Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn BennettAlex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Narrator: Amy Melissa Bentley
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult Romance
Published by Tantor Audio on August 15, 2017
Pages: 9 hours 58 min
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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four-half-stars      two-half-flames

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.

The Delight

I took one look at the blurb and I was sold- a teenage retelling of You’ve Got Mail, with the teens being classic movie buffs who live in a Central Californian coastal town.  And the verdict?  Approximately amazing!

Review

Alex, Approximately is not my first go around with talented author, Jenn Bennett.  It is, however, my first time reading her YA work.  I discovered her from her paranormal Roaring Twenties trilogy.

This story ticked off a lot of boxes with me that had me loving it early on.  I struggle to connect with YA fiction these days, but I spotted this one and had hopes that with it being a retelling of a favorite movie, classic movie references, and the coastal setting not far from where my family is from that any teen issues would be voided out.  Truthfully, it wasn’t far into the story when I was already full of interest and curiosity for both Bailey ‘Mink’ Rydell and Porter ‘Alex’ Roth’s situations.  There are hints that something traumatic happened to Bailey- and not just her parents’ divorce- earlier that causes her to have issues so that she struggles with normal life.  She copes by going into ‘stealth’ mode whenever she can and staying out of the limelight or even mild confrontations.  Porter is living a different sort of lie and the effort is eating him up inside.  He might be the bane of Bailey’s existence at first, but he is the catalyst to get her to open up.

Anyone familiar with the plot for You’ve Got Mail can likely guess just how big the reveal hit when ‘Mink’ and ‘Alex’ discovered the truth about who their on-line movie buff friend is in real life.  I was expecting to wince over angst and drawn out drama, but I should have trusted the author.  It was about right for the circumstances and the characters.

On a side note, there is a razzle-dazzle factor that just was there.  This was cute, heartwarming, and even passionate, but there is just that bit of something extra.  I felt it most when they were just friends and being real with each other and when Bailey and her dad were reconnecting.

And speaking of her dad, I’m adding a second side note that I like how the parents/adults were portrayed.

As to the narrative voice, this was my first time with Amy Melissa Bentley.  She matched up very well with all the voices, but particularly Bailey’s voice.  She conveyed a teen world well and the deeper emotions and developed characters in Alex, Approximately.

So, yes, this was definitely a blockbuster hit for me.  Probably best for an older teen to adult audience due to the content.  Classic movie buffs will sigh with pleasure and those on the scout for a solid YA Coming of Age story will definitely want to take a peek.

My thanks to Tantor for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges

Romance Roundabout #270
YA New Release #157
Audio #60
Books N Tunes #41
Dooley Wilson’s As Time Goes By

Recommendations

  Review Boys Like You by Juliana Stone

Preview

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • I’m really glad that this story worked out well for you. And the narrator too.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    • Oh yes, it was a fun one though had some deeper tones that I was not expecting.

  • Karen

    I love, love, love how Bennett writes family dynamics both in her YA’s and her Arcadia Bell series.

    For What It’s Worth

    • I hadn’t realized she had such great talent until this one, but really, it was there in that Roaring 20s series, but was hidden a little b/c of the action and paranormal.

  • I listened to this one too and rated it 5 stars. I just loved the whole thing. It was my first by this author. Glad you loved it too!

    • I don’t know why, but it really surprised me with its depth when I was just expecting light and cute. She really is a good author. 🙂

  • So glad to see you loved this one, Sophia. It’s on my to be read list, and so many people have loved it! I may give audio a go, as I’ll be able to fit it in sooner.

    Great review!

    • Yes, I saw some great reviews on it and was tickled to get offered it for an audio review. I thought the narrator did a fab job.

  • This sounds like a wonderful story. I don’t read a lot of YA, but this sounds like one I would enjoy.

    • I don’t read much of it either, but once in a while a blurb or cover catches my eye and I have to investigate. In this case, I caught two great reviews. 🙂 Hope you enjoy it if you get the chance, Nadene.

  • Finding a book that lives up to the blurb is always nice. I’ve found a few good books by picking them after reading the back cover.

