that I too share an addiction for). He’s a really good example of a single parent doing the best job they can raising a teenage girl. Then there’s Porter who is one of the most swoonworthy book boyfriends. Porter is half white and half Polynesian and his sun-kissed curls, golden skin, and surfer’s body are often mentioned. He’s such a sweetheart and his in-person interactions with Bailey are so precious! Alex, Approximately is a hate to love romance at its finest. I will say that I didn’t totally get why Bailey was so hung up on Alex because their online interactions read much more like a friendship than a romance to me but I was living for their in real life scenes. Even the way that Alex handles things once Bailey and Porter meet will make your heart swell. I love that we get a big glimpse into Porter’s life and his situation and he’s not only there to serve as a love interest. Each protagonist has a very specific set of challenges they’re facing and watching Bailey and Porter learn to trust each other and work through them together is just swoon after swoon after swoon!
Do I Recommend?: YES! I really loved this contemporary romance, even more than I was expecting to. I already preordered my finished copy!