Published: May 6th, 2014 by Simon & Schuster
Another backlist title for you today. I'm going to be upfront and say The Unexpected Everything is still my favorite of Morgan Matson's books, and Second Chance Summer comes in second. (THAT WORKS OUT PERFECTLY.) I haven't read Amy & Roger's Epic Detour yet, but I can't imagine I'm going to like it more than The Unexpected Everything.
Emily's loss of Sloane really struck a chord with me. She's been in Sloane's shadow ever since they met, which isn't quite my situation, but she's always relied on Sloane to make decisions for them, to decide when and where they go out, and Emily follows because she's more shy, more scared, a little bit of a different kind of person than Sloane. And in that, I really relate to her. And suddenly, Sloane disappears and Emily is left staring at a bleak, friendless summer. (This is basically 100% my summer. My best friend didn't disappear in the middle of the night without a word, but we are definitely no longer friends.)
But Sloane's disappearance is beneficial for Emily - she really starts to come out of her shell, which I enjoyed, although it's where I lost a little bit of the connection to her. She manages to find new friends that are a different sort and that I think are really just healthier friendships in general. Sloane certainly helped push Emily out of her comfort zone, sure, but I think Frank and Collins and Dawn made Emily genuinely want to do the things she was afraid of, whereas when Sloane was actually around it felt a little more forceful to me?
(Side note: How do people in books make new friends so easily??? Sure, there were a few of those awkward moments, but THEY MAKE IT SEEM SO EASY.)
And that's the thing, for me. I don't think Sloane and Emily's relationship was entirely healthy, and I think that's probably not a very popular opinion. I don't think Sloane was a bad friend, of course, and I'll admit that I skimmed a lot of the flashbacks because I just found them boring and uninteresting and every other synonym you could think of. Plus I just harbored this irrational dislike of Sloane? I DON'T KNOW, GUYS. IS IT JUST ME?
Also, this is super shallow and annoying, but I hate the name Frank. Obviously it didn't ruin his character or anything for me but I HATE THE NAME FRANK. You know what else I hate? When one half of a ship is in a committed relationship with someone else for the majority of the book. I know angst is important in novels but I DID NOT ENJOY READING ANYTHING ABOUT LISSA EVER.
BUT. I loved the way Emily and Frank's relationship progresses, the way they become such great friends before anything romantic happens. I love the way Frank supports Emily and pushes her to do things she's afraid of but still lets her move at her own pace, doesn't force her if she isn't ready. It was just such a genuine friendship and romance without all the theatrics, which I really appreciated.
tl;dr: Not my favorite Matson book. While I enjoyed it, it just wasn't as captivating as I had hoped. However, I think it's a beautiful story of friendship and how to really enjoy life, and a good reminder that sometimes you just have to do things you might be afraid of. 3.5 stars. (Maybe like a 3.75 but I DON'T HAVE ANY CATS FOR THAT.)