Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Alex, Approximately is the perfect antidote to a heavy read. Summer-loving, resort beach town, adorable boys. Perfection. Bailey is making a major change in her life, leaving her mother in Washington DC to move across the country to live with her father in California. Her parents haven’t been divorced for that long but her relationship with her mother is becoming strained and she is hoping the move will help with some of her own anxiety. See, Bailey is one of those non-confrontational types. She wants to remain below the radar, blending into the crowd not standing out and she has a good reason. Another benefit to moving is she just might actually meet her online friend, @alex. They met on a film fanatics site, have the same taste in movies, and have been chatting online for months now. Alex just happens to live in the same town as her dad but she can’t seem to tell him she will be there in real life. What if he isn’t what she pictured? What if they don’t like each other in person? What if… The beach town of Coronado Cove is full of surfers, a boardwalk with plenty of churro carts, and a quirky museum in which Bailey will be working all summer. Her dad, a CPA, seems to have settled into his life here well. Bailey can’t place the mood right away but realizes her dad is actually happy- something she hasn’t seen in a long time. Not only did he get her a job for the summer, he bought her a restored Vespa to drive around the town. Bailey loves it- the Audrey Hepburn circa Roman Holiday scooter pairs well with her perfectly perfect Lana Taylor pin curls. Her plan for summer is to work and to find Alex before he finds her. She has a map and clues from his conversations. She knows he works for his parent’s business, which he doesn’t love. It’s on the boardwalk, by a churro cart, and a very specific cat that hangs around his store. If only there weren’t a million churro carts and surprisingly more than one cat, this would be easier. On days she isn’t sleuthing out Alex’s whereabouts, she spends it at the tourist museum, the Cave. One of the quirkiest places around, she is tasked with working the ticket booth, aka the Hotbox due to it’s no air conditioning or air circulation. She meets Grace, a delightful sprite of a girl, and Porter Roth her official archnemesis. If he wasn’t drop dead gorgeous with a surfer’s body to match, it would be much easier hating him. She soon learns that Porter’s family is surfing legend around these parts. His grandfather, father, and now his sister are all professional surfers. Oddly enough, he isn’t and she wonders if it has anything to do with those scars on his arm. Despite their arguments and Porter’s ability to make Bailey feel completely inadequate, it is obvious that these two have some major chemistry. And, yes, it’s completely adorable. As they spend more time together, her guilt over not chatting with @alex starts to fade.I’m not sure why the author chose to tell the reader upfront that Porter is Alex, not that I didn’t see that coming a mile away. I don’t know if it was so, as a reader, I could focus on Bailey making the realization, or to trust Porter more in the beginning. I’m still not sure. Regardless, I loved this story of Porter and Bailey. Their romance isn’t perfect, especially since both of them have a hard time being honest about what really scares them in life. This book made me very, very happy.