Thursday, February 16

Maggie Harcourt - Unconventional

Funny things, words. Big words, small words; words that are bigger on the inside and packed with tight feeling. They can make us fall in love, and they can break hearts and we're powerless against them.

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...

Received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.

Unconventional follows the story of 17-year-old Lexi as she struggles to juggle everything from helping her dad run fan conventions to meeting the deadlines of her coursework. When Lexi stumbles upon a smug, annoying Aidan, little does she know that he is the author of her soon-to-be-favouite novel. We are taken on a rollercoaster ride as Lexi tries to figure out herself and her life, all while learning that hiding behind a clipboard doesn't do much in the way of helping prevent falling in love. 

"The thing about conventions, little lady, is that we are family. We fight and we try to outmanoeuvre eacch other and show off...but when it comes down to it, we're all family. And family always sticks together when it counts."

I absolutely loved the setting. Lexi has been assisting her dad in his business since forever, and these conventions are a second home to her. Prior to picking this book up, I was hoping to get the inside scoop on how conventions are run and what exactly happens behind the scenes, and I was definitely not disappointed. Having never been to a fan convention thanks to living practically in the middle of nowhere, I've only ever wondered how it would all be. Now, thanks to this book, I am only more petulant about my sad state. It all sounds so deliciously amazing, (and admittedly hectic, especially when pineapples are involved- that's a codeword they use when there's any kind of trouble brewing at the convention. Cool, huh?) and I loved how it was all described.

Lexi was an endearing character who went through immense development throughout the book. She was initially happy with how things were in life- happy ticking things off her clipboard and hiding under tables whenever things became too much to handle. She is then made to question her choices and think about her future and what she wants, as opposed to what she has been brought up to accept as the norm. All this made her feel very real and relatable, and I loved seeing how she learnt that not all things in life can be just ticked off a list.

He's the oncoming storm...and the lightning flashes and the clouds part, and I walk right on in.

Aidan Green is a young author who goes by the alias Haydn Swift. Lexi is at first at daggers with him because he was entirely too smug for her liking- but this was before she got to know he was the author of Piecekeepers, a new favorite book of hers. When she learns that Aidan is, in fact, Haydn Swift, she's thrown. She's unsure if it's Haydn she wants in her life or Aidan,  and I loved seeing how their relationship grew. Aidan, was an okayish character, mainly because we didn't get to know him as much as I would have liked. His not-so-great relationship with his parents is hinted at, his double life is shown, but nothing is really elaborated on and that's where the book fell short for me the most. 

My "Oh" is everything - it has to be.
It has to be "Oh really?"
It has to be "Oh no."
It has to be "Oh, that wasn't what I thought you were going to say."
It has to be "Oh, what does this mean?"
It has to be "Oh...when will I see you again?"
It has to be "Oh, is this it already? The moment where we find we aren't such a good fit after all?"
But all I say - and all he hears - is "Oh."

Apart from Lexi and Aidan, there are a host of secondary characters who were well-fletched out- Lexi's dad, her mom, Lexi's group of co-workers/friends all had significant roles in the book and I loved them all. Lexi's friends, Sam, Nadiya (hijabi!)  and Bede in particular, were amazing. I loved seeing her relationship with all of them, and I loved how the author dealt with them. We also got to see Lexi struggle to come to terms with her dad's second marriage, and the relationship Lexi had with her parents was refreshing to read about.

In terms of the plot, apart from the unconventional convention setting, nothing is really new. However the writing more than made up for it, and I did so like the atmosphere it created. I had a few issues with the inconsistent pacing in the initial (overlong) half of the book, but the story picked steam at about 50% in and from then on it was a smooth flow- pineapples or not. 

Unconventionl was a cute, light and engaging read and I definitely wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to you if you're a fan of contemporary. Being a bookworm and fangirl, this is one book I really appreciated- and I have no doubt you would too! 

The story idea: 4/5
The realization of the story: 4/5
The characters: 4/5
The cover: 5/5
Enjoy factor: 4/5


  1. This book ford look very interesting, and something that I would typically go for. I'm happy that you liked the characters, and that Lexi went through some good development. Also, it seems relatively diverse as well! I might give this a go. Great review, Ruzaika!

    1. AHHH I'm so glad you think so, Em! You should definitely give this one a try if you can, it was a delightful read! <3


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