Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Alex, Approximately

Rate this book
Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online by “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 arch-nemesis. But life is 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.

In this delightfully charming teen spin on You’ve Got Mail, the one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

400 pages, ebook

First published April 4, 2017

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Jenn Bennett

22 books4,779 followers
Jenn Bennett is the author of over a dozen books for children and teens, including: ALEX, APPROXIMATELY; STARRY EYES; and GRUMBONES. She also writes romance and fantasy for adults. Her books have earned multiple starred reviews, been Goodreads Choice Award nominees, and have been included on annual Best Book lists for both Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. She lives in a haunted house near Birmingham with one husband and two dogs. Visit her at www.jennbennett.net.

Follow her on:


Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
15,756 (31%)
4 stars
20,004 (40%)
3 stars
10,560 (21%)
2 stars
2,495 (5%)
1 star
780 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,177 reviews
Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.7k followers
November 14, 2022

Like...I hate books that are cringey, and I hate books that are pretentious, but it’s so rare for me to get the opportunity to hate one that is BOTH!


Ughhhh. God. I’m someone who is extremely susceptible to the charms of an old movie, so when I saw that there was, essentially, a retelling of You’ve Got Mail (a fairly good movie, I guess) in which old film brings the ~romantic interests~ together, I had to be in.

And then I read the first 20 pages and cringed unbearably and put it to the side for, presumably, ever.

Yes. I planned on DNFing this book after 20 pages. Just so everyone knows: I never ever do that. EVER. But I instantly knew this book was going to be ALL WRONG.

But then I saw a metric sh*t ton (one of my favorite phrases, by the way) of positive reviews. From very trusted sources! And I’m not just talking, like, three-and-a-half-stars “fun fluffy read” reviews. I mean five star, this book is amazing reviews.

Unfortunately, my dumb gut was right the first time. So let’s talk about why this book is garbàge, using the Caraval review structure I only whip out when books got a whole lotta sh*t goin' on.


We follow Bailey, who leaves her dirty rotten mom behind in DC to live in sunny SoCal with her cool nerd dad. Bailey is a cinephile, apparently, and writes (flirty!) messages back and forth on a cinema forum with this kid Alex. Guess where Alex lives? In the same small town as Bailey’s dad. Guess when Bailey tells Alex she’s there? Ding ding ding! If you guessed “Never, for reasons that are stupid,” you’re today’s winner!

Anyway, Bailey meets this kid Porter, who she “hates” (for all of 20 pages before the whole thing dissolves into sexual tension and smut, never to return). But guessssss whooooo Alexxxxx isssss? Just kidding, you don’t have to guess. It’s in the f*cking synopsis. It’s Porter.

Now we just have to wait for the dumbest protagonist in world history to figure out what has been increasingly apparent since, like, page 5. GRUELING.

Going to try one of my world-famous character impressions on for size. Here’s Bailey:

Wow, am I ever going to find Alex? All I know about him is that he loves old movies, and has best friend problems, and works in his family’s business on the boardwalk within view of the ocean by a stray cat and a churro cart, and doesn’t know if he can go to college because his family needs him, and watches movies at work, and has a coworker who smokes a sh*t ton of weed, and that his girlfriend cheated on him. It surely can’t be Porter, who was in the old movie section of a DVD store, and knows Roman Holiday and old sci-fi movies and a million others, and has best friend problems, and works in his family’s business on the boardwalk within view of the ocean by a stray cat and a churro cart, and doesn’t know if he can go to college because his family needs him, and watches movies at work, and has a coworker who smokes a sh*t ton of weed, and whose girlfriend cheated on him.

Semi-spoiler alert: Bailey NEVER FIGURES IT OUT. Her f*cking dad does, and so does Porter. PORTER HAS TO TELL BAILEY IT’S HIM. My God. The sheer idiocy is overwhelming. And to think, her dad told her she’s a “good detective.” In the immortal words of Alicia Silverstone, “As if.”

On top of this sort of mind-boggling, makes-me-wanna-claw-my-eyes-out stupidity, this book was also so pretentious and made me cringe so often. I ALMOST DNFED IT TWICE.

I just feel so lied to. All I wanted was a contemporary with some chat logs and old movie discussion, and I was CHEATED ON BOTH FRONTS. I’m so anguished it makes me fear for my caps lock key. The online messages are few and far between, and those that we are granted are less than impressive, and really the best old movie discussion we get is from the quotes at the beginning of the chapters - WHICH INCLUDE FILMS LIKE PITCH PERFECT AND CLUELESS AND EASY A! Don’t get me wrong, all great movies, but not exactly anyone’s idea of vintage!!!!!!!!!!! Ugh.


And also, guys, in case you needed a disappointment cherry on top of this infuriating sundae, Bailey is so totally not like other girls. The first example arrives at the literal beginning of the book: “It’s not exactly the kind of movie you ask a girl out to see when you’re trying to win her heart - not most girls, anyway.”

This is when I put this thing down for a couple weeks.

When I returned, rested, rejuvenated, hopeful, I was dealt another blow: “I’m not going to be one of those girls who goes wobbly-woo over a boy and picks at her food.”

Poor Bailey. How does she survive as the only tolerable female in the entire universe?


Bailey also sh*t talks the East Coast constantly? And I mean, I’ve grown up on East Coast beaches. And my question is: What the fuck kind of East Coast beach was Bailey going to? Where does the ocean smell like “bleached metal” and make you want to “roll up a window”? Sweet Lord Jesus. It smells like an ocean. It’s great. Maybe that stick up your ass is impairing your sense of smell. And when she’s standing in the f*cking woods, she rants and raves about how that’s just the kind of Quality Smell™ you just can’t get in the east. Um, it can smell like “pine” here too, you ding-dong.

