Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 3, 2016
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?
The Unexpected Everything was a book on my MUST HAVE IMMEDIATELY list since its cover was released, because what book doesn’t scream best summer read EVER when there are puppies and ice cream trucks on the front? And honestly, just as all of Matson’s other novels, it’s perfection on paper.
Andie, an intense, do-it-all, Congressman’s daughter, is the character The Unexpected Everything is centered on. She’s driven, focused, and completely out of her element when a scandal in her father’s office gets her admission to a summer pre-med program revoked. Stuck without a plan for the first time in a very long while, Andie manages to wrangle herself a job as a dog walker. She might find it to be the lowest of her low summer options, but she grows to love the job and discover that not everything in life is about what looks good on a resumé.
Obviously, the main draw to The Unexpected Everything is the romance, and Clark is potentially the best of Matson’s book boys. Clark was the perfect blend of awkward and cute, with his geeky t-shirts and embarrassment around Andie. And he’s the complete opposite of Andie’s strict, 3-week, use ’em and lose ’em guide to dating. He challenges her, coaxes her to reveal more about herself than what’s on the surface, and brings out a side of Andie that rarely sees the sun. Plus, he’s a writer. Come on. Book boyfriend perfection.
Where there isn’t romance, there’s friendship, and Andie is a part of one of my favorite friendships in a book to date. Everything from their in person conversations to text messages and dares, their friendship is everything I ever wanted to have in high school, and it was a blast to live it during this book. And what is arguably the most fun and intriguing part of the friendship is the scavenger hunt created by Palmer and the night of insanity that follows. I read the whole section with a smile on my face.
One of the more surprising aspects of The Unexpected Everything was the relationship between Andie and her father. It was touching to watch their estranged relationship mend and grow after Andie’s father is forced to take a step back from his political life and spend more time under the same roof with his daughter. Both have learned to live separate lives over the five years since the death of Andie’s mother, and there were so many adorable moments between the two as the book moved forward. Especially the aforementioned scavenger hunt, but I’ll leave the details for you to discover.
Sure The Unexpected Everything didn’t really have any huge moments of conflict until the last 70 pages or so, but it was still such an engaging, entertaining, and fulfilling read that the lack of conflict didn’t really matter. And when the conflict did appear, it felt very real in the way only books can seem to accomplish. It’s the glory of a teenage summer, wrapped up into one 500-page novel.