Author: Maggie Harcourt
Published by: Usborne
Publication date: 1st February 2017
Pages: 464, paperback
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Lexi Angelo has grown up helping her dad with his events business. She likes to stay behind the scenes, planning and organizing…until author Aidan Green – messy haired and annoyingly arrogant – arrives unannounced at the first event of the year. Then Lexi’s life is thrown into disarray.
In a flurry of late-night conversations, mixed messages and butterflies, Lexi discovers that some things can’t be planned. Things like falling in love…
Unconventional was the first book I read as part of my YALC reading last month, and it was such a perfect way to start! From my first quick skim of the blurb, I knew this would be a fun read, and I was right; this book is like a little ray of sunshine, and proved to be a lovely summer read.
This book is probably the fluffiest thing I have read all year – of course, the plot does have some conflict (what book doesn’t?), but there was no huge problems between characters that needed to be addressed. Despite, the storyline was well-developed, and flowed really well! Personally, I often find contemporary romances can read a bit like fanfiction, especially when the story doesn’t have another major plot point, but this wasn’t the case for this book. Unconventional was almost entirely a love story, and it worked really well!
As a love story, possibly the most important thing is the central relationship, and this was one of my favourite things about the book! I thought the chemistry between Lexi and Aidan was brilliant, and their romance was wonderfully slow-burning. I was worried that theirs would be a case of insta-love, but I was happily proven wrong, as the story occurs across multiple months and conventions. Whilst reading, I couldn’t help but think of Unconventional as the book equivalent of the typical boy band romance novel – which is absolutely perfect, and I think one of the reasons this book has been so adored by the YA community.
Another thing I loved was the sense of community at these conventions – I have attended a number of conventions, but never worked at one. But Maggie Harcourt made life as a Conventions Kid sound truly magical, and her descriptions of the friendships they formed made me yearn for one like that myself. Of course, the characters, particularly Lexi, are bookworms and convention-goers, and therefore super relatable. Lexi being super stressed out, especially at the beginning of the book, particularly reminded me of myself (unfortunately), and I thought it was great how the group of friends balanced each other out.
I’ve heard this book be referred to as UKYA’s response to Fangirl, and I can honestly say I enjoyed Unconventional significantly more! The romance was adorable, the characters were expertly developed, and the plot was completely gripping. For fans of conventions, and fans of YA especially, this book is absolutely perfect!