Friday, June 10, 2011

Book Review: Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt

Pages: 320
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: July 12, 2011
Source:  S&S GalleyGrab
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."

Hannah's last day of junior year couldn't be worse.  Her boyfriend, Sebastian, makes out with another girl right in front of her at a party and she finds out her best friend, Ava, is spending her summer in Maine working as a camp counselor.  Hannah must alter her entire summer plans, but thankfully, Ava's boyfriend, Noah, got her a job at Cooley's Diner for the summer with the hopes that Hannah could save up for a car.  As Hannah is learning to pick up the pieces of her life this summer, she becomes better friends with Noah and Lacey, who also work at the diner.  They help her move on past Sebastian and as she is moving on, Hannah realizes she has feelings for Noah and maybe he has feelings for her too.  Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt is an addicting tale told in a series of flashbacks filled with secrets and drama.

Hannah, although she makes bad choices from time to time, is a likable, girl next door type of character.  I had a hard time dealing with the fact that she thinks way too much and over analyzes everything, but I'm sure I did the same thing when I was her age.  Barnholdt includes a lot of Hannah's inner monologue, which at times was inquisitive, but also hilarious.  Her friend Lacey, the quirky hypochondriac, also had me laughing out loud as she was one of my favorite characters.  Of course, Noah, was dreamy and his conversations with Hannah was one of my favorite aspects of the novel.  Noah, in my opinion, was swoon-worthy at times, but I also wanted to tell him to put his big boy pants on and grow a pair.  I felt like he let Hannah take the fall for a few things and he couldn't stand up to Ava, which annoyed me, but he made up for it with his witty banter.  Ava, on the other hand, was a horrible person.  Seriously. She lies, she's egocentric, superficial, and insufferable.  I don't know how Hannah puts up with her array of "it's all about me" behavior.  At times, she would try and be the good friend, but then other times, her behavior indicated that it was obvious she doesn't care about anyone other than herself.

While I was reading this story, I thought it was a lot like Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin, except for a younger audience.  Ava is a lot like Darcy and I think that is why I instantly couldn't stand her.  I wanted to say, "Hello!? Contrary to popular belief, the world doesn't revolve around you!" If you enjoyed Something Borrowed, I think you would definitely like this novel's premise.

Barnholdt tells the story alternating between the first day of school senior year and then flashbacks to the summer of junior year when many secrets and an interesting turn of events are revealed.  I thought this was done extremely well.  Barnholdt would reveal more and more through each flashback and I was begging for more information and backstory as I pieced the puzzle together.

Although this novel reminded me of any old teen drama one might find on MTV, I think many high schoolers will enjoy Sometimes It Happens this summer and get lost in the quick pace, the witty dialogue, and the intense drama.  As for me, I am now a Lauren Barnholdt fan and will definitely be checking out her other novels this summer.


  1. This one sounds like a fun read. I'll be checking it out soon for sure!

  2. "Noah, in my opinion, was swoon-worthy at times, but I also wanted to tell him to put his big boy pants on and grow a pair."

    Hahaha, love it:) This one sounds full of all sorts of teen drama and all that angst never fails to suck me in. Thanks for the review Christina!

  3. I love how you mention the MTV drama flashes ;) Great review.

  4. Excellent review! I haven't read Something Borrowed but the description of Sometimes it Happens reminds me so much of Elizabeth Scott's The Unwritten Rule.

  5. I really enjoyed Sometimes it Happens. I didn't get around to reviewing it yet, but I thought the characters were amazing. Especially Noah. Excellent summer book!

    I'm a new follower btw ;)

    Kind regards,
    I Heart Reading


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