Continuing along the path of misguided pretentiousness, this book goes on a rant about Breakfast at Tiffany’s that cut me to my soul. Don’t misunderstand me: Mickey Rooney’s racist-ass character is supremely f*cked. It’s far from a perfect movie. But people are allowed to like it! It’s a classic! My God, this book, man.


Now let’s talk about that full-on cringe-fest, baby. This book substitutes a plot with gooey looks and smut and I guess what would be considered the stepping stone between flirting and sexting. It’s always just a couple of hot and bothered teens, and it made me SO UNCOMFORTABLE. I don’t like smut much in the first place, but when it’s a first-person seventeen-year-old girl talking about her daydreams and fantasies and masturbation habits and what I can only describe as a passion for getting fingered...it kinda makes me wanna Die™.

And God, a light breeze could turn this girl on. Here are some examples of things that spur Bailey into fantasizing in public:
- Handholding
- The cringeworthy-by-itself phrase “Porter likey”
- Extensive injuries from a fight
- Porter informing her she should wear sandals more often because he likes her feet (GAG ME WITH A SPOON)
-Generally being glanced at, touched by or close to Porter


And nowwww it’s time forrrr - GENERAL STUPIDITY! I haven’t had the privilege of writing one of these sections in a hot sec. Longtime, long-suffering followers know that this is the section I use for books that contain small mistakes or irritations that just don’t make sense.

In this book, it’s mostly the dialogue. For example, when Bailey meets the forty-year-old cop girlfriend of her father, guess what said cop says?

I’d bet you a hundred thousand million dollars you didn’t think it’d be this: “‘I like your brows,’ she finally says. ‘Glamorous.’” THAT’S LIKE A FORTY-YEAR-OLD FEMALE COP SPEAKING TO A TEENAGER.

Something that just kind of bothers me: Bailey’s hair is constantly described as being like Lana Turner’s. People even recognize her hair as being in the style of Lana Turner’s. But Lana Turner didn’t HAVE just one hairstyle! She had like, a million pinup girl variations! I just want answers. Which one which one which one?


So, remember the briefly aforementioned best friend of Porter? The one he “hates”? That best friend’s name is Davy. Davy screwed up his leg surfing so badly he still limps years later. When he was prescribed painkillers, he, like many people, became addicted to the prescription. So when the prescription ran out, he continued to (illegally) source pills. Later, like many people, he moved onto the much-more-affordable heroin. That’s an addiction that is almost impossible to break, and, we’re told, the sh*ttiness of Davy’s family life only spurs him more toward drugs.

But none of that is handled with the understanding it deserves.

Instead, Davy is treated like the villain of this book. All characters carry nothing but disdain and hatred for him. They act like it’s his fault and he should ~just stop~. When he shows the warning signs of many addicts, like stealing and lying, they blame him. Porter beats the sh*t out of him at one point.

But the worst bit of all is what Porter says to Bailey about his supposed best friend, who is addicted to maybe the worst drug out there. “I’m less worried about him right now, and more worried that you’re sorry you ever gave me your number and will never go out on a date with me, because now you’re thinking all my friends are trash and we really have nothing in common.”

Yup. Yes. He’s not that worried about Davy being on one of the most addictive and dangerous drugs in existence. And on top of it, Davy’s “trash” for that addiction.


Great book.

Bottom line: I said a-nope, nope, nope-ity nope, I said a-nope nope nope-ity nope!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.7k followers
September 20, 2019
a recipe guide to books by jenn bennett:

3 cups sunshine
1/4 cup fluffiest of fluff
1 tablespoon happiness
a pinch of teenage sass

mix together and bake at the highest level of love for about 300 pages. finish and enjoy your perfectly crafted book of contemporary goodness.

in other words, this book is so sweet, i think ive just contracted type two diabetes. and you couldnt tear the smile off my face if you tried.

4 stars
Profile Image for Warda.
1,209 reviews19.7k followers
June 10, 2018
I mean, I couldn’t stop grinning and feeling things about this book!
I love Jenn Bennett. Definitely one of my favourite contemporary authors now.
Bailey was relatable as hell. Especially her way of avoiding shit and not being able to confront her own feelings.
I loved that she was into movies, dressed quirky, her relationship with her dad and how she slowly started to open up and accept her flaws.

Porter, dear god. Why are fictional boys so damn swoon-worthy? I was getting flustered because of that boy.

I wish some of the things she touched upon, i.e. Davey and his drug abuse, Porter’s family, Bailey’s relationship with her mom, was expanded on more. I think it would’ve added more meat to the story and made the characters even more tangible.

But, I wanted cuteness and I was overloaded with that. Love is magic, people.
(This’ll only last for a short while till I’m back to my cynical old-me, this-world-sucks-no-men-will-ever-live-up-to-fictional-men-like-ever self).

Pre-reading feels.
Someone said that this is a YA retelling of You’ve Got Mail.

I’m ready to die with cuteness overload.
Profile Image for L A i N E Y (will be back).
395 reviews696 followers
June 10, 2017

Bailey Rydell is an evader.

Me: Oh dear, 'relatibility' = 0 → 100% in 3 seconds flat.

Speaking as someone who in high school have literally run away from who she was currently in 'relationship' with. And this happened more times than I cared to share, suffice to say my friends were utterly baffled. It was très complicated, let us say. And I may or may not still be that girl when it comes to relationships but I digress ....

