The Accidentals by Sarina Bowen

The Accidentals book coverThis will only be the second time I’ve reviewed a young adult title on here, but I couldn’t not review Bowen’s first foray into YA. And The Accidentals is a romance, after all. Just like all of Bowen’s books, there’s more going on than the romance.

17-year-old Rachel’s mom just died from cancer and she’s still in a group home while social services tries to sort out where she’ll go. Things are really in upheaval because although she’s never met him, her father is a world-famous rock star named Freddy Ricks. And he seems interested in finally being a father, nearly 18 years too late. She isn’t too keen on him because of her mom’s opinions, but she also always secretly wished he’d come into her life.

She spends the summer with him in California, where she gets to know him (a little) and also meets his bandmates. His lifestyle is pretty much like what you’d expect—he’s a man-child. Even his parents don’t know he had a child. Rachel wants to ask him about what happened between him and her mom, but she’s too afraid to say much. She just kind of floats along until it’s time to go to the boarding school in the fall.

The best thing that happens over the summer is virtually meeting Jake, another senior-to-be at the boarding school. They talk via email, then by text, then on the phone all before school starts. When she gets there and finds out he’s really cute, too, her little crush develops into something more.

While at the school, she joins an a cappella group, befriends her roommate, and deepens her friendship with Jake. Her father has moved to the same town so she tries to maintain their relationship, even though it’s very much up and down, because she’s so ambivalent about him. He keeps doing things to let her down. They have a long way to go before everything’s good between them. But he is trying, even if he’s got more growing up to do than she does.

It’s really sweet when Rachel and Jake finally get together. We don’t get typical Bowen heat here (that would just be weird in a YA title). And, Rachel discovers that despite what she sort of wants, when things get too heated with Jake, she shuts down and pushes him away. She has to figure out what’s getting in her way before they can really be happy.

I’ll admit it—I didn’t love this as much as I love Bowen’s True North series. However, it’s a good book with a subplot that’s almost as important as the romance. If you like that sort of thing, or even if you just like YA romance, check this one out.