Here’s a secret I probably should be taking to the grave but am instead announcing on a public forum: I didn’t read my first Morgan Matson book until last summer, and I only bought the book–Since You’ve Been Gone–because it was a Kindle Daily Deal. But hey, we all make mistakes in life, like the time I cut my own bangs in seventh grade. After I read Since You’ve Been Gone, I went on a total MM binge. Let me tell you, I epically sobbed after reading Second Chance Summer. My best friend FaceTimed me while I was mid-crying, and she actually thought something serious had happened to me. Nope! Just a failure to handle fictional characters’ deaths! Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour was equally as good. Fun and thoughtful and emotional, and ugh, in a span of a week, I became Morgan Matson’s biggest fan. So, naturally, I pre-ordered The Unexpected Everything and binge-read it in a day. (If, like the formerly lost me, you’re behind on your Morgan Matson reading, there’s a whole boxset that can get you caught up!)
Andie had it all planned out.
When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.
Important internship? Check.
Amazing friends? Check.
Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).
But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.
Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.
And where’s the fun in that?
Let me just say, Morgan was not kidding when she said this is her longest book, and I’m not kidding when I say it took me all day to read. But despite its length, this book did not drag. Not even for a second. The story had many intertwining plots and they all moved forward at a great pace. This book was, in my humble (but ridiculously right) opinion, perfect. And that’s not a label I give to books, like ever!
At first, I was tempted to label this book the perfect summer read, because it will make you want ice cream and sand in your toes and the smell of chlorine in your hair, but it’s also not just a summer read. Like, you’re not going to leave this book behind in the BOOK SWAP bin at the tiny convenience store near your cottage. You’re going to want to keep it. And re-read it in like October or February or again next summer, because it has all the components of a really great YA contemporary novel.
It has strong female friendships, quirky but cute boys, an independent lead female who loves math and science but also cute dresses and Starbucks. There are complex family problems, and stories of the past that make you want to sob, and a dad who is trying. There are old-time movie references, and yellow mustangs, and fantasy novels, and sex positivity, but also it’s-ok-not-to-have-sex-if-you’re-not-ready positivtiy, and really cute puppies.
“I remembered the stick-on, glow-in-the-dark stars that had been all over the walls of the kid’s bedroom–the ones that looked pretty good until you had the real thing to compare them with, and then they just looked like pale imitations. I thought about the guy outside, and his galaxy theory, and as I looked up, I wondered which of these stars–the ones that seemed so permanent and fixed–weren’t actually done changing quite yet.”
– Morgan Matson
There is Andie, who I expected to be a boring/annoying perfectionist, but who wasn’t boring/annoying at all. She is a planner, like the book’s blurb says, but she plans for fun things! Like friends and scavenger hunts and boys and parties and dinner dates with her dad, and then also pre-med summer programs! She was a balanced teenage girl and I respected that.
Then, there are Andie’s friends: Palmer, Toby, and Bri. These four are total squad goals. And I felt like I was back in high school with my own best friends as I read. They each had their own summer jobs, but somehow made times for their BFFs. There was drama, of course, and secrets, of course, but ultimately there was BEST FRIENDSHIP LOVE, the foundation of all that is great in this world! And also, there was group chats, emoji-filled group chats. GENIUS, MORGAN MATSON. GENIUS.
🐳 💃🏼 😊 😁 ⭐️ ⭐️ 🍕 < What does this mean? Only Toby will ever know.
AND THEN, there was Clark. If you’ve read any Morgan Matson books then you’ll know she writes great guys. Clark, however, just might take the cake as her all-time boy. He was slightly awkward and totally nerdy but charming and adorable all at the same time. I felt my heart warm as he found his place in Andie’s friend group and as he and Palmer’s BF, Tom, formed a bromance. I mean, I obviously was really into the whole love story between he and Andie, but I also just LOVED that this home-schooled, sort-of lonely writer had found his people.
And you know what else I loved? The snippets of C. B. McCallister’s novels Morgan Matson interlaced throughout the book. Like, omg, that Elder was so wise! I would like to read A Murder of Crows tomorrow, please and thanks.
“The idea that you could rethink the thing you’d always thought you wanted and change your plan–it was a revolutionary concept. That you could choose what would make you happy, not successful.”
– Morgan Matson
So BFFs, go out and get yourself a copy of The Unexpected Everything, and while you’re out, pick up a tub of mint chocolate chip and some waffle cones. Trust me, after reading, you’re going to want it.
👯 🍦 👫 🌞 👫 👙
xo – Rosie
Rosie & Bean Rating: 5/5 donuts
PS. THIS IS MY FIRST FIVE-STAR R&B RATING, SO YOU KNOW I MEAN IT.