Alex, approximately: super cute & funny YA contemporary with flowing first person narrative writing starring Bailey Rydell, the Artful Dogder & the extra adorable surfer boy named Porter Roth who sometimes more adorkable, but I'll take both, you can keep the change! I loved Bailey's voice a great deal and that's why the book was so enjoyable to me.

{{The Scene Stealer Awards goes to *drum rolls* Pete Rydell for being the cutest geeky Dad ever!}}

The characters, the writing, the romance all very engaging - there was not a time I thought it boring, which believe you me, not an easy thing to pull off. So, bravo Jenn Bennett whose works I've just now sampled.

I get a little flustered but not enough to stop wanting the moon muffins.

Loads of food appreciation in the book which means A.) bye-bye my diet plan. and/or B.) google is my friend (life of a foreigner...) Whatthehell is 'moon muffin' anyway? And who do I have to date to get some?! (Sadly for me, the answer of course is Porter....)

I'm so ready. I am Mink.
Hear me roar.

rating: ★★★★½

Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,838 followers
April 29, 2017

Buddy read with the walking spoiler and the walking spoiler jr.

I swear, I don’t think a You’ve Got Mail retelling CAN go wrong.


Reasons Why this Book is the Greatest™
- Bailey is relatable as hell
- Porter Roth owns my heart
- Bailey’s dad
- Porter Roth’s face

I want to spend the rest of my life searching for You’ve Got Mail retellings and reading them. I will be MORE than content with my life.


You know when a book has EVERYTHING that could possibly make it perfect and it’s CHARMING and HILARIOUS and RELATABLE and SWOONWORTHY???!!! Yeah, that’s this book.

Kids, let me give you my honest, genuine advice:

Love yourselves and read the bloody book!!


5 fricken stars and all the heart eyes in the world!!!


I've been waiting for this book since late 2015 and the wait WAS. SO. WORTH. IT.
Profile Image for Maditales.
581 reviews23.8k followers
August 10, 2023
I’m sad about this.
I’ve read multiple books by Jenn and was excited but sadly disappointed.

Bailey is oblivious. In the beginning it was funny but after a while I just couldn’t grasp how her FATHER found out the secrets before her????
Her father doesn’t even know anything except one small detail like wth??? HOW COULD YOU NOT GUESS THIS AT ALL???? HUH.

And don’t get me wrong I love love love fake identity books but I don’t like it when the blurb of the book already reveals everything, or when it’s made too obvious.
Anyways, I still really liked Bailey’s backstory since it was really interesting and unique. I also liked how it was involved in the rest of the story, including her relationship with her parents.

I still would wish that the book had a few less plot lines since there is quite a lot and it gets very very full.

Overall I feel like if I had read this before reading any other books by Jenn, I think I might have liked it more. Sadly I didn’t so I already had expectations from last experiences with her books.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,919 reviews33.1k followers
August 26, 2018
4.5 stars!!

 photo IMG_1887_zpsd4ud7vvr.jpg
The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Alex, Approximately is the second book I've read from Jenn Bennett and I think I loved it even more than the first. Both of this author's YA novels have been huge wins for me. I hope she continues to write more of these charming, heart felt, and addicting coming of age stories!

Bailey Rydell moves across the country to live with her dad. She has a thing for old movies and is in an on-line group for like minded others. That is where she meets Alex. She's never met Alex, but she's got a bit of a crush on the guy. And he's from the same town her dad lives in. Once she's there, she does everything she can to find Alex (aside from telling him she is in California) and while doing all that, she meets Porter.

Porter is not a guy that Bailey would normally go for. He's a surfer, he's a bit cocky, stubborn, and all around just not her type. At least, that's what she thinks at first. It's plain to see that even though these two are opposites in a lot of ways, there are sparks between them. This leaves Bailey conflicted. Porter, the real guy she's falling for, or Alex, her online friend she's liked for a long time. This may be even more complicated than we know...

Porter was an amazing character. I loved everything about him. Though I had a hunch about the twist in this book, it didn't make it any less fantastic when it was revealed. I wasn't surprised, but I loved it all the same. Bailey was also a great character. Honestly, there wasn't much I didn't like about this book. It was all around pretty wonderful. I listened to the audio book and enjoyed the narration as well. One of my top favorite YA books I've read this year and one I'd highly recommend!
757 reviews2,350 followers
November 12, 2017
Okay I've heard so much about this book and how it's a YA, cute ass retelling of You've Got Mail and I reallllly wanted to read it. But like,,,, I never watched you've got mail UNTIL I DECIDED TO READ THIS BOOK.

Anyways, I watched the movie then I read the book and I thought the movie was much better.

This is honestly cute and all, but not a memorable read.

Just a small list of things I liked:
-P O R T E R
-He can come marry me like YUM.
-I think her name was Grace I forgot it's been a week.
-The MC's dad is the cutest human to ever exist.

-What was the deal with that drug addict kid?? I really wanted to learn more about his character.
-the MC's mom is like not even there once the mc moves
-The story was really bland and uninteresting at some points and nothing exciting was really happening.
-The romance was kind of meh I'm sorry.

Overall, this was not a bad read, but not really the greatest thing either. I know I rated this 4 stars but in reality it's a 3.5 and I'm knocking it down to 3 stars because it was just meh cuteness.

