Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Alex, Approximately
by Jenn Bennett (Goodreads, Twitter, Website)
Published by Simon Pulse on April 4th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

I'm not religious when it comes to reading YA books. The first time I got my hands on a romance novel was what definitely steered me away from the overly-fluffy YA reads. I'm talking about fluff on the level of Geek Charming by Robin Palmer. But the moment I got into chick lit and romance novels, my taste towards characters began to change. I honestly could not deal with young characters that sound like special snowflakes. It's probably an age thing because I'm pretty sureI wasn't exempt from being a special snowflake myself in my teens. It's like watching The Little Mermaid in your 20s and thinking 'Stop it, Ariel, you're fetus', when she insisted she loved Prince Eric at 16.

Where I'm going at this, I'm not sure, but what I know is that while my taste for YA novels has changed, I still couldn't stop falling in love with Jenn Bennett's YA novels. I read The Anatomical Shape of a Heart (Night Owls for alternate edition) last year and I was floored by Jenn Bennett's debut YA novel. And I surely felt the same when reading Alex, Approximately.

Alex Approximately grabbed me from the get-go until the very end. Every turn of a page got me so hooked and made my heart flutter. I was addicted. Jenn Bennett does that to me. Her writing is captivating and leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling. Her books are the definition of 'butterflies in your stomach'. She just makes you feel giddy all over, especially when entertaining characters that won't let you stop beaming.

Bailey is a great character to follow when reading Alex Approximately. Her voice, as the narrator, keeps you so entertained. She's a young girl--a daughter to divorced parents--moving from the city to a new town for a short period of time. Her quirk is her fascination for classic fashion and films--think Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Gone with the Wind. This adoration is what she greatly shares with Alex, her online pen pal. And moving into Alex's hometown without having met him excites and terrifies her at the same time.

Enter Porter Roth, full of charm and swagger. We know he's Alex, but funnily enough, it wouldn't be easy to connect the dots if I were Bailey. Alex and Porter sounded like really different people in terms of interests and personality. Alex talked about movies a lot. That was his and Bailey's thing. But with Porter, movies were rarely a topic that came out of his mouth because he pretty much spent most of his time getting Bailey riled up during her first few days working at the local museum.

I loved the dynamic between Bailey and Porter. What kicked off as a banter-filled 'frenemies' situation bloomed into an adorable friendship and later, a sweet romantic relationship when they begin to start having feelings for each other. It was funny how Bailey was so adamant to hate Porter when she was forced to spend time with him for work training, but Porter (my baby) was just too damn irresistible, hah! Also the fact that Bailey tried to 'private investigator' her way around town to find where 'Alex' lives got me cracking up. Does she find out that Porter and Alex are one in the same? You'll have to read to find out!

Bailey's new found friends in California were also a joy to read about, especially Grace Achebe. She's half Nigerian (YAS HUNTY!) and British. I totally enjoyed the part where Bailey was over at the Achebe's for dinner and Jollof rice was on the menu! Gotta love Nigerian food y'all! I also loved Bailey's dad, Porter's dad as well as Bailey's co-workers at the local museum!

In retrospect, Alex Approximately ignited so many feelings. I'd say it's a bit tame compared to the adrenaline-filled adventure that is The Anatomical Shape of a Heart (Night Owls) and explored touching aspects of family, new friendships, and broken relationships. It's also totally sex positive! A perfect read for lovers of books by Heather Demetrios, Natalie Blitt and Morgan Matson! Y'all won't regret picking this up!