Book Reviews

Book Review: ALEX, APPROXIMATELY by Jenn Bennett

30312700 Photo Credit: Goodreads

If I’m being 100% honest, I finished Alex, Approximately at one in the morning because I couldn’t put it down, and I was grinning like a fool because I had seriously just been hit in the feels. Multiple times in the span of about 400 pages. Before I continue on, here’s a look at the summary:

“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.”

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Alex, Approximately has so many amazing things going for it, but at the crux of it all are the characters and their relationships with one another. Bailey, the main character, is one hundred percent relatable. She’s smart, a tad awkward and introverted, and considers herself to be the ‘Artful Dodger’ as a means of dealing with her trauma. Her character development throughout the novel is awesome to read. She learns to handle her trauma in a healthier way and learns how to let people in. She also learns how to stay and be there when people need her. She has a tough side to her, and her wittiness made her even more adorable and fun to read.

Now, Porter Roth *swoons*. It’s not every day that I really REALLLYYYY like a YA love interest, but my golly Porter Roth is now at the top of my fictional boyfriend list. He’s complex, adorable, and a surfer. He pushes and supports Bailey, but he also stands well on his own. His family and their history added a lot of depth to his character, and I loved seeing how Bailey interacted with them. Another really great relationship was between Bailey and her dad. They both experienced a lot of pain and are doing their best to heal, and their support and respect for one another was great.

And then there’s the setting. Alex, Approximately takes place on the sandy beaches of California, but also at an incredibly wacky museum called the Cave. It’s just as adorkable as the characters, and is really fleshed out and full of interesting history and details. There’s also some diversity within the novel, as Grace, who becomes Bailey’s best friend, is biracial (also her family is awesome!) and Porter talks about his family’s Chinese and Polynesian background.

Alex, Approximately is an addictive read; I flew through it in one day. I’m constantly blown away by how readable some books are, and Alex, Approximately is YA romance at its finest. The plot is a tad predictable, the readers all know what’s going to happen: Porter is Alex and Bailey is Mink. But what makes Alex, Approximately such an interesting read, is that the readers don’t know how and when the two are going to figure that out. And the characters 10000% make up for any predictableness. In addition, Alex, Approximately handled tough issues with extreme poise, including trauma, death, grief, sex, and drugs.

The characters and their stories hit me right in the feels. Alex, Approximately made me smile, laugh, and even tear up. I now have a new YA OTP, and a new favorite feel-good book. It’s joining Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum as my favorite pick-me-up, and surprisingly both of them are You’ve Got Mail retellings (if you’ve haven’t watched the movie you definitely should, it’s a classic 90s/early 2000s romcom). I just wanted to hug this book and all of the characters after I finished reading it…at one in the morning.

If you’re in a reading slump, in the mood for a laugh, or in need of a pick-me-up, I highly recommend Alex, Approximately. It’s the perfect summer novel for the upcoming sunny days.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

*Sex is one small aspect of Porter and Mink’s relationship once it develops; however, it does briefly come up so I did want to give a heads-up in case that scene would be a concern to anyone.

Is this swoon-worthy YA romance on your TBR list?

Happy reading, happy writing, and happy blogging!

-Breeny

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31 thoughts on “Book Review: ALEX, APPROXIMATELY by Jenn Bennett

  1. Awwww, this book sounds so cute! Also a little disturbing with the whole secret-identity thing (is it just me or is that slightly creepy?), but from your review it sounds like it really works! I might have to add this one to my TBR, even though I don’t usually read much contemporary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never thought about the secret-identity thing that way, but I understand what you mean. I find it to be pretty realistic in this day and age so I think it works. If you’re looking for a good pick me up book, then I’d definitely add it your TBR!

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  2. Excellent review, Breeny. I loved that both Bailey and Porter’s relationships with their families was an important aspect of the novel and Porter’s family was especially fun to read about. I adore Tell Me Three Things and the You’ve Got Mail trope is one of my favorites. Have you read Kasie West’s P.S. I Like You?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I’ve read this book and also thoroughly enjoyed it, despite it being predictable, Bennett did such a wonderful job in creating this romance, I was shipping it all the way through!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a copy of this one too Breeny and can’t wait to read it! I loved her previous book Night Owls and her romances always seem so lovely and really beautifully written. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one Breeny and wonderful blog! Looking forward to checking out more of your reviews ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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