UPDATE: I just finished watching YOU'VE GOT MAIL AND AHAHAHAHA OH MY GOD SOMEONE FANGIRL WITH ME. I'm so frigging ready to read this book now.

uhhhhh what is You've Got Mail??
Profile Image for theburqaavenger➹.
126 reviews566 followers
February 17, 2021
Satire Reads: Conversations between Me,Brain and Heart

Me: Also called "The Judge"/decides ratings/is tired of brawls between Brain and Heart/loves Ice-cream/is always confused.
Brain: Too arrogant/Too sarcastic/uses a lot of gifs/tries to give books low ratings(always wins)
Heart: Loves everything/hates Brain/tries to give every book 5 stars(never wins)

EPISODE 1: Stupidity,Approximately

Me: Brain!
Brain: Ugh...Present.
Me: Heart!
Heart: Present!!!!
Brain: Why are we here? In the courtroom? Why are we not watching "The Office" ?
Heart: Now now Brain don't be so-
Brain: Shut it.
Heart: You-
Me: Stop IT!! Both of you. We are here today because even though we had decided our rating, Heart came with a complaint last night
Brain: FINE! Just do it quickly.
Me: Okay! So we read "Alex,Approximately" and we absolutely hated it.
Brain: Hated is a small word.
Heart: *sadly* I agree. It was awful. Even I was bored. And I am NEVER bored.
Me: I agree Heart. After reading this i was actually looking thinking of buying the book.
Heart: Oh Brain! Not the gifs again.
Me: Not a TRAITOR!!! I was wondering maybe we had read some wattpad smut fiction.
Brain: I predicted it.
Heart: But i thought I might like it. You never like anything.
Me: I am so confused now. *looks at Brain* Heart is saying we should give it 1.5 star while you are saying that we should put it in trash because you don't want to give even one star.
Brain: Lassie,listen *thinks* We were bored. And for us bored is more awful than anything.
Heart: But everyone loved it!
Me: Let's talk about what we did and didn't like.
Heart: I agree.
Brain: Idiots.

The Plot

Me: Ugh it was awful.
Brain: I know!
Heart: It wasn't that bad.
Me: It was Heart.
Brain: Pfft Heart! Look, she goes to a town where "that" person lives and the dumb idiot sees that St. Peter likes movies,has bestfriend problems,works in the family business,has a motherfucking cat,has a fuckin' girlfriend who cheated on him but. . . SURELY HE CAN'T BE ALEXA
Heart: I know it was-
Me: Brain is right Heart.
Heart: *is crying silently*
Me: And you know something even worse than that shit?
Brain: What?
Heart: I can't take it *sobs*
Me: *ignores Heart* The dumb girl didn't realise that perfect St.Porter WAS Alex. The person who didn't even know she was coming realised it AND SHE DIDN'T!!!!!!!!
Brain: I am dead Judge.
Heart: You guys are awful.
Me: Did that NOT happen Heart?
Heart: It did.
Brain: And who the actual fuck wrote the synopsis? The whole story is summarized in it.
Heart: Stop swearing.
Brain: FLAG IT!!
Heart: NO!
Me: Brain calm down. Heart of course we won't.
Brain: AND I THOUGHT THEY FREAKIN' TALKED EVERYDAY! But when do we see them talk? In the last chapters OF COURSE.
Heart: And remember that part where her dad tells her she is a great detective?
Me: *nods approvingly* That was stupid.
Brain: She was like:

Heart: Woah stop swearing.
Me: And the whole dumb shit about "The Maltese Falcon"??
Brain: And *laughing*and remember she gets a cut-
Heart:And *joining in* the whole thing about those quizzes-
Me: And WHERE WERE THE MOVIE TALKS???? and the whole trash about addiction victims?
Brain: Dayum.


Me: Don't even get me started on this.
Heart: Brain people will kill us-
Me: And I have another one:

Heart: *looks at the door* let's move on.

The Relationship

Brain: They hated each other for 10^-10000000000 seconds and then they were iN LuRveeee.
Heart: It wasn't that bad.
Me: Okay Heart I am Virgin and Brain is St.Peter.
Brain: Oh my doodlekins
Me: My honey buns. Let's touch.
Brain: *touches*
Me: *giggles madly*
Brain: *giggles madly*
Heart: Guys now you are exaggerating.
Heart: Fine....


Me: 1 star?
Brain: YES.
Heart: Ummmm...Okay!
Me: Verdict: Trump Alex,Approximately.

And we're out. Mic drop.

Satire Reads: EPISODE 2: The Hating Dating Game
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,479 reviews19.5k followers
November 21, 2018
After trying unsuccessfully to read this one for months, I FINALLY pushed myself through it and ended up really enjoying it! Jenn Bennett is definitely a new contemporary fav.
Profile Image for Tweebs♥️ .
184 reviews836 followers
June 16, 2017
“And not after, when we’re clinging to each other like the world just fell apart and is slowly clicking back together, piece by piece, breath by breath . . . heartbeat by beautiful heartbeat.”


Guys, I had enough of this. I'm on strike. I keep picking up these books that somehow leave me in a messy puddle of FEELS.

what did I do in Life to deserve this???



1. It's really addictive like oh my gosh IS THIS WHAT CRACK FEELS LIKE??????

*coughs* I'm a proud example of this. I'm currently reading 2348932849032 books and I felt guilty that I was neglecting this book. I picked it up and began reading it because I HAD TO ACCOMPLISH SOME READING ALRIGHT. I swear, that was the best/worst decision I ever made. It was 11pm and my eyes were 0.000000000001 seconds away from permanently closing AND THEN I got to some part in the book and was like "............................well, shit."

