Reviewed by Jennifer Jensen

Hannah and Ava have been best friends since childhood, but all that is about to change when Hannah starts falling for Ava’s boyfriend, Noah. The summer before senior year in high school, Hannah catches her lousy boyfriend, Sebastian, making out with a freshman girl at a pool party in front of practically the whole school. Just when she needs Ava the most, Ava decides to leave Boston for the entire summer for Maine where she will be a camp counselor.

While Ava is gone, Noah and Hannah begin spending time together at the same summer job. The more that Hannah gets to know Noah, the more confused she becomes about her role in his life. The night before Ava returns to Boston, Hannah and Noah hook up. She knows she will lose her best friend as a result of it, but how can she hate what she did with Noah when it feels so right?

Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt is in intriguing approach to teenage infidelity. I was curious what kind of message that Barnholdt would offer teenage readers, but after finishing it, I’m not sure quite how I feel. It was really difficult to feel anything but vexation with most of these characters, including the main character, Hannah. Out of the entire cast of characters, Noah is the only one with any real depth; all of the female characters are vapid and shallow, though Barnholdt seems to want readers to believe there is at least more to Hannah. In maybe two instances we do see a bit more depth to her, but then she transitions right back into a girl who only cares about a boy and what her best friend thinks about her.

The ending felt a little rushed to me; there wasn’t enough closure between Hannah and the other female characters she had problems with. Barnholdt did mostly wrap things up between Hannah and Noah in such a way that most readers will be cheering. Hannah will be much better without Ava, but I would have at least liked getting to see her stand up to the girl who has been telling her what to do and how to think for so many years.

Like Hannah, Barnholdt got a little too caught up with the boy, and didn’t pay enough attention to what really mattered–the relationship between the female characters.

Rating: 3/5

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon Pulse. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.