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...
I remember devouring Lauren Barnholdt's Two Way Street a few years back and I haven't read anything by her since. Until Sometimes It Happens. And, wow, did I love this book! Contemporary novels are my favorite and Sometimes It Happens was a fantastic addition to the genre. Brimming with drama, humor, romance, and adventure- this book had it all. I especially liked the alternating chapters (from the summer to the first day of school) and how everything tied together. Plus all the characters were fantastic and completely realistic! Hannah had one crazy summer and she is now dreading the first day of her senior year. Why? Because this day will bring together Hannah and the three people she just can't bear to see. After a summer filled with drama, love, and betrayal- Hannah doesn't know what to do. Because bringing together Ava, Sebastian (*), and Noah can only result in madness.
Time to backtrack. Sometimes It Happens was told in chapters alternating between the present (Hannah's first day of 12th grade) and the past (her intense summer after junior year). On the last day of her junior year, Hannah's boyfriend, Sebastian, cheats on her and leaves her with a broken heart. Luckily, she has her best friend Ava to help her recover. Until Ava takes a job as a camp counselor in Maine and leaves Hannah behind with Sebastian and Ava's boyfriend Noah. One thing is for certain- this is going to be a summer to never forget.
"Sometimes it happens" is such a true statement and this was a message playing throughout the novel. Hannah was such a likable character and her humor and wittiness made me like her even more. While she did make some bad decisions, Hannah is someone I would want to be friends with in real life. She was honest and you could tell how much she cared for her friends. Reading about her work at the diner was another great side story. Not enough YA characters have jobs (summer or otherwise) and it always adds a lot to the book and makes the character even more realistic. Lacey was another fantastic secondary character. Her hypochondria added a fun and entertaining aspect to her character and she was a great friend to both Hannah and Noah.
I adored the way Sometimes It Happens was told. The different chapters left it nearly impossible to put the book down, especially since most of them ended in cliffhangers. Each and every character in Sometimes It Happens was so real I felt like they might just step off the page at any moment. Everything that happened had a believable outcome and all of the characters were faced with difficult decisions. Lauren portrayed all of her characters and their situations so realistically and I loved every minute of it. I felt for Hannah when things got tough, but I only wanted the best for her.
Lauren Barnholdt has written a fantastic contemporary novel with Sometimes It Happens and I can't wait to start sharing this with all of my friends. For fans of Sarah Dessen and Elizabeth Scott, this book should be added to everyone's summer wishlist.
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
July 12, 2011/Simon Pulse/320 Pages/Young Adult
Source: Publisher (ARC)
Other books by this author: Two Way Street
*side note: I read the ARC form of Sometimes It Happens, and Hannah's ex-boyfriend was named Sebastian. I'm guessing from the summary that his name was later changed to Ryan?