Author: Maggie Harcourt
Release: 1st February 2017
Which animal is similar to this book? To me, this book is a cheetah, partly because of the pace at which the story moved (in case you didn’t figure that out, it moves at a fast pace). I love books which move quickly through the story (I can get bored quite quickly otherwise…) and because of the way the chapters were arranged, there was nothing unnecessary in the story, the plot was pushed forwards at a speed which kept me well and truly engaged. Also though, cheetahs are fantastic mothers (usually) and will protect their young to the death, will teach them to hunt, will teach them to run, help them climb trees when they’re too young to use their own strength to do so. All in all, they won’t leave young behind and there has been some evidence that they mourn their family too when they die. They’re emotive, caring animals who will nurture young until they’re fully ready for the world; in the same way, Unconventional is fast and it keeps you interested, but you won’t get confused or left behind, and the story is a lot more nurturing and gentle than your typical fast-paced books (fantasy, action etc). There isn’t a whole lot of action (apart from a dog-search early on!) and the story is softer and kinder and there’s a lot of emotion and you will feel things. Unconventional = gorgeous cheetah mother.
The blurb says: 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…
The story follows Lexi and her Dad as they host a few conventions each season – six conventions overall, I believe – (each chapter is a different convention/month spent at home planning conventions) so it really does focus on the convention aspect of the story. That’s not to say you won’t like it if you’ve never been to one (I’ve only ever been to YALC but none of it was confusing or hard to understand) and I really like how each chapter is so different to the last just because it’s set in a completely different part of Lexi’s life.
Firstly, the characters are so defined and well-built that I feel like I genuinely know Aidan and Sam especially. Nadiya is up there too of course, but Lexi is so easy to relate to that it slightly scared me… But the way that all the characters have their own distinctive voices really works, probably because there are quite a few characters, so they needed to each be strongly separate. It’s likely that if you read this book (which you definitely should!), then you will become connected at least one of the characters; for me, it has to be Sam because she’s so honest, outgoing and everything I wish I was.
I also love that this book not only follows Lexi and Aidan through their romantic ups and downs, but it also touches on friendships within the convention staff and Lexi’s family. I love her mum because she’s just such a lovely character, always saying the logical thing and helping Lexi through everything, but I also love her dad and the way he’s so good at planning things and is yet so scatter-brained.
I think one of the best parts of this story is that it focuses on a teen girl working (and doing it well!), not having to be helped/saved by a handsome male hero. I thought that in that way, it was empowering but without being obviously feminist or having that as the main plot which can sometimes put people off books.
I couldn’t even compare the plot to any other book I’ve read, but I will say that Lexi reminded me of Harriet Manners (Holly Smale’s Geek Girl series) with her organisational skills, lists, love for clipboards and sense of authority, but minus the clumsiness and inability to properly speak to people…I would recommend it to anyone who feels even vaguely interested in the story I’ve attempted to describe, because I guarantee you will love it! 10 out of 10 paw prints from me and my furry friends!