The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.
Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as 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 archnemesis. But life is a 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.
“Sometimes you have to endure painful things to realize that you’re a whole lot stronger than you think.”
So it’s October, but I’m pretty much in denial and still living in this fantasy world where it’s still summer. Or at least, that’s what it seems, if you look at all the summery contemporaries that I’m still reading. Which is kind of pathetic, since I’m not even enjoying all of them, but hey, a girl has to dream, right?
Alex, Approximately is about Bailey “Mink,” a film geek who moves from the East Coast to the West Coast (west coast best coast amirite??) to live with her dad the summer before her senior year in high school (I think…she’s 17 anyways). She gets a new job at this museum where she quickly begins to fall for her charming but irritating coworker Porter. But in spite of this, she’s still looking out for this mystery boy, Alex, who she chats with about geeky films online, who doesn’t know that she now lives in the same city as him. But of course…Alex is Porter!!!
The fact that Alex is Porter is revealed in something like the last five chapters of the book. It’s built up to be this dramatic reveal. But don’t worry about being spoiled–I didn’t just spoil you because that’s literally in the synopsis of the book. Which might actually be the most annoying part of this book because WHY? I mean, yeah, it’s a predictably teen romance book, and it’s pretty obvious that Alex is Porter, but I would still appreciate being 90% sure Alex is Porter instead of being told right away and not having any suspense about it at all.
The whole Alex and Mink/Bailey online chatting looking for each other in real life thing was actually kind of sketchy and annoying for me as a whole, though. Even though they live on literal different coasts, there’s talk in their chats of Bailey flying all the way across the country to meet him and watch a movie on the beach. And then they send these flirty messages to each other, and seem to think they’re going to become a thing and if they see anyone else, they’re cheating on each other. But like…um…internet safety, anyone? If I hadn’t known that Alex was Porter from the synopsis (and this was a predictable teen romance book) I would be all like…um…what if Porter is some creepy 50 year old leering at his computer taking advantage of a teenage girl. How can you imagine kissing someone online if you literally don’t even know what they look like (and, again, could be a creepy 50 year old?) Why would you even tell some online stranger who you don’t even know their real name where you live? Why would you blow thousands of dollars flying across the country to see a movie with a stranger who could be a creepy 50 year old?????
Honestly, I feel like you could just take out the whole Alex thing and it would still be a good story. Maybe even a better story, since the Alex things are only little excerpts from online chats, and probably add up to like 20 pages or so in the whole 300+ page book.
Another thing that made me slightly uncomfortable was that in the beginning, Porter kept teasing Bailey/joking about how he’s 18 and so cool that he can work full time and have sex with anyone. But then a little later on he mentions how he can’t technically have sex legally with Bailey because she’s still a minor (17) and he’s a legal adult (18). And then this is never brought up again and they have sex. And I’m like……….. why did you even mention that it’s illegal if they’re going to do it, and never think about it again? I would have been more comfortable with it if they were both 17 or both 18, or even if the legality issue was never mentioned.
SOOOO aside from those things I genuinely really did like this book. I feel like this happens with a lot of fluff contemporaries I review–objectively, I don’t have much good to say about them, but I end up giving them high ratings because they’re so fun! I mean, I can’t really objectively write about my all the feels and smiles and emotionsssssss.
Aside from the weirdness of Alex/Mink/that whole thing, I really loved the relationship between Bailey and Porter. They had such fun conversations, and I loved how they joked with and teased each other. I think they really brought out great things in each other.
Speaking of that, Bailey definitely had some great character growth throughout the novel. She starts shy and unwilling to do things, scared, but by the end she’s more assertive, more willing to go after the things she wants instead of just shying away and hiding in the shadows.
Overall, not the best objectively, but still decent, and in terms of the feels, definitely a great guilty pleasure read!!