Suddenly, I felt like I had enough energy to power 3 suns because my eyes were wide open aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand yeah, I sacrificed my sleep. I'm not even complaining like I just simply couldn't put it down. I had to finish it like what is sleep? I was hooked.

2. Porter Roth aka mine


That is all.

Carry on.

3. Duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, like I have to add "Characters"

○ Can I just start off by saying, Bailey's Dad is the bomb dot com. Her dad is so laid back and so cool. I loved their relationship like awwwwwwwwwwwwwww. This just reminds me of my own dad. So, I'm going to kindly excuse myself and find my dad to squeeze the living daylights out of him.

○ Our MC, Bailey, is what you call an evader. You know those types of people where you're like, "Where the heck did they disappear off to????" . She experienced a difficult past that led to her developing trust issues. She is trash for old films and literally knows every damn reference. Like this girl can look at a water bottle and reference it to some film that came out in 1955. Her fashion taste is pretty much inspired by the actresses in the old films. For example: Audrey Hepburn!!

○ I liked Bailey's friend, Grace..........................I lied, I tolerated her. She's that type of friend where you'd tell her something and you'd hear it come out of someone else's mouth. Like no. What's been told to you, stays with you. Besides that, I found her pretty cool, friendly, and very nice. Also, I liked the fact that she was British and I kept reading her parts in this really posh accent.

*clears throat*

Urrmmmmmm.........excuse me? Do you by any chance know where the loo is?????

Too far? Yeah?? Okay :(

4. Retelling of "You've Got Mail"

○ If you haven't watched the movie then I don’t think we can friends. Go away.


Alright, you may come back BUT I'll list reasons why you should watch it.

1) there is no reason
2) watch
3) it
4) you punk

You'd have a better understanding but if you don't want to then *sniffle*, it's alright. We can be friends again.

○ When I heard it was a retelling, I was like "Ouuuuuuuuuuuuuu, me is definitely interested like please sign me uppppppp!!!"

Confession: I watched the movie right after I finished the book. Sue me.

5. It tackles some pretty concerning issues and dare I say, handles it perfectly.

○ I just really really really liked how the author was able to touch base with these certain issues and bring it to light. What do we face in this book ???? Sex, drugs, trauma, and many more.

○ To me, she didn't go over board. She just handled it like a pro.

○ I loved how the characters were able to overcome their own barriers and spread their wings.

6. This idiot..................................................

○ Read the book and you'd understand this (>‿◠)✌

7. My brain is done.

○ I think I covered everything.
○ Go read this
○ Bye

You can find this review and my other reviews at Booksprens
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
852 reviews3,882 followers
February 15, 2021

1.5 stars to 2 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.

But I'm supposed to be okay with that because "[Davy] is such an embarrassment." Right. What a decent friend you make, Porter.

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.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,072 reviews51.5k followers
June 10, 2019
ah yes enemies to lovers YA contemp goodness

this was fun and just what i needed. i listened to this on audio and read it physically (the audio is kinda shit but i'm lazy). and i was pretty immediately interested. let's talk about what worked:

1. the characters were incredibly well fleshed out and realistic. seriously. hat's off to jenn bennett for giving people flaws, unique appearances, background, etc. this is what YA should strive for. so so often i feel like YA heroines are either super stubborn or have big doormat energy and Bailey was neither.

2. the plot, pacing, and setting were all fantastic. the plot was 2 separate ones interwoven which worked fantastically well and kept things interesting. the pacing never lagged. and the setting made me feel like i was there on the beach in california.

3. enemies to lovers goodness. i think that some people might be disappointed in the lack of drama here but i really liked how realistic the relationship progression was. reminded me a lot of how my own relationship started. sometimes people just fucking annoy you but then u fall in lurve with them anyway.

overall, this was cute af and a perfect summery read. give her a try.
Profile Image for Charmel.
183 reviews424 followers
February 4, 2023
13-year-old me might have liked this, but 15-year-old me cringed.
3 stars.

This was just what i needed!

It was a really cute, light, fluffy, funny, and an easy to read book. It's a good enemies to lovers YA contmp. I was totally grinning and swooning while reading. There were some cringey and cheesy parts, but ah, nevermind about those, all i wanted was to feel good. 🥰

Bailey (the main character) was kinda relatable. Porter was a real cinnamon roll, a cutie and a softie. I love their romance, the characters' family relationships, and their friendships.

I suddenly miss summer and going to beach. im such a beach girl :D

“I just want somebody I can have a decent conversation with over dinner.” —Tom Hanks, Sleepless in Seattle (1993)”
i also like the entertaning quotes from some movies in every chapter.

This book helped me avoid my incoming slump. though i need more from the ending but overall i had fun! buddy read with chaya and julia! {*coughs* sorry for reading in advance eheh}
4 stars.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,740 reviews712 followers
March 3, 2017
I didn't even need to read the synopsis of this book. I wanted it from Jenn Bennett's name and my undying love for her other YA book, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart. I went in completely blind and utterly fell in love.

Bailey is my kind of girl. She's smart and sort of awkward and would rather be alone the majority of the time. She loves classic movies and dressing like Lana Turner and why aren't we BFFs already. Porter? Yeah, I don't even know where to start with this boy. He's swoony to begin with and then when he actually tries, I was a puddle of goo.

There is some of the most delicious banter ever written, swoons, heartbreak, laughs, and maybe a bit of betrayal. Not to mention a few secrets that are revealed in the slowest and agonizing way.

This is a book that I'll be reading over and over again: when I need a pick me up or to get out of a slump or just need to grin like a loon the way I am right now.

