Do you believe in the Murphy’s Law that says ‘there is no perfect plan‘? I do. And I do it with such vigor that I dread making plans. And reading about Type A personalities that have all their plans fail does no good to me at all. Yet the things we do for the love of reading. Read about one such summer plan in The Unexpected Everything and find how it turns out.
About The Unexpected Everything
Book Name: The Unexpected Everything
Author: Morgan Matson
Genre: Fiction – Young Adult, Drama
Characters: Alexandra Walker (Andie), Palmer Alden, Sabrina Choudhury (Bri), Tobyhanna Mlynarczyk (Toby), Alexander Walker.
Setting: Connecticut, The USA
Plot Summary of The Unexpected Everything
Andie is the type A daughter of the Congressman, Alexander Walker. She has been told what to talk, when to smile and how to live. She has a close knit group of friends who are supposed to be together forever. Her love life is designed to last for three weeks and without much heart break. This summer everything changes.
Her father takes a leave from his office due to some political scandal and her pre- pre -med internship falls through and all the good spots are taken. Her on-off relationship with Topher is getting dangerous and even he has an internship at his father’s office. And to make matters worse her friends are fighting over a boy.
But there are a few good things as well. First she meets a very cute and nerdy guy, Clark. Then she get to be a dig walker (Trust me it is good). And her relationship with her father improves or they at least try to. You need to read the book to know more.
Book review of The Unexpected Everything
I had seen The Unexpected Everything being raved by so many of my favorite bloggers for a while now, so I was excited to read it for my A-Z 2018 reading challenge. So I knew I was not going to disappointed by this one. And I wasn’t.
On the positive side, it has all the ingredients of a perfect read – a group of smart girls who are best friends, a lot of dogs, and a super nerdy male lead, who is an author. Sounds perfect right? Sadly, it took me a lot longer than I thought it would take and I don’t think it is a good thing.
Things that worked for me
- I loved Morgan Matson’s writing. The dialogues are witty yet very realistic.
- Andie’s friends are super normal (and that is a rare thing these days) and the author makes sure we are engrossed by their tale right on.
- The chemistry between Clark and Tom was just perfect. They are “cool guy friends” and it didn’t feel forced. Usually I hate how forced the friendship is between the boyfriends of besties.
- I also liked that Andie and Clark were not all consumed with love. I mean I liked the romance but it is just part of the whole story.
- The scavenger hunt theme was awesome. Why are my friends not having one?
Things that didn’t work for me
- The book is sooooo long. It is a YA contemporary, it need not be over 400 pages. At times I just wanted to give up.
- There were places where the pace of the story fell and I just couldn’t keep myself awake. And then all of a sudden it ends. Sigh.
- The story line is super predictable and there is nothing that you have not read elsewhere.
- I never got how the father – daughter dynamic improved. I mean they did have years of strained relationship, and a couple of dinners made it all good? Hmm. maybe I am over thinking this.
Bottom – line
Despite its flaws, The Unexpected Everything is definitely a cool YA contemporary that glorifies friendship and is perfect for a summer beach read or a snuggled up read on a rainy afternoon. I will definitely read Morgan Matson’s other books, if they were a tad shorter than this one.
Reviews of related books
Let us chat
Have you read The Unexpected Everything? Have you found any other book of the author’s and liked them? Do you believe in Murphy’s law? Let us chat.
Thanks to the holidays and festivities we have all started realizing (read as dreading) the kinda havoc that the dysfunctional families would be unleashing this year.
8 bookish dysfunctional families from my favorite books
To get you through the myriad of unwanted questions (Any wedding bells yet? Baby in the making?) and the offensive comments (No, you can not say that word anymore) arm yourself with one of these books with the worst of dysfunctional families. At least they will make you feel better about yours.
Read some of other listicles here:
8) Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
What happens when you find your ‘favourite’ child’s body in the bottom of a lake?
Meet the Lee’s, a quintessential Chinese American family from the 1970s. Jason Lee is a US-bred guy of Chinese descent who would give anything to fit in. He puts in his focus and efforts on making his daughter Lydia popular and has friends, like a normal American teenager.
Marlyn Lee, his wife, an American woman who wants her daughter to achieve things that she couldn’t. Their oldest Nathan and youngest Hannah suffer their invisibility in silence. The siblings are set to determine the cause of the death of Lydia. How this broken family grieves her death in isolation and guilt under one roof forms the rest of Everything I Never Told You.
