Book Review: The Fragile Ordinary

Hi there, sorry it’s been so long since I posted. I have been reading up a storm, but I have also been traveling and haven’t had much time or reliable internet access. I am writing this from our AirBnB flat in London, in fact. I just finished The Fragile Ordinary, which I got as an ebook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, so here you go! As usual, this review is spoiler-free!

Book Title: The Fragile Ordinary (Amazon, Goodreads)

Author: Samantha Young
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

This is a story about a shy teenage girl coming to grips with who she is, who she wants to be, what things her life is, and what things she should be hoping for and working for. It is also a romance.

The book is set in Edinburgh and its surrounding towns, and as an American currently traveling in Scotlans, I have to admit that the setting held a lot of appeal for me. It was really fun to read about Scottish teenagers and compare their lives and relationships, both with friends as well as with teachers and parents, to the lives of American teenagers. I thought the author did a really great job of providing details on the setting, particularly that brooding and stormy Scottish weather, and I felt the interplay between the setting and the plot was really well done. She gets an A+ for setting from me!

I also really liked the characters, especially our main character Comet. She is quirky and shy, and at the beginning of the book, she chooses books at home over going out and socializing with her peers. I could really relate to that teenager, for sure! I won’t say too much for fear of spoilers, but Comet’s development over the course of the book, and the well-written narration of her inner battles, turmoil, and determination are all really well developed. I felt like she grew in realistic and interesting ways. I also adored her love interest, Tobias, and her two besties, Vicki and Steph.

I would have maybe liked a little more fleshing out and character development for some of the side characters–for example, I think we are told more than shown that Comet’s mom is a self-absorbed jerk–but I realize this is YA and that tends to not involve quite so much development outside of the main characters.

The only other gripe with the characters I had was that they sometimes acted a little too adult for me, in their level of rational decision-making and abilities of self-examination. But that said, many of the plot turns and misunderstanding occur precisely because of a believable amount of emotional immaturity in the face of difficult life events, so this gripe isn’t major. I think it mainly had to do with a depth and complexity to the dialogue at times that seemed a little much for supposed 16-year-olds. However, I really loved the dialogue and interaction, so I can’t really complain too much.

This book made me laugh, made me wistful for my teenage days and for that whirlwind feeling of being in love for the first time, and it made me cry a few times too. I’ll miss Comet and her friends, and I am not likely to forget this story quickly. Overall, I highly recommend it if you enjoy contemporary YA.

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