Hey everyone! I’m back this week with another book review – this time I’ve read Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt.
Unconventional is about a girl called Lexi whose dad runs ‘Angelo Conventions’. Lexi has grown up around conventions, and is now a staff member/clipboard extraordinaire at them. As the plot progresses, she meets a debut novelist … and well, I won’t say anymore!
Overall, this book was such a fun read. It clocks in at 450 pages which is pretty long, as contemporary books go, but honestly I devoured it whole. For me, this was the kind of book that you’re so excited to keep reading, that you find yourself fishing it out of your bag to read a few pages whilst queuing in a shop. (Yes I do that, no judgement pls, I like to be efficient with my time. 😂)
I absolutely loved how much of a focus this book gave to conventions, to the convention families you make, and to how much fun they are. I’ve been to Leakycon, YALC, and a few scatterings of London Film ComicCon. That feelings she describes when you’re at a convention really speaks to me, especially for YALC and Leakycon. It’s a whole other world and it feels a little bit like home for an intense few days of fun.
The way the book is structured is really nice, as it skips from convention to convention, and provides the reader with the same feeling you’d get if you entered a convention – that real life sort of disappears for a few days. When you read this book, real life disappears as you jump from convention to convention and join Lexi on a wild ride.
I think what I loved most about this book was how fun it was. I really enjoyed the characters and it’s just such a fun, easy, nerdy read. I was so entertained by the character of ‘The Brother’ who is a a guy that always attends the convention, is a bit condescending and calls everyone brother. I literally couldn’t stop giggling every time he appeared.
Another part of this book that really spoke to my soul was all the behind-the-scenes planning of the conventions. Lexi spends a lot of time organising where authors should be, setting uppanels, organising staff rotas and sorting out schedule and I honestly lived for it. Event planning has always intrigued me, and honestly I’m so nosy about how things work, so this really made my organisational heart very happy,
Another fun thing about this book was that because it is set in the contemporary convention world, lots of UK YA authors kept popping up to attend the conventions, or quoted as giving reviews for fictional books. It made it SO MUCH FUN to read as you can see below when I freaked out on Instagram. 😂
I really enjoyed the romance too. It was quite fluffy, but it was just really cute and I was definitely rooting for them. There’s also quite a focus on female friendships which I appreciated, as so often, friendships seem to just be … forgotten about in contemporary YA books. Sam is such a fun character and doesn’t give a shit about what anyone thinks of her which was just great. Her and Lexi balanced each other out, and called each other out on their bullshit when needed. It was refreshing, felt very real, and I loved it.
Honestly, I only have one bad thing to say about this book and it involves the following very serious quote about a teabag:
“Trust me,” he says, dropping the still-wrapped bag straight into the bin. “Nobody wants that one.”
WHO THROWS AWAY TEABAGS THAT HAVEN’T BEEN USED JUST BECAUSE THEY DON’T LIKE THEM?? AIDAN, DON’T BE SUCH A TOOL.
h o n e s t l y 🙄😂
No but really, there wasn’t much I didn’t like about this book. Apart from this scandalous tea behaviour, the only other thing I would have liked to hear a bit more about was Lexi’s fandoms and favourite books. I think hearing more about this would have rooted my understanding about how she really fell in book love with Piecekeepers. Definitely not something to stop you from reading it though!
Read if you like: conventions, fandom, romance, female friendships, discussion of family dynamics, night-time adventures
Do you have any recommendations for fun and easy reads? Have you ever been to a convention? Come and chat in the comments!