Book Review: Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt

SOMETIMES IT HAPPENS by Lauren Barnholdt
Publication Date: July 12th 2011 by Simon Pulse

Summary: 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…

Review Overview:

  • Love Barnholdt’s writing style of alternating chapters of past and present
  • Main character, Hannah, is so easy to relate to! She lets me relive high school and experience the drama without having to emotionally scar myself first-hand;
  • Lauren Barnholdt is easily becoming one of my favorite contemporary authors!

I absolutely love Lauren Barnholdt’s writing style. – don’t know if all her novels are told in this style – alternating back and
forth from past to present – but I really like how it makes the story flow. Just when something juicy happens in the present, I am jolted back to the past. My anticipation just builds with each chapter and I am so eager to read on.

One set back that readers might have with this novel is essentially the plot of the novel. I think its pretty obvious from the summary alone that the main character, Hannah, does something with her best friend’s boyfriend that she shouldn’t have. Everyone – readers and main character alike- know it’s wrong, which only intensifies Hannah’s guilt and our empathy as a reader. For those who have problems with cheating, I should say that the cheating did not take place throughout the whole book / summer. The novel essentially takes place on the first day of school with flashbacks to the past during the alternating chapters.

I’m not going to ramble on defending Hannah, because if you read the book, I really don’t think that anyone needs to defend her further. She’s quite aware of what she’s done and I think she handles the situation very well. And hey, Sometimes It Happens.

Barnholdt just makes Hannah so easy to relate to. My high school experience had been far from this dramatic, so Barnholdt kind of helped me relive high school and experience this drama through the eyes of Hannah, without having to actually get emotionally scarred first-hand. One of the most memorable things I found in the book was Hannah’s urge to Facebook stalk her ex-boyfriend. Because everyone does it, and I certainly do it – even if we know that it’s probably not the brightest idea.

SOMETIMES IT HAPPENS is another fantastic novel by Lauren Barnholdt. While for me, it did not live up to her other novel Two-Way Street, I am now determined, more than ever to get my hands on all her books! SOMETIMES IT HAPPENS is a fun, light novel perfect for a beach read! I read it straight through and still cannot get enough of Barnholdt’s writing.


  1. Oh, I love relatable characters and like.. “rotating” chapters if you can call it that :) definitely sounds like the best beach read, i’ll read this if i ever get the chance! great review

  2. Doesn’t sound like it’s for me (that “rotating” chapters thing [thanks Audrey!] ticks me off, as does cheating), but glad to hear that Hannah’s easy to relate to.

    Oh, and have I ever told you how much I love your “Thanks” near the post bottom with all the commenters’ names? :D

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