Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: July 12, 2011
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: S&S Galley Grab
On the last day of her junior year, Hannah's boyfriend Ryan 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, Ryan, 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...
Hannah isn't quite sure where she belongs in the social hierarchy anymore. She's been a best friend, a peacemaker, a wallflower and she's about to embark on the first day of her senior year, but there's a nagging suspicion in her mind that everything's about to change. She's right. When Hannah's friendship with her best friend's boyfriend crosses the line into something more while she's away, friendships, relationships and the entire fate of her senior year is on the line, and there's a good chance everything she's built is about to unravel. Will everything Hannah has fall apart? And, if so, was it worth it in the end?
Sometimes It Happens easily fits into the chick-flick niche of the YA contemporary genre. With a host of female characters, plenty of drama and a steady-paced plot, it's one of those books that moves from start to finish with no real hiccups. Author Lauren Barnholdt has a fun, conversational tone that I'm now familiar with from her other work such as One Night That Changes Everything. Allowing the reader direct access to the main character's mind, Sometimes It Happens gives us a firsthand look at both an internal and external character struggle without becoming preachy or overbearing. Fun and flirty, cute and heartbreaking, Sometimes It Happens is sure to find a home on many a teenage shelf.
Now, while I really love the overall tone of Sometimes It Happens, I'd be lying if I said I didn't have some issues with the book. First of all, the synopsis as presented is misleading, and I'll say that I knew what had really happened to Hannah about two pages into the book because the foreshadowing was so heavy. I'm all for a bit of a hint of what's to come, but I'd really rather it be a surprise. Sometimes It Happens also features a bit of an interesting pace, that I think I'm leaning towards liking, though I wasn't sure at first. The book starts in the present, then shifts back to three months ago, giving us a bit of background, then shifts back to present-day. Luckily, Sometimes It Happens does this with ease, and it didn't feel too jarring. Here's my real issue with the book though, whether it be more personal opinion or not - I'm simply not an advocate of that statement "sometimes it happens." True, but it doesn't have to. Rant over. Being objective, I liked the development of Hannah's character, loathed Ava and her nasty streak, enjoyed Lexie's fun attitude and actually found myself liking Noah. Good characters can usually make up for what a book is lacking.
All in all, Sometimes It Happens was a cute read. Did I love it? Love is a strong word, so no, but it was fun, and it was a quick, easy read. I give it a 3 out of 5, and I'd recommend it to fans of the YA genre, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction.
I received this eARC free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.