Hello all! Today I’m reviewing The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson for both the Canadian blog tour, and as the first post for my Unexpectedly Epic Morgan Matson Week!
If you’re a fan of YA contemporary books, you really can’t go wrong with Morgan’s work. Scroll down to check out my review of this, my favourite book of the year so far, and then check out the amazing Three Scoops of Summer giveaway for Canadians – you can win a copy of The Unexpected Everything, Siobhan Vivian’s The Last Boy and Girl in the World, and Meg Leder’s The Museum of Heartbreak.
If you’re outside of Canada and you want to win some Morgan Matson stuff, hit up the intro post for more details on what’s happening this week (including a giveaway for all four Morgan Matson books!).The Unexpected Everything
Author: Morgan Matson
Find the author: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr
Also by this author: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, Second Chance Summer
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication date: May 3rd 2016
Source: Simon & Schuster Canada (thank you!)
From Morgan Matson, the bestselling author of Since You’ve Been Gone comes a feel-good story of friendship, finding yourself, and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans.
Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.
Future? A top-tier medical school. Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around). Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else? Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.
So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too.
Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all—working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?
Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
The Unexpected Everything is Morgan Matson’s best book.
There, I said it. I’m sure there are going to be people who disagree with me – people who are massive fans of the Sloane-Emily friendship in Since You’ve Been Gone, or people who love the road trippiness of Amy & Roger or the realistic portrayals of grief in Second Chance Summer. And yeah, obviously, I love those, too. But holy cow, this book takes all of those other books and just elevates them to new heights.
This is YA contemporary mastery, people.
Let’s backtrack. If you’ve read the synopsis, you know that this is a book about a girl who has spent her life in the public eye. Andie is surrounded by people, even more so than Morgan’s previous protagonists, because of her father’s political work. Because of that, Andie has always had to be super careful with what she does at parties, where she goes, and with whom. It’s no wonder that she’s such a type A rule-follower – she’s had to be in order to deal with people who want to know anything and everything about her that could destroy her father.
And of course, this is what happens. Because of a political scandal with her father, Andie quickly loses everything she planned for. No more internship at Johns Hopkins. An unexpected stay at home. And a realization that she doesn’t have any contingency plans.
What Morgan does so well in this book is remind us that no matter what challenges we face, life does – and can – go on. In fact, you can make it pretty good, no matter what’s happened to you. You can make the best out of a situation, even when you’re floundering. And that’s when the big unexpecteds happen.
A lot of books deal with people developing their feelings for one another, and the story ends when they are about to take the first step. In The Unexpected Everything, though, we get the full scope of a romantic relationship: the meet-cute (and boy, is the meet-cute a meet-cute – it involves DOGS), but also the “I like you/have a crush on you” phase, and then the getting together and being in a relationship part. It’s a testament to Morgan’s talent that not a single part of that relationship development is boring – rather, the closer Clark and Andie got, the more I wanted of them together and being cute.
Because as much as I love the getting together part that ends a lot of books, that’s not as real for me as what Andie and Clark experience in this book. It’s the honeymoon phase, yes, but it’s also basking in the little things when you’re figuring out a person – how they take their coffee, which side of the sidewalk they walk on, the sound of their laughter. These are the moments and realizations that we take for granted, but this book celebrates and illuminates them.
But if the book were just about that, it wouldn’t be enough. Instead, Morgan rounds out all of the secondary characters, showing us, for the first time in her oeuvre, a friend group that is (mostly) healthy and has been together forever. We don’t just get to enjoy the little moments of a romantic relationship; Morgan also highlights those perfect moments of girl (and sometimes guy) friendship when you laugh at the exact same thing at the exact same time, when you’re so in sync that you know exactly what the other person is thinking, so much so that you can talk in all emojis.
Oh yeah, did I mention that? There are a lot of emojis in this book. 😏😍
This is a book about relationships – about the unexpected ones you find that change your life, about the ones you’ve had all your life that keep you grounded, about the ones that are broken that can be recovered, and about the ones that you can’t repair. If I had to describe The Unexpected Everything in one phrase, it would be a mosaic of relationships, and how to savour each little, perfect moment with another person.
Cameos: Yes, you will see some of your old faves from the previous Morgan Matson books!
Puppy Love: You knew it from the cover, but there are some seriously important dogs in this book. My only quibble is that, as a cat owner, the cats in this book are not exactly treated with the same love and affection. =p
Writers and Fandom: I will talk more about this in my interview with Morgan later this week, but there’s a writer in this book and he’s at George R.R. Martin levels of fame…meaning that people are basically begging him for the next book. This is hilarious and makes for some *ahem* very familiar moments for people who like to read.
Family Matters: I didn’t touch on this too much in my review, but the exploration of Andie’s relationship with her father is absolutely one of the best things in this book. I loved how they understood each other and learned as they went along.
Girl Friendship: This is one of the only books I’ve read where girl friendship is explored so thoroughly and with so much understanding. Andie has an AMAZING friend group, and I could go on all day about how much I love Palmer (BEST), Bri and Toby. I don’t want to give anything else away, but WOW, Morgan gets how friendship works.
Group Friendship: Not only is there a girl group of friends, but they also have, naturally, friends who are boys. This group reminded me SO much of my friends in my first year of university – the dynamic between the guys and girls is pitch perfect.
Book Boyfriend Alert: I almost didn’t want to tell you this, because CLARK IS MINE, PEOPLE. He’s mine, I’ve claimed this perfect specimen of swoony, honest, literary book boy and you can’t have him.
Book Theme Song:
I’ve been obsessed with MisterWives lately, and this song speaks to Clark and Andie’s relationship, and Andie’s fear of being vulnerable. And it just sounds like a summer song to me – my husband says MisterWives is “unique, but with a Taylor Swift sound”, which kinda says it all.
You didn’t close the door
Left a crack open
I couldn’t ignore the faint possibility
Of having hope in this insanity
That we still could be
But we’re stuck floating in between
Put me on the shelf; discipline myself
To let the sparks die out
That has reflections of you
Our eyes were closed
With hearts open wide
Dismissed every rule to abide by
Our bodies undressed the layers of shy
Revealing the truth that was buried inside
Filled up feelings
That now are bursting at the seams
The Final Word:
I said it at the beginning and I’ll say it again: The Unexpected Everything is Morgan Matson’s best book. Tightly focused, but with unique and captivating details, The Unexpected Everything surpasses all of Morgan’s previous books by touching on themes from each of them, and then going further in developing the relationships between family, friends, and significant others. For the first time, Morgan is looking at not just the getting together of friends, family, and romance, but the actual ins and outs of every day with those people, and how unexpectedly beautiful those ins and outs can be.
Also, it’s a darn fun book. Did I mention that? This is the most delightful summer book, and my favorite read of this year so far. GO READ IT NOW.
THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING is out in bookstores now. Have you read it? Are you swooning or fist-pumping? Do you agree with me that it’s Morgan Matson’s best book? If you haven’t read it, what’s catching your eye about it? Hit the comments and let me know, and check out the giveaway below if you’re in Canada!
Simon & Schuster Canada are generously offering amazing prizes for Canadian readers: you can win finished copies of The Unexpected Everything, Siobhan Vivian’s The Last Boy and Girl in the World, or Meg Leder’s The Museum of Heartbreak. Sign up to win below, and don’t forget to check out the rest of #MorganMatsonWeek for more bookish fun!