Friday 15 July 2011

Book Review: Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt.

Product details:
Publisher: Simon Pulse.
Release date: July 12th 2011.
Hardcover, 320 pages.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Ages: 14+
Source: 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...

Lately I’ve been on something of a contemporary YA binge, and this drama-filled slice of summer fun totally satisfied my appetite.  If you love coming of age reads made all the more complex by tangled love lives, then Sometimes It Happens, the latest offering from Lauren Barnholdt is definitely the one for you.  And if you thought your love life was complicated, just wait until you meet Hannah…

Our introduction to Hannah is dramatic. OK, if you must know, Hannah is just one of those people who attracts drama, so wherever she goes, drama will soon follow: ex-boyfriends who just won’t let go, inappropriate crushes et al - that’s Hannah.   We meet her as she is freaking out over the prospect of her first day back at school as a senior. First day nerves, maybe?  Nuh-uh, these are no ordinary first day nerves, and we find out why, as through a series of flashbacks the secrets of the summer gone by are revealed. It soon becomes clear that while Hannah’s summer may have been life-changing and lots of fun in many ways, now there’s a price to be paid, and she has to face the consequences of her actions.

So, lets rewind three months to see how Hannah ended up in this big old mess that has left her so dreading meeting her friends on her first day back at school.  Hannah’s summer opens with a bang when she finds her boyfriend making out with another girl at a party.  Then, as if things couldn’t get any worse, Hannah’s BFF Ava won’t be around to comfort her as she’s decided to take up a last minute summer job offer and relocate to Maine to be a camp counselor.  So, with no best friend to cheer her up, Hannah slips in to a depressing routine of sleeping late every day, practically living in her PJ’s, eating way too much junk food, and watching way too much crappy daytime TV.  That’s where Noah steps in.  He’s Ava’s boyfriend, and she’s sent him along to snap Hannah out of her funk. Bad move, Ava.  Over the course of the summer Hannah and Noah grow closer and soon they are sharing road trips, private jokes, and maybe something more.

As we witness Noah and Hannah’s friendship grow, we can’t help but want something more for them. Seriously, you might think I’m awful for saying this, but that’s how it is!  Their attraction is a slow burning one based on friendship and understanding, and they both constantly fight their growing feelings for each other.  The 'Sometimes It Happens' of the title may sound like a throwaway remark made to excuse infidelity, but that’s not what the message is here.

While Sometimes It Happens is definitely light reading, it’s also an interesting look at friendships and infidelity from a number of different angles, showing that nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems and there are consequences to every action.  While Hannah appears needy and submissive at the start of the book, particularly in her friendship with the overbearing Ava, she grows as the summer progresses,  partly due to the friendship Noah offers her, and in the end she has to ask herself if she is willing to sacrifice friendship for love.

If you are looking for a drama filled read that’s perfect for a trip to the beach, look no further than this.  Sometimes It Happens is the first book I’ve read by Lauren Barnholdt, but it certainly won’t be the last. What can I say, I love the drama! Totally addictive!


  1. I am loving all the Summer Spotlights, though it's not helping my TBR size lol.
    I haven't read anything by Lauren Barnholdt yet, but I think I will start with this book. It sounds so cute!

  2. Sounds like a fabulous summer read.

  3. Great review! I felt the same way about this book. I'm all about the drama too. It's the perfect summertime read. It was my first book by Barnholdt too and I'm going to have to check out her other reads as well. I'm glad you liked this one!

  4. Loved this book! And loved the drama! Great review! I read this just a few weeks ago and could not get it out of my head.

  5. Yay, I'm so glad you liked this one too. This book is indeed full with drama and it's so addictive. I LOVED it. ;) Great review.

  6. This one does sound good! I haven't been reading enough contemporary YA of late and I am beginning to get a bit bored of paranormal after paranormal.

    Thanks for the recommendation.

  7. The cardinal sin falling for the BFF's boyfriend. I totally get the title and this really does sound like a great summer read. Great review!

  8. This cover straight away drew my attention in but it also sounds like a good read =)

  9. I've seen this one around a lot recently but yours is the first review I've read- thank you! I like contemporary books about friendships and this one sounds like a good summer book :)

  10. This sounds like a great book for my summer TBR pile. Thanks so much for your review!

  11. Great review! I am not really a fan of the whole infidelity storyline. I think this book might have too much drama for me :)

  12. Sometimes It Happens was my first book by Lauren and I'll definitely read more,too. I liked this book and as you say it's a light beach read:)

  13. I liked this one too, although it's not my usual reading fare. :) Definitely looking forward to trying out the author's other books. Great review!

  14. I pre-ordered this one and can't wait for it to arrive so I can get reading!! :) I've also been on a contemporary YA binge, hehe ... these days, I'll pick contemp over paranormal / dystopian in a heart-beat.


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