The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Title: The Unexpected Everything
Author: Morgan Matson
Series: N/A
Pages: 517
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 3rd 2016 

      “Andie had it all planned out.
      When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.
      Important internship? Check.
      Amazing friends? Check.
      Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

      But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.
      Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.
      And where’s the fun in that?”

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“I was trying very hard not to look quite as thrown by all this as I felt. Clearly, the downside of having a theoretical crush on someone you know nothing about was the crashing realization that you actually knew nothing about them.”

Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything, her latest contemporary novel, is in a word delightful. It has so many of the elements I look for in a contemporary book, from an organic romance to complicated family relationships to an emphasis on strong female friendships. Andie has her summer all planned out, but life doesn’t always work out the way you want. Her father’s being investigated for embezzlement which means she by extension has become a pariah, resulting in her summer plans completely falling through. When she becomes convinced that this is about to be the worst summer of her life, she meets Clark and ends up accepting a job offer as a dog walker.

Andie has a very contentious relationship with her father, stemming from his devotion to his job and the fact that ever since her mother passed away years ago, he hasn’t been around. Of all the relationships in this novel, this is the one that moved me the most. Andie’s father isn’t sure how to interact with his daughter anymore and Andie is certain her life would be better if he’d stop pretending that he cares about what goes on in hers. There is a lot of tension between the two, but I was glad to see that although Andie has a lot of resentment toward her father, she was open enough toward him that they could begin to restore their relationship.

Andie’s group of friends is a vital part of her life. With a largely absent father, she’s spent the last few years relying more and more on them. Palmer, Toby, Bri, and Andie (and sometimes Palmer’s boyfriend Tom) are a single unit. They share nearly everything, talking about both the trivial and serious issues in their lives. Each has their own personality and I really appreciated how much life Matson breathed into these secondary characters. My personal favorite was Toby, she added such a delightful touch of humor to the narrative and her sometimes flighty ways were very much endearing. Matson introduces a certain storyline that really challenges the easygoing dynamic between these friends and I’m really hoping that she has a spin-off in store for us because I must know more.

Clark was immediately a character I liked. He was shy, a little socially awkward, and irresistibly nerdy. While both Andie and Clark seem quite taken with each other, they didn’t hit it off on the first go and I liked seeing how Matson used this circumstance to give a more well-rounded look at both characters. The two slowly get to know each other and both have moments where they pull away from the other, not quite willing to show their vulnerable side. But they also find opportunity to let down those walls that keep them from experiencing all the benefits to be had from an emotionally intimate relationship.

I was a little skeptical of a 500+ page contemporary novel, but the story is well-paced and never feels like it’s dragging. The Unexpected Everything is full of characters you’ll learn to care about, who don’t always make the best decisions, but whose relationships you’ll find yourself fully invested in by the end.

Rating: 4/5

★★★★

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29 thoughts on “The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

  1. Nice and concise review! I didn’t really mind the length like some people did either! Since You’ve Been Gone is my favorite of hers and I think it’s about as long so yeah, I think she needs that length to fully flesh out the secondary characters that she does so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m really glad you enjoyed this. I know many dub Morgan Matson as the queen of the contemporary, and I’ve read 2 of her books but they’ve never BLOWN my mind. I do, however, love how she incorporates more than romance into her contemporaries, where familial relationships and friendships are given the proper amount of weight. I’m like you – a little cautious about a 500+ page contemporary, but I’m more excited to get into it after reading your review, Alicia. 🙂

    ~ Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’ve heard so much about her and Kasie West. I haven’t been a big contemporary reader, but I’ve been devouring them over the last few months. So glad I decided to do so because no, you aren’t going to come out being super surprised, but they are still very enjoyable. It’s a nice break from the heavier fantasy novels I pick up. I hope you pick it up soon!

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  3. Wow, this sounds like a book I’d pick up in a heartbeat, especially as I’m trying to get my load of contemporary novels under my belt. I especially love stories in which children and parents try to reconcile their relationship. Great review!
    Just a short introduction, I’m Grace from https://kimmiegg.wordpress.com , and we have the same quote in our header! I love the design on your blog, and can’t wait to see all the amazing content you’ll post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Grace! I absolute adore that quote. Thank you so much, I hope you find lots of things to enjoy on my blog 😀 I love contemporaries with really interesting family relationships and this book was just the total package. I hope you get a chance to read it soon.

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  4. That was really well phrase–“an organic romance.” I was in the garden yesterday and was teaching my 6-year-old the meaning of organic. Ha ha. I imagine Andie’s dog walking skills may have won you over to her side. There were probably pet moments that tugged at the heart. =) I like that this has consistent pacing despite being quite lengthy, and builds on a plethora of different forms of relationship, with Andie and Clark being one I’d like to know more about. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The Friday 56: The Unexpected Everything | A Kernel of Nonsense

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