7) A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer
This real-life memoir of the author, talks about his childhood spent being abused by his mother. Dave as a child was beaten, starved and tortured by his emotionally unstable mother, who considered him a slave, even calling him ‘It’.
He pretended everything was fine at school coming up with excuses for his bruises and stealing food from his classmates. Having two brothers who got off easy and an alcoholic father who neglected the whole situation puts the Pelzer family on my dysfunctional family list. A Child Called “It” is no book for the weak hearted.
6) The God of small things by Arundhati Roy
Roy’s portrayal of the Ayemenem, Kerala in the 1970s left a nostalgic tinge when I first read years ago. But what stuck with me far deeper was their family. The main protagonists of the plot are Rahel and Estha fraternal twins who are parted by circumstances for years.
As kids, they had to live with their Uncle Chacko at their late grandfather’s family estate when her mother Ammu divorced their father. Ammu is a free spirit and was not someone who would follow the rules, even for her kids. While their childhood was far from peaceful, the twins had at least each other. But an incident changes everything in their lives and now Estha doesn’t speak anymore. The God of small things will work both as a compelling tale as well as a masterful social commentary. Read my review here.
5) The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
In about 50 pages Gillian Flynn makes the Burke family spooky enough to be listed on my most dysfunctional families list. Susan Burke requests our narrator to visit her house to heal their haunted house. Looking for some quick bucks she agrees, only to realize she has gotten involved in things far more than she bargained for.
She realizes Susan’s teenager son Miles is creepy and wile and her house has a darker and sinister past. And even Susan is not as dumb as the narrator assumed her out to be. Read The Grownup to know more about the unreliable Burkes and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Read my review here.
4) We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
A blinded father, a mother who did not want to be one, a sister who feared everything and a 15 years old psychopath who killed nine people in a high school massacre – how is that for a dysfunctional family?
We Need to Talk About Kevin is written in the form of letters from Eva, a writer to her estranged husband Franklin, narrating the incidents of their lives until the day before the fated Thursday. Their son Kevin killed seven students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher who tried to befriend him two days before his sixteenth birthday. This international bestseller set in the 2000s definitely should be on your to be read list.
3) Mummy’s Little Angel by JW Lawson
Speaking of bad mothers, Joanna could not love her twins Annie and Maggie any more than she already does, and as any good children do, they both compete to become their Mummy’s Little Angel. The Stokes family have faced a lot worse in the past – Joanna is mobility impaired, her husband is shot and is labelled a paedophile, one of her twins is disfigured and suffers from amnesia due to a fire accident and the other twin is blamed for it all and is imprisoned.
The timing could not be any worse for her schizophrenic mother, who had abandoned her twenty years ago, to come back to their lives. What more could her daughters be hiding from her? Find out with Joanna by reading Mummy’s Little Angel. Read my review here.
2) Dark places by Gillian Flynn
7 years old Libby Day testified against 15 years old Ben, her brother in the case of the bloody massacre of her family. Their mother, Patty was shot in her head, both Patty and Debby had been slaughtered with an axe, and Michelle was strangled to death.
Libby herself has been affected mentally by the event and is on medicine to help her cope. Now after twenty-five years, she visits her ghosts and tries to remember the day of the horrific event and her equally dysfunctional family or whatever is remaining. Gillian Flynn is one of my favourite authors and this definitely is one of the most disturbing books I have read, by far. Read my review here.
1) The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
As far as dysfunctional families go, the Lisbon’s can easily be the toppers. With all of their five daughters committing suicides could there be a worse dysfunctional family? The strict and devout Christian mother who never let the girls out of their sight did not let them date or even attend dances except for one.
Their submissive father who could not live any duller life in their all woman house did not help their case either. Once the youngest one Cecilia succeeded her attempt in committing the rest of the family came tumbling like a house of dominoes, while the entire neighbourhood watched. The Virgin Suicides is one of my favourite books to read not just for the plot but also its beautiful prose. Read my review here.
What are your favourite families with dysfunctional families? Let me know which fictional family would make me feel a lot better about mine. And more importantly, share your secret excuses to get away from the family dinners quickly *wink wink*.