The Unexpected Everything is a captivating and gorgeous novel, written by Morgan Matson.
Andie had it all planned out. When you’re a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn anything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.
But when a scandal throws Andie’s life into disarray, she loses her internship and finds herself spending the summer in the same house as her dad and walking an insane number of dogs. And then she meets Clark – a somewhat mysterious boy who helps her realise that if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?
As a massive Morgan Matson fan, I was beyond thrilled when I received an ARC of her latest release from Simon & Schuster. But you know when you love an author’s books so much that you have this irrational fear that their new book will be awful? That’s what I was feeling. Even after reading and loving Since You’ve Been Gone, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, and Second Chance Summer, there was still that gnawing fear eating away at my subconsciousness. However when I turned open the first page and found myself transported into Matson’s gorgeous world once again, I knew I shouldn’t have been so foolish. The Unexpected Everything was everything that I’d hoped for – and then some. It was beautiful and bittersweet and a book that will transform the world’s Cat People into Dog People.
Like Matson’s other novels, The Unexpected Everything mainly focusses on the relationships between all the people that we fall in love with throughout the course of the book. Three particular relationships that Andie formed really stood out to me: her relationship with her father, her relationships with her friends and her relationship with Clark. I always love seeing how Matson places such an emphasis on the relationships of families because I feel that these take a back seat all too often in YA fiction. Seeing Andie’s relationship with her dad grow and change as the novel progressed would definitely have to be one of my favourite aspects of this spectacular novel. It was beautiful to see how they got to know each other again after spending so much time apart and how they slowly learned to trust one another again.
Andie’s friendship group reminded me a lot of my own. It consisted of Palmer (and her boyfriend Tom), Toby and Bri. Another thing I feel Matson particularly succeeds in is creating intriguing and unique backstories and personalities for each of Andie’s friends. That’s another thing that I also feel is lacking in YA fiction: realistic and honest portrayals of teenage friendship. I often see too much emphasis placed on the romantic relationships in novels, and so I feel as though the platonic ones are deemed less-important by writers and readers. However, The Unexpected Everything allowed us to see the strong and lasting relationships between these friends and also showed us the true meaning of friendship.
The romance in this novel was, of course, swoon-worthy. If you’ve read any of Morgan Matson’s other novels, this wouldn’t come as a surprise to you. Clark was adorable and sweet, though the thing I loved most about him was how he allowed Andie to realise that she could do the things she wanted to do, not just do the things she believed other people expected her to do. It was also great to see that Clark wasn’t the soul contributing factor to Andie’s realisations. Yes, he helped her to realise what the things were that really mattered to her, but he didn’t force her into making the decisions. I hate it when the love interests try and mould their counterpart into something their not or are the thing that miraculously changes them into a ‘better person’ just because they fell in love. However, this definitely wasn’t the case in The Unexpected Everything. He just prompted her to come to these realisations herself, and I think that shows how much he cared about Andie’s happiness.
Andie’s character growth was also something that has to be mentioned as being an exemplary aspect of this novel. Honestly, it’s hard to decide what to comment on because I loved everything in this novel and would happily talk about it all – but that would result in me writing an 80,000 word review. For the sake of not boring you to death, I will try to keep it a bit shorter that that. But yes, Andie’s growth was beautiful to observe. We were introduced to someone who was ruled by their ‘plans’ and who was more worried about their future than their current happiness into someone who realised that there’s more to life than sticking to your plans. In that way, she kind of reminded me of Q from Paper Towns – except her self-realisation wasn’t prompted by a somewhat dubious character who could be described as a ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’.
Overall, The Unexpected Everything was everything I had hoped for from a Morgan Matson book. It filled me with joyous laughter and reduced me to tears, captivating me from beginning to end. I’d give The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson a score of 10 out of 10! I highly recommend reading Morgan Matson’s novels. So let’s discuss! Have you read any of her books? If this one on your list? I’d love to know!
Thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!