By: Jenn Bennett
Publication: April 4th 2017 by Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Personal Kindle Library
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Goodreads description--In this delightfully charming teen spin on You’ve Got Mail, the one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.
Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online by “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 arch-nemesis. 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.
Well the description just gives the whole mystery of the book away, doesn't it? I hadn't re-read the description for quite a while so I didn't remember it spelling things out so specifically. If you haven't read the description, maybe try not to read that last sentence. I mean there wasn't much doubt in my mind, but still, the mystery is one of the driving forces of the story. So try not to completely ruin the story by reading the description if you can avoid it.
The scenery of Alex, Approximately was adorable. I want to visit this small town in California. I haven't been to the West Coast so I've not seen the Pacific Ocean--although I have no issues with the beaches of Panama City Beach or Gulf Shores. The museum, while cheesy, definitely sounds like something that should be seen and visited as well as the boardwalk and local surfing. The whole place sounded charming.
I wasn't really sure that I was going to like Bailey. I could understand her issues with telling Alex that she was moving in with her Dad in the same town that Alex lives in, but I struggle a little with people in real life who won't just confront things head-on. I won't say that I enjoy conflict, but I personally believe that sweeping a problem under the rug only creates more problems whereas confronting things head on usually causes less confusion and miscommunication. But she has more to her and she makes significant progress in all areas throughout the course of the book.
Porter was perfectly imperfect. I liked how he and Bailey began their relationship with more hostility than anything else. But some of the fights he picked with Bailey, I was certainly on her side. But he becomes more and more likable as time passes and as his layers get pulled back one after one. I ended up being quite a fan of Porter. I do wish he wasn't described as much as he was. At least the long curly, hair part, but maybe that's just because I don't find long hair on men attractive. A little bit more left to my imagination as far as his appearance is concerned would have been great.
The side characters were almost all just as loveable: Grace, Pangborn, Bailey's Dad, Wanda, Mr. Roth, Mrs. Roth, Lana. I liked them all and the warmth and complexity they brought to this story.
I did find myself questioning several pieces of the puzzle. Like how the town wasn't large but it wasn't tiny, yet for Bailey to never question that she might actually run into Alex...especially while she's attempting to flesh out his workplace. Some of the clues felt so very obvious to me. Yet almost everything I questioned I could also find some way to explain away.
-That’s the thing about being an evader. You have to be flexible and know when to bail before it all gets weird. Better for everyone, really. I’m a giver.
-"...Sometimes you have to endure painful things to realize that you’re a whole lot stronger than you think.”
I did briefly get annoyed with Bailey's reaction to Porter's fight with Davy. I mean she does get over it, but this just felt like our current day's culture's attempt at a utopian society where there's never any violence. Do I wish for violence? Of course not. I think it's better to avoid it, but I'm not going to be freaked out if my boyfriend gets into a fight. Just a Mountains Into Molehills situation for me.
In the end the biggest compliment I can give Alex, Approximately is that I could not stop thinking about this book for days after I finished it. It had the potential to give me a book hangover had I not jumped into just the right book for follow-up after I finished it. Alex, Approximately gets 4.5 Stars. Have you read Alex, Approximately? What did you think? Let me know!