Waiting on Wednesday: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

The Unexpected EverythingPublisher: Simon & Schuster

Author: Morgan Matson

Release date: May 3, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Andie had it all planned out.

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks)

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing – if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.

And where’s the fun in that?

Why I’m excited: How I know I’m going to love this one:

Morgan Matson? Check

Friendships? Check

Family feels? Check

Really looking forward to this one, and I’m so excited that I have an eARC to start soon! I love Morgan Matson’s writing, especially when it comes to friendships. Plus, add in some family and boy drama, and this one sounds like the perfect summer read. And look at that adorable cover!

ARC Review: The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Effect US CoverAuthor: Graeme Simsion

Genre: Contemporary, humor, romance

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: December 30, 2014

352 pages, hardcover

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Simon & Schuster for letting me read this. 

Let me start off by saying that if you haven’t read The Rosie Project, this review could possibly spoil it for you. It is impossible to talk about the sequel without telling you the ending of the first book.

Alright, if you’re still here, The Rosie Effect starts with Don and Rosie now living in NYC; Don is working at Columbia as an assistant professor and Rosie is finishing up her Ph.D. They have been married for 10 months and 10 days (I love how technical Don is). Rosie surprises Don by telling him that they are pregnant (note that I said “they are” pregnant). Don reacts in his own way and, of course, struggles to connect with the Baby Under Development or Bud. Because he doesn’t understand a lot of social protocol, he gets in trouble with the law. Hijinks, heartwarming advice, and heartbreaking events ensue.

I’m so torn on this one, you guys. I wanted to love this so much more than I did. One thing that I still loved was Don. Even though he is outrageously frustrating at times (he has a lot of faults, most of which aren’t his fault, and these get him into a lot of trouble and sticky situations), he is charming and tries so damn hard in his own way. I fell in love with him again, which was why it was so heartbreaking to see him struggling to know how to deal with this situations he finds himself if. He is adorkable and oh so charming.

SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON’T WANT SOME SPOILERS: On the other hand, Rosie loses pretty much all of her charm. She decides that Don has no say in what happens to her or her body, stops taking her birth control without telling Don (Don and Rosie had decided to wait), and gets pregnant. She is in the middle of her Ph.D. thesis and program and has no plan for how to take care of the baby once it comes. And then she gets mad at Don when he is not immediately excited and attached to Bud. Um. What? She becomes mean, petty, even rude, and she changes it from “we are pregnant” to “my baby”. It’s like she completely forgot who Don was and the type of person he was (even though she’d accepted him and knew who he was when she married him). The way this plays out is completely heartbreaking and I spent most of the novel hurting for Don.

A favorite quote (taken from an e-ARC and subject to change in the final version). Excuse the language, but it’s funny to me.

I am well aware of my incompetence in predicting human reactions. But I would have been prepared to bet on the first word that Rosie would say when she received the information. I was correct by a factor of six.

“Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.”

The bottom line: This Guardian review said The Rosie Effect was “twice as long and only half as good” as The Rosie Project, and I think I might have to agree. I’m struggling to rate this one because there were still things I loved about this book (Don – mostly, the feels, the writing, seeing the world through Don’s eyes, the ending) but Rosie’s changes pissed me off and Don’s idiosyncrasies got a little out of hand and were very frustrating at times.

Rating: 6.5

Book Review: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Second Chance SummerTitle: Second Chance Summer

Author: Morgan Matson

Genre: Contemporary, YA

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date:

Paperback: 468

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

How did I get this book: Bought

Fair warning: don’t finish reading this book on Father’s Day. I did, and I bawled like a baby on my dad’s shoulder for several minutes. I’m glad I had him there to hug while I did. This was me:

Crying gif

Let’s start with a brief synopsis:

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

What I thought:

You know that the ending of Second Chance Summer is coming right from the beginning, but there is absolutely nothing you can do to actually prepare yourself for it. Like I said, I BAWLED. I curled up next to my dad and hugged him hard and just bawled. There are books that make me cry, I mean that’s what happens when an author makes you feel things, but I don’t usually cry this hard at a book, like ever. So I think that there’s something to say about Matson’s writing in this case. She made me feel everything that Taylor feels so much that it almost felt like my own father had died, which, now that I think about it, was not a great thing, but her writing is very true and real.

Of course, it’s not just the ending that makes this book…great? Can you really say great about something like that? I don’t know. Anyway, just like with the other Matson book I’ve read (Since You’ve Been Gone), I thought all of her characters were fleshed out and three-dimensional. Taylor’s two siblings, Gelsey and Warren, were full, real, and believable. I really liked Warren; I think I would’ve had a crush on him if he were real. He has an inability to stop himself from sharing all these facts about the things he’s read or learned, so his family gets facts about how Coca Cola originally started (an accident; they were trying to make aspirin) and a bunch of other things. He’s nerdy, and I like that. 🙂

I thought that the drama that happened between Taylor and her childhood friends, Lucy and Henry, was also pretty believable. I think the reason behind their drama makes it so that Taylor is flawed in a way that a lot of people can relate to her.

Okay, on to the thing that irked me. I don’t know about other people’s experiences, but these are my own personal experiences. What 12 year olds have relationships like Taylor and Henry’s? Taylor was “fully aware of his presence next to me (page 162)” while on a date with Henry. Really? But then Henry had to show her rocks and insects in the woods that would “blow her mind.” I just don’t think the immaturity of that really fits in with a relationship like theirs. The prose used to describe their attraction to one another is too deep for a 12 year old. The possibility of Henry kissing her seemed to “infuse every day” and then they make out a lot. She comments on the fact that she’s spent her whole life reading about things in Seventeen and now it’s happening to her. Again, really? You’re 12. NO. Also, later, when we’re with Taylor when she’s 17, Henry’s younger brother, who is 12, thinks that kissing is disgusting. It just doesn’t fit. Especially when you add to it the drama between Taylor and Lucy and Henry. As I said before, I liked how Matson handled this drama because it was very believable. But it was believable because she was 12 and that’s the kind of drama you have when you’re 12. You don’t have these kinds of relationships though. So yeah, I didn’t really like the chapters when Taylor was 12 because it wasn’t relatable and realistic. On the other hand, I thought the romance between Taylor and Henry when they’re 17 was sweet and wonderfully done.

Then we’ve got the real basis for this plot: the Edwards family. They start off the novel not really talking about their feelings or the fact that their father is dying; Taylor doesn’t even remember the last time she told her father she loves him. I can’t even really imagine that. I tell my family I love them several times a day. As the novel progresses, they get closer and become a unit, a family. By the end of the novel, they are each other’s support system, and I loved the growth of their family. They learned what was really important and to draw comfort and strength from one another. It was sweet and I enjoyed reading a book that supported the idea of family.

The bottom line:

I really liked this book, just as I knew I would. It was very emotional, but also sweet and wonderful, and it the importance of family, which I loved. While I didn’t like the romance between Taylor and Henry when they were 12, I really liked it when they were 17. I would definitely recommend this book.

Rating: 7.5 (between pretty good and freaking fantastic)

Reading next: Necroscope by Brian Lumley (can you tell I need something COMPLETELY different?)