Sometimes It Happens Review

Monday, May 30, 2011

Title: Sometimes It Happens
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: July 12, 2011
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 256
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.


  1. I totally agree about the whole 'sometimes it happens' thing... that "message", if that's what it was, really really bugged me, especially because I thought what happened really didn't need to happen. Especially at that time or in that place. It was just so sudden and jarring compared to what had been going on all summer.

    I think I managed to say that without being too spoilery, haha. But yah, I wasn't the biggest fan of this one at all. It was decent enough for a quick, fun read, but I wasn't impressed with it overall.

  2. Not a fan of contemporary but I do think this one sounds like a cute read. The issues that you have with the book definitely have me second guessing reading this though. It's definitely a pet peeve of mine when the description on the cover does not accurately portray the plot of the book. Hmm, I'll probably skip this one. Thanks for the review!

  3. I am having second thoughts about reading this book, after reading your review. I was slightly interested in the book, but the issues you mentioned have deflated my interest a bit. Misleading synopsis can be so annoying!

  4. Thanks for sharing your opinion. I have this book to read and I'm looking forward to it :) Donna

  5. Great Review Melissa! I'm glad you pointed out the narration and the heavy foreshadowing. I like a little, but not a lot. I'd kind of like to figure it out for myself. Don't think I'll add this to the list. Way too many to read as it is.


  6. Great review Melissa. I am probably going to skip this one. I find Barnholdt's books a bit hit and miss.

  7. Sounds like a cute, simple read. Perfect for those lazy summer days, I think!

  8. I am starting to get tired of the girl drama contemp novel and this one sounds like one I will pass on as it just sounds like it is too much of the same stuff. As always I love reading your reviews as I can count on you for an honest evaluation of the book.

  9. Oh no, not another misleading blurb. They just tend to annoy me a lot

  10. Oks, now I'm a it worried.
    I haven't had a good experience with Lauren's books before - I loathed Two-Way Street or the hookup-in-ever-page book as I call it - but I had sort of hopes for this one.

    now I'm not sure.

    I shall give it a try though.

    Thanks for the review!!

  11. I love my contempts, but having an idea of whats to happen after the second page? Is a no no for me. Great honest review.

  12. I don't like it when a synopsis is giving away too much, or the title. I love to be surprised too!

  13. I haven't read this author before, but I have this one downloaded to my reader. I think it sounds like a fun summer read, so I'll be checking it soon. Hope I'm not disappointed! :)

  14. I've been hesitant on reading this book b/c of that "message" it's proposing in the synopsis. I have issues with books that involve cheating. It just doesn't sit well with me. Holly Schindler's Playing Hurt did not go over well in my mind. However, Elizabeth Scott's The Unwritten Rule portrayed it nicely.

    Thank you for your honest review, Melissa. I do love Lauren Barnholdt - so I may give this a shot at a later date.

  15. Fantastic review as usual:) I have to say I'm on board with your miniature rant about "sometimes it happens" because there are usually choices involved that lead to any outcome. I am curious to see how everyone pairs up again though:)

  16. Yeah, I'd have to agree with your mini-rant.
    Other than that, though, the book sounds interesting! Glad to hear that the characters really stand out. :)

  17. This one sounds like it falls in the "good enough" category. I do like books that have a conversational tone. Makes it easy to read.

  18. Thanks for the review! I have been looking forward to this book!

  19. l have really wanted to read this and when l read your review and you mentioned how it goes basically back and forth in time it put me off because l think that would be too confusing BUT it's good to hear it wasn't. Thanks for an honest review (as always!)

  20. I love Lauren Barnholdt and am looking forward to this one shame you didn't love it but glad overall it was good for you :)

  21. "The entire fate of her senior year"

    Ha! You are brilliant, Melissa. Oh, the drama of high school. How much I miss it. Seems like this book would be a great way to reminisce. And yes, I'm with you. It doesn't have to happen.

    Is it just me or does the cover not seem to fit with the story?

  22. Sounds like a nice summer read! This one is in my TBR pile


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