Sometimes it Happens

Sometimes it Happens
By: Lauren Barnholdt

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...

summary from book

My Rating: 4/5

Ah, the quintessential love triangle, a large staple in the repertoire that is YA literature. As much as it has been incorporated into every form of writing for the longest time, I have to admit that when done well-I am a huge sucker for the love triangle. It adds so much drama as far as plot is concerned and generally makes for an entertaining overall story. In this novel, the love triangle is between three people who are all very close to one another, further adding to the overall feeling of suspense when reading. It's definitely something that has been done before and even something that I have read before on more than one occasion yet I can't help but be drawn to this scenario in literature for some reason.

Sometimes it Happens is unique in its approach and format in dealing with a somewhat conventional plot. The novel takes place in a single day-the first day back at school and also the first day in which the protagonist, Hannah, has to see Ava (her best friend) after having developed feelings and then some for Ava's boyfriend Noah over the course of the summer. Whew, it gets wordy describing a love triangle. In between these present day chapters however are the interwoven flashbacks that Hannah is having in which she takes her entire summer and some occurrences prior to into consideration. The reader is offered bits and pieces of the past strewn amongst Hannah's present day feelings and anxieties. I think the way in which this novel is organized really heightens the suspense and overall want to keep reading as information is revealed slowly but surely. This layout and style also mirrors the way in which Barnholdt reveals the budding feelings between Hannah and Noah. Again, it is done in a slowly but surely way, tentatively and in a realistic manner as feelings manifest.

One aspect I enjoyed the most about this novel was the flawed characters. They all acted unfavorably during the course of the novel. There were instances in particular that I can think back to now where Hannah was show in a less than flattering light. I am always drawn to moments like these because I think it adds so much depth to a character, to make them imperfect. I also think that it is a tricky thing to do because the reader must, for the most part, remain sympathetic and in favour of  characters especially the protagonist. Let's be honest in saying that if we do not like the characters, the likelihood of us reading on drops significantly. That's why I think it says a lot about the writing when a character can act rather unfavorably and yet still obtain understanding and sympathy from the reader. I liked Hannah, quite a lot actually even though she said and did some things I did not agree with. In actuality no one is perfect and so I like to keep that in mind when reading.

Another aspect I enjoyed about this novel was the element of reality. Sure, it's fiction but I think fiction as a whole is one of the major elements in life that speaks the most audibly and clearly about real life. This novel was represented in a realistic way which I think the majority of us appreciate. I think the reactions of characters were realistic as were the relationships between them. The friendship between Ava and Hannah spot on. The ending I felt was also well orchestrated and carried out. I wondered how everything would come to a close and I was satisfied by the time I reached the end taking in what Barnholdt had constructed.

Overall: Sometimes it Happens is a contemporary YA novel containing a love triangle between two best friends (Hannah and Ava) as well as Ava's Boyfriend, Noah. It's portrayed in a realistic manner and although the plot may not be the most original, the layout and flow of the story is, shaking things up a bit. If you enjoy contemporary YA I would recommend this novel. Also, if you enjoy (like me) a good love triangle every now and then I would also recommend you give this one a try. :)


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