1.5 stars. Oh boy, how dense can a person be? SPOILER ALERT : Very. But we’ll get back to that. Ultimately, Alex, Approximately reminded me why I didn’t do so-called “cute” YA romance anymore, being that whole annoying package and all :
1) The plot lacked substance. Or, rather, I feel like I’ve been misled, because somehow I thought that I’d get a)funny online convos, b)some kind of TENSION with the slow realization that appearances can be deceptive, perhaps the characters actually FINDING OUT THE TRUTH OR SOMETHING.
No such luck! First there are barely any interactions between Alex (Porter) and Mink (Bailey) online, and they’re not what I’d call witty or entertaining. Yawn. Secondly it dragged so. much. and there’s only so much horny, teenage sappy romance I can take. And that’s all I got! With such a stereotypical love interest! Whaaaat.
You wouldn’t believe how tired I got of those “beautiful curls” and that “slow grin” of his. I just. I mean. DEAR GOD.
2) I didn’t care for the Not Like Other Girls act that Bailey played on full speed. God, I didn’t care for her, period. Indeed there was something really grating about her voice, something I can’t pinpoint exactly but that made me wish I’d DNF early. PERHAPS HER PRETENSION. WHO KNOWS.
3) As it’s too often the case, important issues are completely thrown off a cliff for the sake of the romance, and I’m not here for that : in Alex, Approximately, we have Davy, Porter’s ex-best friend, who’s got chronic pain since a surfing injuring and who starts doing drugs. Yet nobody helps him. Nobody. His addiction to source pills then heroine is treated like something that can go away “if only he’d be willing” and he’s basically characterized as a villain. Sure, he does shitty things and I’m not saying that he should be let off the hook, BUT I was shocked at the amount of victim blaming going on there. And then Porter is some kind of hero because he fights this guy and puts him in the hospital? All while Bailey’s thinking things like, oh, he’ll need pain medication, that’s just lovely, given his addiction and ARGGGG give me a fucking BREAK. Look, I have chronic pain. My body can’t stand most medication and I don’t have an addiction issue, but for real?? This hurts. A lot.
But I’m supposed to be okay with that because “[Davy] is such an embarrassment.” Right. What a decent friend you make, Porter. I THINK THE FUCK NOT.
4) Then there’s this time when Bailey’s dad tells her that she’s a great detective and EXCUSE ME WHILE I CHOKE ON MY DRINK?? She just wanders around, oblivious?
I’m calling this girl Bailey from now on alright
Oh, and she has that cute little notion that there are different kinds of stalking and that everything is about intent and hmm that’s not how it works?
5) I’m not sure that I’m comfortable with the way the “”trust”” conversations enfolded because somehow their trust looks very much like “you must tell me everything at all time” and what happened to keeping some kind of secret garden? Is that not allowed anymore?
6) Don’t believe people that tell you that Porter and Bailey’s relationship is a hate-to-love romance because a) they “”hated”” each other for about ten minutes (more like Porter being a prick for absolutely no reasons, but moving on) and b)their hormones got the memo almost instantly : ME LIKEY (are you cringing at this sentence? Because I did). HAVE TO TOUCH. LET’S HOLD HANDS. I was bored out of my mind, can you tell?
7) The writing was average and just not that compelling.
The only reasons I didn’t go with one star are :
– there is diversity : Bailey’s friend, Grace, whose parents are from Nigeria ; Porter’s mum is biracial (Chinese and Polynesian) (also she rocks, I love her) ; Porter’s dad is disabled ;
– the talk about consent before sex ;
– the last ten pages in which we finally get to see what I’d been waiting for during the whole thing, yes yes yes despite the stupid drama, I enjoyed it, at least something HAPPENED, god.
All in all, I think that’s fair to say that I don’t get the appeal. I just don’t.