I really don't know why it took me so long to pick this book up. I read and absolutely loved The Anatomical Shape of a Heart a couple years back but for whatever reason, I was hesitant picking this one up. After finishing it, I'm so mad at myself that I didn't read it sooner.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another review, today it is Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett.

The story follows Bailey, a girl who moves across the country to live with her dad in California. She's excited to get away from her mom and stepdad's fighting, besides, Alex, the fellow old movie buff she's been messaging lives in the same area her dad does - maybe they'll even get a chance to meet. Until then, Bailey is stuck working at an old Gatsby-esque couple's house-turned-tourist attraction. Even worse, she's stuck in the ticket booth, dubbed by coworkers as the Hotbox, all summer. But there is one bright spot to her job - Porter Roth. He's quick-witted and charming, but also the opposite of Bailey in every way. Plus, she's still keeping an eye out for Alex, wherever he is.

Gah ok, so first, I've got to gush about the romance. Bennett sets us up with a nice slow-burn romance. Normally, these are hit or miss for me but Bennett does such a phenomenal job slowing working them together. It's no real spoiler to say that, at least until she finds Alex, the romance is between Bailey and Porter. The romantic tension Bennett builds between the two characters is so so good. From the very first time they meet, I knew that there was something there. It wasn't insta-love by any means, the groundwork is set early, but the romance doesn't fully develop until later in the book.

Like Bennett's other novel, I read this book in one sitting of a few hours. I just couldn't put it down! The writing was super easy to get into and the story itself was pretty unique. Bennett is cautious of building the rest of the story, not just the romance. The relationship between Bailey and her dad was really great, especially, as we often see in a YA, absentee parents conveniently written out of the story. Bailey also builds a friendship with Grace, one of her fellow co-workers, and while this didn't get a lot of attention in the book, that itself is an issue that gets addressed in the story.

Plot-wise, I really enjoyed this book. It was actually quite different from other contemporaries I've read, and its refreshing to see one set in summer, so we don't have to deal with the school aspect. The whole surfing aspect, as well as the traumatic past for both of them, added something unique to the story. I guess what I'm trying to say is that while this book is primarily a romance, there are other elements that look deeper into the character's pasts to add to the story.

I did have a few very minor issues with some things, the whole Alex situation felt a little drawn out towards the end, and I think Porter's reaction was a bit excessive. I also felt like every man and their dog has figured it out before Bailey did, and I like to think that she is more intelligent than that. I think I figured it out like 45 pages in, whenever we first met Porter. Either way, I felt like she could have figured it out a lot sooner.

Overall, a really great summer romance with some deeper elements.