The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson Book Club! Back in the spring, I had the opportunity to read and review Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything. This book is such an enjoyable contemporary that is perfect for summer, as it has such a fun concept and the right elements for beach reading. I kept imagining so many great ideas for my book club as I was reading, that I knew it would be the perfect choice for my summer book club party!
Title: The Unexpected Everything
Author: Morgan Matson
Also by this author: Revenge, Ice Cream and Other Things Best Served Cold (Broken Hearts and Revenge #2)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).
But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?
Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson is the perfect contemporary. This book is extremely unique and filled with characters that are well developed. Themes of friendship and family over romance really hooked me. This is classic Morgan Matson!
❀ An Original Story
The Unexpected Everything is one of the most original stories out there! This book literally has everything: dog walking, a dad who is a politician, a love interest who is actually a fantasy author, and emojis! Of course, this is Morgan Matson, so I’m not surprised. Dog walking and politician fathers aren’t that original in YA, but the two of them combined? That’s definitely something I haven’t seen before. I really enjoyed seeing how Morgan Matson was able to flawlessly combine such contrasting concepts.
❀ Every Single Character is Enjoyable
I honestly loved every single character in The Unexpected Everything. I’m sure that everyone will be able to relate to at least one of them. My personal favourites were Andie and Clark, the main characters. Andie is strong, logical, and organized. She is considerate of others’ feelings doesn’t really complain about anything, even though her life must be extremely difficult. Then there’s Clark, a shy and awkward fantasy author that you can’t help but love. Each character has an incredibly complex personality, which I adored.
❀ Themes of Friendship and Family
What I especially enjoyed about The Unexpected Everything are the themes of friendship and family. The friendship in this book is actually goals. It also overpowers romance, which I always like to see. Reading about Andie’s family, however, is really touching. It is all about Andie trying to fix her relationship with her dad, who is always busy. He’s all she has, in terms of family, so I was really rooting for them. I love more serious, yet still pretty light contemporaries, so this was perfect for me.
❀ A Unique Book
The Unexpected Everything is a unique book with detailed characters and themes of family and friendship. This is the perfect book to kick back with this summer, since it has a nice balance of serious topics and fun. I would definitely recommend this book for a book club.
Quotes: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
“I turned and looked out the window again, at the press corps that weren’t leaving nearly as quickly as I wanted them to. There were now reporters lined up in front of the house, cameras pointed at them, no doubt recapping what had just occurred.”
The Unexpected Everything Book Club
Diner Setting and Food
The Unexpected Everything has quite a few scenes that take place in a diner. This is the hang out spot for the main character, Andie, and her friends to discuss their problems and just spend time together. I always pictured a scene from the TV show, Friends, when I read those scenes. I knew that for the book talk portion of my book party that I had to incorporate this diner theme. Here is how I created an inexpensive, yet fun diner party atmosphere:
As you can see, it is relatively easy to put together! I found some old records at a thrift store that I used to give some nostalgia to the atmosphere. Also, some black and white images that I printed off the internet of famous icons from long ago help to add to that diner feeling. The table setting was so much fun as well, with hot dogs, pop and some diner accessories.
Photo Booth: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Another fun activity that I set up was a photo booth. In keeping with the daring, scheming and whimsical nature of The Unexpected Everything, this added an element of laughter and good times to the party! It is very simple to set up with some fabric, props, and a camera.
Scavenger Hunt: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Also, for those who have read the book, you will remember there is an epic scavenger hunt that Andie and her friends complete. While the hunt that I sent my friends on wasn’t as intense as the one in the book, it was really amusing watching the teams compete to find their prize, Emojeez candy! Those familiar with the story will know why emojis are a significant factor in the book. 😉 I found a number of hunts online and I used this one that was all ready to print from Scavenger Hunt Fun.
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson Book Necklace
I had to have my guests create a little momento of the book and our book club party! We used a similar, but more simplistic technique that I found over at Helen Clyde‘s website. They turned out so well and I think that we will continue to make these at future book clubs.
Pool Party: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
To top it all off, I ended the event with a pool party that lasted until the wee hours of the night. This seemed fitting, as Andie’s boyfriend, Clark, always had pool parties at the house that he was living in for the summer. We had Pepsi Emoji pop, licorice, chips and a sundae bar as well!
Playlist: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Lastly, Morgan Matson created an amazing playlist for The Unexpected Everything, which is the perfect soundtrack for any party, but is essential for a party that celebrates her fun, summery book.
During the diner meal portion of the party we discussed Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything. Below, you will find our discussion questions. There are spoilers for the book in these questions, so if you have yet to read the book, stop here to avoid spoiling the book for yourself!
The Unexpected Everything Discussion Questions
Did you like the book? What was your favourite scene? Was there anything that you disliked?
What did you think of all the restrictions placed on Andie at the start of the novel? Do you think that they were fair? How would you react to not being able to post what you want on social media or order your favourite drink? Were these realistic problems for a politician’s child?
Did you catch all of the 1980s references in the book? (Pretty Woman, Bruce Springsteen, etc.) Do you think that they added anything to the story?
Andie and her friends were constantly daring and creating wild schemes for one another. Has anyone ever done this to you?
Andie went mountain biking with Clark, even though it is not something that she enjoys. Would you do something that you didn’t want to do just to impress someone?
Andie makes no attempt to hide the fact that she doesn’t read or enjoy fantasy novels to Clark. Now that she has listened to Clark’s books, do you think that she will change her mind? Is there a book that sparked your love of reading?
Throughout the novel, Andie and Clark both make realizations about their fathers. What did you think of Andie’s relationship with her dad? Clark’s?
Do you think that Clark is a good influence on Andie?
Which of Andie’s friends would you most likely want to go on a road trip with?
One of the themes in the book is discovering what makes you happy. Many of the characters are steering Andie in this direction. (Maya, Clark, mom’s letter, Palmer) Do you think that Andie has learned anything in the novel? Which character do you think had the most impact on Andie’s journey to happiness?
How did you feel about Brie’s deception to her friends about Wyatt? What did you think of Andie’s response to hide it from the others. What would your response have been if these were your friends
Andie is a planner and has had to learn how to go with the flow. Do you think that her summer turned out to be a success?
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson is a perfect choice for a YA book club. There are lots of fun and interesting activities to do around this theme. As well, there are so many themes and exciting aspects of this story that are perfect for generating a discussion.