Thursday, July 7, 2011

Book Review: Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt

By: Lauren Barnholdt
E-ARC From S&S Galley Grab
b&n // amazon
Published Date: July 12, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Book Format: Hardback; pp 320
Age Demographic: Young Adult

On the last day of her junior year, Hannah's boyfriend Sebastian dumped her. Facing a summer of loneliness, Hannah turns to her best friend Ava for comfort. Ava does what BFFs do: she stays by Hannah's side...until it's time for Ava to head up to Maine for the summer. Also left behind is Ava's boyfriend, Noah, who's such a great guy he gets Hannah a job at the diner he waits tables at.

Slowly, Hannah comes out of her funk thanks to Noah's good conversation and their fun times at the diner. But things get complicated when their friendship turns into attraction--and one night, into a passionate kiss.

The novel opens on the first day of senior year; the day Hannah is going to see Ava, Sebastian, and Noah all in one place. Over the course of the day secrets and betrayals are revealed, and alliances are broken and reformed. In the end, everyone is paired up once again, but not the way you might think.

*Summary taken from Goodreads.

❝My Thoughts❞

Sometimes It Happens was one of my favorite books that I've read this year, because it was so real, relatable, and the character's were strong and very well developed. I think Barnholdt did a phenomenal job of tackling the cheating issue, while still keeping all the character's true to the story being told. It was also a very smart idea to flip between the summer before and the first day of school, so the reader could get a sense of what happened versus what's about to happen.

Sometimes It Happens, was an easy book for me to read. Once I started, I just didn't want to stop until I was finished reading the last page. I'm not usually a fan of novels that involve cheating as a main plot, but the author made it almost incredibly hard not to want to see Hannah and Noah end up together. While, Hannah might have done a crappy thing by cheating with Noah behind Ava's back, I still very much enjoyed the character. She was highly intelligent, relatable, witty, and the perfect blend of sarcastic.

It made me realize that we're all human and we're all capable of doing crappy things to one another, sometimes we do them because we mean them and sometimes we don't and it just happens. This novel does a really great job of illustrating the "sometimes we don't and it just happens," and because of that I can't really be too hard on Hannah all that much, because she did feel bad for what she'd done. Of course she did have her moments, where she was completely blind to some things.

Noah proved to be a good friend to her, during the summer. He was able to pull Hannah out of her slump and manage to have a little bit of fun. I really liked him, because he was such a nice guy and it was very easy to see how they developed a friendship that slowly, became something more - something very real and meaningful to them. But, it was hard too, because neither one of them really wanted to hurt Ava, even though they both knew in the long run that it would. So, they did their best to ignore the feelings they had until they just couldn't deny them or hold back any longer.

I also found myself really enjoying the friendship that Hannah and Lacey cultivated over the summer, by bonding through similar experiences and making a pact with each other. It just felt more healthy and natural, than Hannah's and Ava's. That might be due to the fact, that we got to see a little more of Lacey and Hannah's friendship, rather than just being told through Hannah's point of view what her and Ava's friendship was like and how much it meant to Hannah.

Lacey was a lovable hypochondriac breath of fresh air and one of the bright spots of this novel for me. She was so much fun and provided pitch perfect comedy that only enhanced the novel a great deal. I truly enjoyed her a great deal and it was easy to see how her reaction to finding out about Hannah and Noah was one of the most realistic, not because she didn't want Hannah to be happy, but because she was more or less hurt that Hannah wasn't honest with her about it when she had called her to leave school and come pick her up. In the end, I'm glad that these two were able to remain friends.

I don't really want to say that I disliked Ava, but she wasn't my favorite either. At times, she could come off as a mean bitch, but that doesn't mean I think she deserved this either. Actually no one deserves this, I just hope that she was able to realize that neither Hannah nor Noah really wanted to hurt her.

Barnholdt very cleverly wrote this novel in such a way, that the reader was either meant to know or question that each situation was different. When Sebastian cheated on Hannah at the beginning of the book, it was almost expected that the reader feel anger and frustration towards him. Yet, when Hannah and Noah cheated, it was a bit different as it was a situation that just sort of happened where no one was really intended to get hurt. It was as much of a surprise to the two of them as it was the reader.

I really enjoyed reading this book, despite the fact that it involved cheating, which is usually something that I don't particularly care for. In this instance, though, it actually worked because I think it was unexpected in a sense. So, I have no problems recommending this book to anyone who enjoys the Contemps and giving it four stars, as well. I will definitely be picking up more Barnholdt novels in the future, as I enjoyed this one very much.


{Small Note: This book was received as an E-ARC through Simon Pulse via S&S Galley Grab, in exchange for an honest review which I have provided. No money exchanged hands, I review books for fun because I love to read. I am not interested in monetary gain.}

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