Thursday, April 20, 2017

Review: Alex, Approximately

Alex, Approximately
By Jenn Bennett
Published: April 4, 2017

In this delightfully charming teen spin on You’ve Got Mail, the one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online by “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 arch-nemesis. But life is 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.

My review:

Bailey and her family have been through a lot. Her parents are divorced and her mom has remarried but she and Bailey's stepdad have been fighting a lot so Bailey decides for her own peace of mind to move to California to live with her dad instead. Another bonus is that her dad happens to live in the same town as "Alex", a guy she knows through an online group for film fanatics. Bailey is thrilled but also scared to be so near to where Alex is. She decides she will try to find him using clues from his posts. If he seems like a decent guy in real life, then she'll introduce herself. In the meantime, Bailey gets a job at The Cave, a local museum where she makes a new friend, Grace and makes a sort of enemy in Porter. They start off on the wrong foot but Bailey starts to feel differently about Porter as she gets to know him. 

I love You've Got Mail so I was immediately intrigued by the premise of this book.  I like that Bailey is into classic movies and that she has her own vintage sense of style. Bailey describes herself as an "Artful Dodger" and "evader". She doesn't like confrontation and she likes relationships to be uncomplicated. Unfortunately for her, life doesn't work that way and she finds herself challenged to grow beyond that. Bailey has something dark in her past that she has to work through as well.

At first I didn't think I'd like Porter because he comes across as a bit of a jerk but I know that is because of the "You've Got Mail retelling" aspect of the story. Like Bailey, Porter has his own issues to deal with involving a broken friendship and his complicated relationship with surfing. I liked how his relationship with Bailey develops first online and then in person while they don't know about their online connection. 

I also liked the other relationships in the book, namely the friendship between Bailey and Grace and the positive relationship between Bailey and her dad. They are very close and that is nice to see considering the difficult relationship Bailey has with her mom. Grace is a fun character and she challenges Bailey to come out of her shell. The setting is fun too. I liked learning a little bit about surfing and the beach community. The museum sounds like an interesting place to work though I'd hate to work in a hot cramped ticket booth all summer!

Overall I thought this was an enjoyable contemporary romance, perfect for summer reading. I'd suggest this to fans of You've Got Mail as well as readers who like Sarah Dessen, Emery Lord and similar authors.

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss


  1. This book sounds like a win-win for me as I love movies and a summer romance. I'm going to wait and read this for the summer. Can't wait!

  2. You sold me on this one! I will have to get a copy from the library and make sure I read it this summer. I LOVE You've Got Mail, so this one has been on my radar for awhile now. Great review, Christina!

  3. I keep seeing this one and I kinda want to try it. I like the You've Got Mail angle too and I also like the surfer angle, for some reason. Sounds like a good read, I'll probably have to get this one!


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