**Huge thanks to Mysterious Galaxy for letting me take an arc from the back room**
July 13, 2017

Maybe Walt Whitman was right. We all really do contradict ourselves and contain multitudes. How do we even figure out who we really are?

I'm not going to lie-I'd much rather be writing about a book I've read closer to this moment, but if I don't go back and write reviews for all the books I've read-and loved-in the past few months, it will make me CRAZY (Well, crazier than usual...). Alex, Approximately was one of those books that you read quickly-but not like your typical YA contemp-you don't just read it and cut through it and, once finished, never look back. No, this book was one of those that you devour, inhale every word....and just, I don't know, exhale slowly in a contented breath. It's a book that not only makes you giddy and happy, but makes warmth radiate from the inside out. It fills your heart with something akin to true love-believable true love-and you can't quite let it go.

“Bailey, I spend most of my days looking at you through that tiny square screen up there. I’m just grateful to be in the same room. And the fact that you’ll even let me touch you at all is the freaking miracle of the century. So whatever you want or don’t want from me, all you have to do is ask. Okay?”

Now, I'm not a moron. The chances of this book happening in real life are nill and none-I just meant that the progression of the romance not only felt natural, but light-hearted and full of something I'm not sure I feel very often anymore when I read. And, fun as this book was, it was heavy in all the right places.

But despite all that . . . look what he did. Look what he did. For me? And he’s sitting here, in pain, falling apart, and all he’s worried about is that I’m sorry I gave him my number and don’t want to go out on a date with him?

In true YA fashion, though, it wasn't without it's pitfalls. Let's be honest here: Not many girls would miss the obvious signs that Porter Roth was, in fact, online Alex. It was clear as day. And I did think that if there was a problem with this book, it'd be Mink. She was a tad naive for my tastes...but I never felt full-on annoyance, which seems to be a recurring theme lately on all the books I choose to pick up. With what little time I have to read, I'm just not as forgiving as I used to be.

A couple of yards before we hit the ground, he speaks up in a voice so quiet, I can barely hear him. “What I said the other day about you having champagne tastes?” He pauses for a moment. Mr. Reyes is smiling, waiting to unhitch our bar. “I just wanted you to know that I like the way you dress. I like your style. . . . I think it’s sexy as hell.”

And Porter-I just loved him so so much. Sweet, funny, a tad asshole-ish....but absolutely loyal to the core. He gets his heart broken. He would do anything for Mink. He even has the sweetest apology scene. And, ya know, he can be a tad alpha-male which, hey, I love me a good 'defending my lady' scene -*whispers* There were 3 (holds up the non-existent but ever useful three finger emoji). PLUS, he is a tad wittier than our dear main character-I'll say that much...though, he got a little clearer sign, I'll admit.

He kisses my forehead. “Know what I’m scared of?”
“That I like you way too much, and I’m afraid once you get to know me, you’re going to realize that you can do lots better, and you’re going to break my heart and leave me for someone classier.”

And I seem to be LOVING this type of book right now (is it a trope? I don't want to toss that word around unnecessarily)-the one where people meet online or in letters (Punk 57, Letters to the Lost, Eliza and Her Monsters, and others I'm forgetting like a moron) and then meet in person, hit it off, and don't realize they are the same person. I can't help it-I'm a hopeless romantic and these seem to be hitting all the right buttons for me this year. Note: 2017, the year of the YA Romance cyber stalkers. See: Chelsea totally buying into this melodrama-and LOVING IT.

If we’re meant to be, and he’s the person I imagine him to be, then things will all work out fine. He’ll be wonderful, and by the end of the summer, we’ll be crazy in love, watching North by Northwest at the film festival on the beach, and I’ll have my hands all over him. Which is what I spend a lot of my free time imagining myself doing to his virtual body, the lucky boy.

And, frankly, I liked Bailey's voice. She was funny, sarcastic, and I found that I related to her quite a bit when it came to her sarcasm. She was snarky and quick-witted. Whadya guna do? :P

..."Like a horse, you know?” He holds his hands up on either side of his eyes. “You plow ahead, and you make a lot of progress that other people wouldn’t make, but you can’t see what’s happening on either side of the road. You have blind spots. You ignore things that are right next to you. Your mom did that all the time.”

I had so much to say about this book when I first finished-I had a whole review plotted out in my head, I was so anxious to let my thoughts be heard. But, as it is...TIME. TIME TIME TIME. But, and maybe this is a tad cliche, I think it truly says something when I read a book, have no time to write a review, and STILL come back a month (or more) later and attempt to post one. Obviously this book meant something to me, and obviously it was worth coming back for. Maybe that says the most of all.

For more of my reviews, please visit:

