Co-Book Review: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Alex, ApproximatelyTitle: Alex, Approximately
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 388
Source: Target
Format: Paperback
Age Group: YA (Upper YA)
Genre: Contemporary


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.
SO, we thought we'd do it up a little different today and present you with a co-review of this book via 6 questions we came up and independently answered. Both of us absolutely adored this book and we really wanted to have fun with this little experiment. Hope it helps in your decision to pick this one up and thought we'd highlight that Target is offering a special paperback edition which was purchased for less that ten bucks! Can't beat that! 

1. What was your favorite part of the story?

Katie: There are so many different elements that I loved about this story. I love the setting. I love the online friendship/budding romance. I love the tale of the two people trying to find each other. I love the characters and seeing them grow and find each other. I love the old movies tie-in. I love the romance. I love Porter. I love that the story felt relatable throughout the whole thing. One of my favorite scenes is when Porter and Bailey first meet, I'm a sucker for a hate-to-love romance, so I was shipping them from the beginning.

Ilena: My absolute favorite part was how much this made me feel like I was smack dab in the middle of summer. This story takes place in Coronado Cove, a Californian oceanside town and I swear, I could picture the storefronts selling their ice creams and renting surfboards to locals and tourists alike. I'm from south Florida and live about 15 miles from the beach, which means I'm no stranger to all things beachy, so I think it's quite an accomplishment to make me feel as if I was experiencing something different but familiar at the same time.

2. Who was your favorite character and why?

Katie: This is hard to answer because I loved all the characters. I loved Porter's mom a lot. I wish that we got to see more of her. Her loving and open character completely drew me in. I also really loved Porter. He was a character that really surprised me throughout the book, I don't want to say why to avoid spoilers (you'll have to read to find out :)).

Ilena: I'd have to say that Bailey was my favorite character. I fell very much in "heavy like" with all the other characters but Bailey is a sensitive character, damaged by events which haunt her past. As the story progresses, it was nice to see her evolve, open up, and figure things out by the new relationships she develops. This is also why I think this story hits more of the upper YA because she's clawing her way through early adulthood and her issues are complex and intensified by very serious issues such as addiction, sexuality, and familial expectations.

3. If you moved to a different place during high school, would your obsession lie with your internet mate (who lives in your new state) or would the new surroundings completely take over?

Katie: It depends! I feel like I would have acted similar to Bailey. I think that I would be a bit hesitant to find the other person, but I'd try to discreetly find them at the same time. But part of me also thinks that I would tell the person and meet up with them soon after arriving, if they wanted to meet.

 Honestly, if I was Bailey's age, I'd have to say it would be the person I'd been gabbing over the internet with for the past couple of months. I was a bit boy crazy back then so I'd be consumed. And I would have been a super sleuth. But if I met a cute boy as soon as I arrived, it's easy to think my surroundings would include said new cute boy and this may have shifted my focus.

4. Did this story engage you from start to finish?

Katie: It did! I slowed down because I was so engrossed, and in love with the story and characters that I didn't want the story to end.

 Yes! I read this in one night and could not put it down.

5. Were there any aspects to the story that surprised you, like something you enjoyed that you don't usually or something that stood out to you that normally doesn't?

Katie: I'm a bit picky with contemporary, so this one surprised me in just how much I loved it. I loved that this was about all aspects of Bailey's life and was a really well-rounded story, which I don't think we see all too often. There was seeing her make new friends, there was some insight into her relationship with her parents, there was of course, the romance, and then there was also her growth as she moves to the new town and starts to try to find her way.

 I generally enjoy contemporary stories, and as I stated before, summer contemporary stories are my jam! But what did stand out were the roles the parents played in the story, including the relationships with the main characters. They were more active and they all affected the various choices the characters made in the story. And without spoiling anything, I appreciated the focus on the older characters of the story who worked at the museum with Bailey.

6. What is one thing you would change if you could? Or if nothing, one thing you really loved?

Katie: I was a bit turned off in the beginning by Bailey's attitude. In retrospect, I see that it was a natural process for her to go through. But I wish that it would have been recognized as that in the story. Or more so, that she recognized her growth.

 Honestly, I wouldn't change a thing. What I really loved was that this story had a little bit of everything. It dealt with serious, as well as lighthearted issues. It had swoon-worthy romance. And I think Jenn Bennett handled this dichotomy seamlessly.

If you could name one song that captures this story perfectly, which would it be?




  1. I've heard so many great things about this book. It's definitely on my wishlist. I can't wait to pick this one up. I love how you switched things up with this review too. So fun! Hope you have a great weekend!

  2. This was fun, and I loved getting your double review this way. I adored this book!
    Sam @ WLABB


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