Alex, Approximately

400p. ebook available. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481478779.
Gr 9 Up—Bennett's updated homage to You've Got Mail starts with two teens bonding online over their love of classic films. But will they be simpatico in real life? Bailey Rydell, aka "Mink," is a self-described "habitual evader" and an "artful dodger" who lives far away from her online friend "Alex." When Bailey moves across the country to the California town where Alex lives, she worries that "meeting real-life Alex could be great, but it could be one big awkward disappointment." Nonetheless, she begins a methodical search for her friend in the small town of Coronado Cove, but little does she know, a curveball is coming her way. Bennett has skillfully created a modern teen romance with a retro-cool vibe. Nods to Roman Holiday, North by Northwest, and other films appear throughout the novel, and quotes from iconic classic movies frame each chapter. The contrast of a sexy surfer love interest with Bailey's Lana Turner—inspired persona effectively creates tension. Adrenaline-fueled chase scenes, misunderstandings, complicated tragic backstories, and missed opportunities drive the narrative forward. Bennett's charming protagonist is equal parts introverted fashionista and vulnerable yet resilient heroine. There are a few mature references to sex, drugs, and drinking. Steamy romantic scenes capture the anticipation of young love and are carefully crafted to build to the inevitable and satisfying conclusion.
VERDICT This contemporary romance is recommended for film buffs who appreciate witty repartee and a touch of the nostalgic. A strong addition to romance collections.

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