Profile Image for ♡ ⊱ Sonja ⊰ ♡.
2,746 reviews449 followers
August 13, 2023
Die 17-jährige Bailey reist zu ihrem Vater nach Kalifornien. Hier nimmt sie einen Ferienjob in einem Museum an und lernt dabei den gleichaltrigen Porter kennen. Die beiden freunden sich langsam an. Gleichzeitig aber sucht sie auch nach Alex, ihrem Chat-Freund, den sie zwar noch nie gesehen hat, mit dem sie aber auch eine enge Freundschaft verbindet. Er muss irgendwo in der Nähe ihres neuen Wohnortes leben. Doch je besser sie Porter kennenlernt, desto mehr rückt Alex in den Hintergrund...
Mein Leseeindruck:
Diese Geschichte von Bailey, Porter und Alex hat mir sehr gut gefallen! Zwar mag die Handlung etwas vorhersehbar gewesen sein, aber das hat mich überhaupt nicht gestört. Es gab außerdem trotzdem kleine Details in der Geschichte, die noch für Überraschungen gesorgt haben.
Der Schreibstil ist jugendlich und leicht, so dass sich das Buch flüssig hat lesen lassen.
Die Geschichte spielt am Meer in Kalifornien, so dass bei mir auch ein wenig Urlaubsfeeling zurückkam. Ich denke, es ist ein gutes Buch zum Abschalten und Entspannen.
Obwohl es vordergründig eine leichte Geschichte ist, hat sie meiner Meinung nach doch durchaus auch Tiefgang.
Ich habe das Buch sehr gerne gelesen und kann es weiterempfehlen! Es sorgt für schöne Lesestunden.
Profile Image for marta the book slayer.
427 reviews1,065 followers
February 26, 2021
“And you’re giving him an awful lot of looks that say I’d like to jump on you with my mighty roller-derby strength. And he’s giving you looks that say I’d like to surf your waves.”


Turns out there might exist a heart under this tough stone cold exterior that hands out lit matches to every other book she reads.

If we travel back in time to the year 2015, young Marta was doing nothing but reading YA romance novels. I would buy any and all cheap romance novels on my Kindle for like $1-$2 and devour them. I never knew how comforting reading these YA books was until I hit my first reading slump after a year of non stop reading. It hit me bad and I needed to regress to the mental state I was in staying up late in high school finishing these romance novels. That being said:

Bailey (gosh I forget how cringe the main character's names are in these YA love stories) moves to California to live with her divorced father. Due to an event that occurred in her past, she's closed off and doesn't trust people easily. Having opened up only a little bit to Alex, an online friend on a film forum, Bailey is hesitant to reveal that she has moved to Alex's city (or any other personal information about herself) until she can track Alex down and make sure he's not a creep. Forced to take a summer job in a museum, she's constantly argues (flirtatiously so) with her surfer coworker Porter. That's all I'm giving you. Do not read the synopsis of the book on GR, trust me, you're better off going into this book blind

Anyway, what unfolds is a cute story of a girl learning to trust in other people and being more honest with herself. There are some characters that are pretty aggravating and some storylines are randomly thrown in there for drama. Even with these faults, I love any book that can take me out of the reading slump and this one specifically reminded me what I enjoyed about reading when I was younger.
Profile Image for Anja H..
760 reviews459 followers
April 9, 2019

“Sometimes you have to endure painful things to realize that you're a whole lot stronger than you think.”

Yep, I think I might have found one of my new favorite authors guys!
I totally loved and enjoyed this, probably even more than Starry Eyes, which I already adored. I can't wait to read her other books!
Profile Image for Danielle.
833 reviews452 followers
October 28, 2021
This was a decent YA read. 😀 Definitely predictable. 😉Still entertaining. 😜
Profile Image for alexandra.
230 reviews1,523 followers
September 3, 2020
i binged this in a day and i'm hopelessly, horribly obsessed. i've already reread some of my favorite parts three times and I CAN'T DEAL WITH MY EMOTIONS. this is way too cute. :''')

full review to come!!
Profile Image for myo ⋆。˚ ❀ *.
824 reviews6,897 followers
May 5, 2021
this was a fun lil enemies to lovers fix, i’m obsessed with summer and i wanted a good summer read and this book was perfect for that. this was so much fun but it was a bit corny at times? i really like this authors writing and i cant wait to check out another book from her.
Profile Image for Sara.
369 reviews333 followers
February 19, 2021
This book is what it is, a cute, easy, Summer read.

Its has everyone's favorite trope, enemies to loves, and it was done pretty realistically which i appreciated.
I was fully engrossed in this story and i think most of that is to do with how well the characters were written, i often find the main characters in YA contemporary books to be pretty one dimensional but i really liked Bailey and Porter.

If you don't expect too much from it, this book is swell. (yes i just said swell, no i don't know why either)
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,365 followers
April 15, 2017


There are just certain YA books that absolutely blow me away with how readable they are. Jenn Bennett’s The Anatomical Shape of a Heart was one of those books for me. I didn’t think it was possible for the author to write another book even better than that one, but Jenn Bennett completely wowed me with Alex, Approximately. It’s the sort of book that is so hard to put down that you decide to forego all your chores, and in the end, you don’t even care, because reading the book was an indescribable experience. I have lots to say about Alex, Approximately, but I’m not going to reveal everything, because there elements of the book you have to experience all on your own. So here are 5 reasons why this book worked for me.

It’s not often that I discover a heroine is very much like me, but I was glad to see lots of my teenage self in Bailey. Now, I’m not a film-buff like Bailey was, but there were aspects of her characterization that I think a lot of teen girls will recognize. She’s a breath of fresh air with how perfectly flawed she was. She makes mistakes, she learns from her mistakes and she apologizes for her mistakes. Bailey was also quite an emotional girl, which I 100% related to. She has a lot going on with her family, but despite it all, she was a strong girl who stayed true to herself throughout Alex, Approximately. If you enjoy books with strong character development and growth, you will very likely connect on a deep level to Bailey and her story.

Good gosh does Jenn Bennett know how to write YA boys who are delectable! I was expecting Porter to be a great guy, but I was still surprised by how much I wound up loving him. He was charming, flirty and genuine in his kindness. The way he pursues Bailey totally had my heart fluttering all over the place. His devotion to his family, his cocky attitude and his love for surfing made him all the more attractive to me. Porter was so much more than just a surfer and I loved that he possessed so much depth. You’ll be left wondering where on earth you can find a boy as swoony as Porter once you’re done reading the book!

