On the last day of her junior year, Hannah’s boyfriend Sebastian dumped her. Facing a summer of loneliness, Hannah turns to her best friend Ava for comfort. Ava does what BFFs do: she stays by Hannah’s side…until it’s time for Ava to head up to Maine for the summer. Also left behind is Ava’s boyfriend, Noah, who’s such a great guy he gets Hannah a job at the diner he waits tables at. Slowly, Hannah comes out of her funk thanks to Noah’s good conversation and their fun times at the diner. But things get complicated when their friendship turns into attraction–and one night, into a passionate kiss.
The novel opens on the first day of senior year; the day Hannah is going to see Ava, Sebastian, and Noah all in one place. Over the course of the day secrets and betrayals are revealed, and alliances are broken and reformed. In the end, everyone is paired up once again, but not the way you might think… – Goodreads
As the summary says, Hannah gets wrapped up in feelings beyond friendship for Noah, her best friend’s boyfriend. Now, I’ve read Emily Giffin novels, including Something Borrowed and Something Blue, so I’m familiar with cheating storylines. The thing I was curious about, though, was how Hannah would come across — would I be sympathetic about her situation? Or would I side with Ava, her best friend? As it turned out, it was a little of both.
I enjoyed Hannah as a narrator. She’s a little dramatic post-breakup with Sebastian, but I found that, and a lot of her internal monologue, amusing. What I liked best about her, though, was that she didn’t try to make excuses for herself regarding the situation with Noah. Sure, she is understandably nervous and hesitant to come clean to Ava, but she doesn’t place the blame on anyone else. Noah, questionable music taste aside (my eye twitched when I saw Paramore alongside The Beatles and Sting in his early recs to Hannah), was a decent guy. He was sweet and attentive and he did try to do the right thing in his situation with the girls. I liked that he and Hannah became friends first and that Lauren Barnholdt didn’t overemphasize the cheating stuff.
The back and forth switch between the past and the present really made this a fast paced read. I was eager to see the progression between Noah and Hannah during their summer together, as well as the consequences of their actions in the present. I couldn’t say which chapters I preferred because both had me glued to their pages.
This might have been a four star read if not for the ending. It wasn’t bad or out of character, but I was left flipping through the last pages going, “Where’s the rest?!” I don’t know what I was expecting, but I felt that the conclusion was fairly abrupt. That said, Sometimes It Happens was an addictive and fun summer read and a great introduction to Lauren Barnholdt’s works. I’m very excited to check out her other novels soon!