Book review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

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As the daughter of a politician, Andie has led a very privileged life. She’s all set to spend her summer at an exclusive pre-pre-med program for high school students when she receives a devastating phone call: she’s been dropped from the program at the very last minute due to her father’s pending corruption investigation. Andie is angry. She’s lived her entire life as the perfect daughter. She’s carefully avoided doing anything that might reflect badly on her father. She’s gotten perfect grades in school. She arranged these plans months ago, and now something completely out of her control has ruined everything.

Now, instead of beefing up her resume and making her college applications look better, Andie’s stuck at home for the summer. All the good jobs are taken, and the only thing she can find is a flyer for walking dogs. It’s not something Andie would have chosen for herself, but her only other choice is sitting at home all summer, and who wants that?

Andie spends as much time out of the house as she possibly can. When she’s not working, she’s out with her friends. Her father was never around while she was growing up. After her mother died of ovarian cancer, he delegated the parenting duties to a long string of nannies, interns, and aides. But now, with his political career on hold due to the investigation, he’s home. All of a sudden, he feels like raising a child again, and Andie is furious at him for not only ruining her summer plans, but also imposing a curfew out of nowhere and putting an end to her free reign. While their summer starts out rocky, Andie and her father make a strong effort to repair their relationship and get back the connection they had when she was a young girl.

In the midst of everything, Andie meets Clark, a young, shy, homeschooled, best-selling author who is very much her opposite. They begin a relationship, and although Andie has previously adhered to a list of rules about dating (break up with them before they can break up with you, never date anyone longer than three weeks, never fall in love), she finds that Clark is different from any boy she’s been with before. Not only is Clark an amazing guy, but he fits right in with her tight-knit group of friends.

The Unexpected Everything is, like all of Matson’s books, very well-written. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s charming, and it’s cute. I loved that various characters from Since You’ve Been Gone kept popping up at the most opportune moments. I also loved what a big role animals played in this book, because you’ll rarely find me without my pets by my side. (In fact, I have a cat sleeping on my lap as I type this review.)

Was the book perfect? No. Not many books are. But I still gave it five stars because I loved it so much. I loved how it tackled balancing friendships, relationships, and family connections. It put me in a great mood.

And I would love to read Clark’s book. Can Matson do a Rainbow Rowell and actually publish A Murder of Crows? Please?

Final rating: ★★★★★