I love anything that has a coastal beach setting because it reminds me home. Bailey has just moved in to her dad’s place in California, and a lot of her growth is focused around this setting. I loved the descriptions of the locales, locals, food, and the activities that she pursued while she was there. The museum that she finds work in was also beautifully written. It was quirky, charming, and had a very entertaining staff that had me smiling and laughing. I wish that I had somewhere as cool as The Cavern Palace to work at as a teen.

As with the characters and the setting, the relationships in Alex, Approximately were also a highlight for me. I particularly loved Bailey’s bond with her father. It’s a little complicated, but also full of love and respect for each other. There were so many great scenes of the two of them talking and expressing their feelings to each other. I loved that they were respectful even when they might not have agreed with each other. Bailey also meets an awesome friend in Grace. I really loved Grace, and I thought she made for an awesome side-kick, who was a rock for Bailey a lot of times. More awesome girl friendships, please!

To say that I loved the development of the romance between Bailey & Porter would be a severe understatement. I thought it was absolutely perfect, and I loved how it had a bit of a hate-to-love feel to it in the beginning. Bailey and Porter didn’t see eye to eye at first, but he slowly broke down her defenses and soon enough, even she couldn’t resist his charms. There were some seriously swoony moments in the book, but the scenes I loved the best were the ones of the two of them talking and emotionally connecting with each other. The chemistry felt real and tangible, and it was just the sort of romance that left me with a sappy grin on my face. Part of the romance also developed through emails and texts (which I LOVED), and made it extra special. As with The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, Alex, Approximately was also sex-positive. There aren’t explicit sex scenes or anything, but there are discussions of sex between the two protagonists before they jump into bed together. I was also ridiculously pleased at the mention of Bailey masturbating. I think there’s notion that bringing yourself to pleasure is sinful, especially for young women, so it was refreshing to have a YA book show it positively.

As you can probably tell from all my praise, I’m wildly obsessed with this book and I can’t wait for the rest of the world to pick Alex, Approximately up and find a story that’s full of heart, swoons and smiles. I’m ready for Jenn Bennett’s next!
Profile Image for emi.
453 reviews1,088 followers
April 10, 2017
2.75/5 stars.

Okay, so don’t let the low star rating fool you. I did like this book a lot. I’d probably recommend it to someone who isn’t an avid reader. I just had problems with it.

I hate comparing books to one another. I really do. I mean, the next time I see a “the next Hunger Games” comparison I might just burn something down. Yet, I couldn’t help it with this book. While I did enjoy it, I would have liked it a lot more if I hadn’t already read Tell Me Three Things or P.S. I Like You. All three books were so incredibly similar, but I just felt like the other two did things better. (Just FYI, I totally brain farted the title of Tell Me Three Things , so I googled searched “YA waffle book” and that did help me at all)

I think the problem for me was that there was no chemistry between the main character, Bailey, and the guy she had been talking to online, Alex. We barely got to see any of their interactions. And the interactions we did have weren’t that funny or enjoyable. Also, their conversations we didn’t get to see didn’t make sense to me. Why would they discuss their locations and where they live to each other openly, but get uncomfortable about telling the other their first name? I didn’t get it. At all. Also, even though it's literally so obvious who Alex is, they tell you in the freaking description of the book. Not cool.

Then there’s love interest Porter who is a quiz-loving, weather-obsessed, surfer who works as security guard and also nerds our about movies. He was almost too much to be honest. And don’t let the description fool you. It states that Porter and Bailey are “archnemesises” but they literally only hate each other for maybe twenty pages. Not long enough to really make me feel like they hate each other. (And, if I hasn’t already read P.S. I Like You, this wouldn’t have been a big deal).

Protagonist Bailey is suppose to be film geek. I don’t have much experience with a die-hard love of films, but I kind of imagine it’s like my die-hard love of books. Whenever I can read a book, I read a book. Whenever I can talk about a book, I’m gonna talk about a book. So, I imagined that Bailey would do the same thing. Did she? Nope. She literally only mentioned movies when it was essential to the plot.

Bailey was also so frustrating. It was so, so obvious what was about to go down but she was so oblivious. Literally, everything was painted out for her and she just kept blinking her eyes. Even her dad, who just watched things from a far instead of living it out, saw everything coming from thirty miles away

I’m ranting now. I’m also over analyzing. I really did enjoy this book. Yes, the characters were a little ridiculous. And the plot really isn’t the most original. But romantic contemporaries are suppose to just be fun and lighthearted, which is exactly what this book is. I had fun reading it. I’m sure you will have a great time too.
Profile Image for prag ♻.
594 reviews593 followers
April 30, 2017
A 4 step guide for how to write a 5 star book:

Step #1: Take the best movie to ever exist (You've Got Mail) (Trust me on this one.)
Step #2: Recreate it in book form. Remember, this is the important one. Don't mess it up like Julie Buxbaum did. Of course, added levels of hilarity and a swoonworthy love interest wouldn't hurt.
Step #3: Add to the story a hint of charm and a Relatable™ af narrator.
Step #4: Throw in a reference to the movie mentioned in step #1, because you've pulled out all the stops, might as well leave the reader (me) screaming.

BONUS: It's served best with your shopgirl and mink
Profile Image for Ashley.
667 reviews715 followers
February 6, 2017
Hello, perfection.

Books like this make me think the world might actually be pretty great.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,177 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.