    • I agree. Sometimes the blurb leaves me with the wrong impression and I get a not so nice shock, but this one definitely worked even better than expected. 🙂

      • ╠╣αppy Ѽ ╠╣αlloween
        ┊ ┊┊ ┊┊ ┊ ┊┊ ┊ ┊^v^
        ┊ ┊┊ ┊┊ Ѽ ☻ ٩(●̮̮̃•̃)۶
        ┊ ┊┊ ┊☻^v^
        …..┊ ┊┊٩(●̮̮̃•̃)۶
        Ѽ ☻
        ٩(●̮̮̃•̃)

        • Ahhhh, love your Halloween spooky message, Mary. 🙂

  • I need to try this one! I really love this author!

  • I have this one in my list! I’m glad you enjoyed it Sophia Rose 🙂

    xx
    Vanessa @ Blushing Geek

    • Thanks, Vanessa. Hope you enjoy it when it comes up on your list.

  • so so glad you read this one 😀 I knew you’d love it!!

    • It was a match made in movie lover heaven. 🙂

  • No worries about the movie. It was a cutie, but this book doesn’t lean heavily on it for the reader to understand the plot.

    Yeah, the struggle is real. Though I did just see a Fierce Reads unboxing for books coming out in the early months of 2018 that had a couple of intense sounding YA contemporaries.

  • Happy to give your memory a poke, Geybie.

    And thanks for the compliment. Love your reviews, too. 🙂

  • Oh sweet! Really all you had to tell me was Jenn Bennett and I want to read it. This one is on my wishlist but I may have to try it on audio. Brilly review!

    • LOL, the magic words were seen. 🙂 Glad I could remind you of it and get you interested in the audio, Melissa.

  • I am so glad you enjoyed this one Sophia, I adored it and completely agree. This was perfect for audio.

    • Yay, another fan. I’m not sure, but maybe your review influenced me to snag it. 🙂

  • Yes! Glad you loved it. Sigh … listening to the song now. <3 You have to read her other YA, Anatomical Shape of a Heart.

    • It’s going on the list. I’m hooked after this one. Sigh indeed. 🙂

  • This sounds so good, and I think I would like the audio book of it especially. Wonderful review.

    • I got hooked into trying it after seeing a couple reviews. It does live up to the expectation. 🙂 Hope you get the chance, Jenea!

  • Debbie Haupt

    Glad you loved it Sophia Rose it looks FAB!!

    • Most definitely Fab, Debbie. Sooo cute, but also heartwarming and deep, too.

  • I do want to read or maybe listen to this one. I had no idea it was a You’ve Got Mail retelling though. Glad you enjoyed it!

    • Oh good call, its a fun one with its You’ve Got Mail connection. But its also got some differences too that were great. 🙂

  • I don’t read YA but your review makes me want to pick this one up! It sounds like you really enjoyed it.

    • Yeah, I don’t typically read it either, especially contemporary, but this one hooked me. I was glad it had a lot of good things going for it with me. 🙂

  • RO

    Even though I don’t normally read YA, I adore You’ve Got Mail, and have probably seen it about 7 or 8 times! lol Really sounds like a good read, Super Sophia. Hugs…RO

    • LOL, me, too. Though I’m actually not sure how many times I’ve seen it. That aspect definitely pulled me in to give this story a try.

      Thanks, Radiant Ro! 🙂

  • I just love it when I find a narrator that fits the voices and personalities into the story so well. So I am glad you enjoyed this one as an audio book and I really want to read her adult fiction soon.

    • Yes, it really makes a book so much more powerful when the link between narrator and story is strong.

      You should try her Roaring Twenties trio. But I’ve heard her Arcadia Bell series is fab, too.

  • I don’t read a lot of YA, but I like the concept of this one. Great review, Sophia!

    • It pulled me in and I’m the same about contemporary YA. Thanks, Angela!

  • RO

    Just stopping by to say happy Saturday to you guys! Hugs…RO

    • What a peach, Ro! You do something fun and interesting today. 🙂

  • I don’t read a lot of YA romance either, but I have a few authors I follow that can write them well. It’s always great when you connect with a book early on. Good to hear the teen voice was so well done here and the character sound like they behave realistically. Great review!

    • Yes, it was great to get my hands on one that really worked for me. The narrator was a great fit. I want to listen to more of her work.

      Thanks, Lola!