Welcome to the week of love, aka the week of Valentine’s Day. If romancey books/posts aren’t for you, I recommend unfollowing me right now, because you’re in for a bad week.*
*I’m just kidding please don’t unfollow me I love you
When I was deciding what book review to open this week up with, I decided it had to be a romance book I enjoyed. And I decided I wanted it to be a recent one that I haven’t found the time to review yet. So here is Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett, which I read this summer (so obviously recently).
Let me tell you, this book came at exactly the right time. I had just gone through a phase of extremely mediocre contemporary romance, and was feeling very disillusioned. And here comes a well-written, adorable, hate to love contemporary romance that just made me laugh, cry, and love. Someone say perfect timing?
The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.
Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.
Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is a whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.
And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.
Okay I have to say this. The one major, major flaw in this book is that we know Porter is Alex literally before even reading the book. That takes away so much of the stress and tension. Bailey’s struggling between Porter and Alex??? Lucky for her they’re the same person! And there are all these little hints throughout the book suggesting that Porter is Alex, but they are really only there for Bailey’s benefit because we already know they are one and the same. I feel like it could also make you a little predisposed to dislike Bailey (not that I did) because all these hints seem super obvious and you’re like gosh Bailey why can’t you see it…but they’re really only super obvious because we know.
But besides that flaw, I loved everything else about the plot! I appreciate a good hate to love, and this book exemplified that. Just the right amount of tension and cute little maybe I don’t hate you moments to make me happy. I also like the idea that they were coworkers. It’s a little different than the classic school buddies, and they work at a museum! So they have cute little history buff moments. Also, I appreciated the movie appreciation in the book because even though I’m not a movie lover, I’m a book lover, I got secondhand excitement from what all the movie buffs must’ve been feeling.
One thing I really loved was that this book wasn’t all sunshines and rainbows and unicorns. Don’t worry, it still gives you that happy, light feeling once you finish, but these characters deal with real stuff. There were serious moments mixed in with the lighthearted ones. And Bailey and Porter don’t spend the whole time complaining about what’s happening to them. They acknowledge it sucks and move on.
As always I loved the characters. Try and find me a book I rated highly when I disliked the characters. You won’t.
Bailey calls herself The Artful Dodger. And boy is she right. This girl evades everything, but in an endearing way that it just feels relatable instead of annoying. As all good romance books are, this isn’t just a story about falling in love with another person, but about falling in love with yourself. And this is Bailey’s love story with herself. I don’t remember a ton about Bailey tbh but I remember thinking just how relatable she is and seeing myself in her. If you’re looking for a good, strong, kind, relatable contemporary heroine, look no further.
But my real favorite character is Porter. He might even replace Peter Kavinsky as my favorite book boyfriend of all time.
But maybe not because that’s a big deal and really can anyone beat Peter???? But Porter is definitely up there. He’s this adorable surfer boy but omg when he’s Alex he is SO DORKY. And he and Bailey’s convos in both of his personas are so heartwarming and sweet and FUNNY. Porter was legitimately funny! AND JUST SUCH A SWEETHEART. I was rereading some of his quotes and I swooned. That is all. Just a swoon.
Some other character notes:
- Bailey’s dad was so dorky and the cutest little bean ever to exist
- Grace is Bailey’s friend and like go her and their friendship
- Yay to girl love and boo to girl hate (which did not happen because this book is amazing)
- I just still love Porter
- Bailey dresses like she’s out of a classic Hollywood movie (helloooo Audrey Hepburn) and I LOVE it
Wow so writing this review just gave me the hugest urge to reread it soooo peace out! If you want to find me I’ll be curled up with this book in my hand because I need a good romance to kick off this week.
Update: I just finished rereading it and it is just as good as I remembered! Porter, marry me PLEASE.
Have you read this book? What did you think? Have you read other books by Jenn Bennett? If so, should I read them? How much do you love Porter? Do you have any other hate to love books for me?