Friday, March 9, 2012

Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 320
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
SummaryOn 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...


This one sounded like an interesting read. The protagonist falls for her best friend’s boyfriend, so I was wondering if the author made her someone to sympathize with or just delusional. Falls under the contemporary non-issue set, so I gave it a go.
Sometimes It Happens tells two stories: the first follows the slightly snarky (WIN!) Hannah around on her first day of her high school senior year. The other, in alternating chapters, tells the story of how Hannah and her boyfriend Sebastian broke up and how she and her best friend Ava’s boyfriend, Noah, fell for one another while Ava was away working.
For the most part, I adore books told in alternating chapters like this. I found that Barnholdt effectively created (non-dire) suspense within both stories with good pacing. The reader doesn’t know exactly what happened with Hannah and  Noah, only that something did.  She also effectively demonstrates how Hannah got over Sebastian and fell in love with Noah, using realistic pacing and witty dialogue.
All of the characters were well-developed and realistic. Hannah proves to be quite sympathetic, mostly due to the fact that she is aware that her feelings for Noah are wrong  right off the bat. There are things going on in her relationship with Ava, but never once does she use that as an excuse for the way she feels. Hannah, your self-aware attitude and snark made you my girl. I feared that Lacey, the hypochondriac, might fall into a cliched quirky character role, but she was well-rounded, becoming a good friend to Hannah with an unfortunate relationship history of her own.
Sometimes It Happens was a great realistic fiction novel that demonstrated a side of cheating not often explored. The witty writing, quick dialogue, and likable characters came together to create a highly entertaining story about friendship and relationships.

Rating: 4 - good.

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