Unexpecting by Holly Kerr is a novel that follows Casey Samms as she races to have a baby before she turns 37, thanks to the outdated advice of Dr. Francine Pascal Reed, the author of a parenting book published in the 40s. Unfortunately, Casey’s choice in men makes the task difficult, and pretty soon she finds herself in a position she never expected.
Amy’s Rating: 4/5 Stars
As soon as I saw this cover, I was charmed. As someone who has always wanted children myself, I found it charming to read about a heroine who, despite the fact that she is grown-up, independent, and modern, has her sights set on motherhood. She isn’t in it for the whole happily-ever-after, the right man would be a bonus but by far isn’t necessary. I liked this distinction between the goals of motherhood and marriage, which are far too often lumped together in a heteronormative narrative. Still, I was rooting for romance and a happy ending, especially since the book is full of so many near-misses.
The execution did not disappoint. Kerr’s writing is snappy and engaging, and Casey was sassy yet sympathetic character who managed to have several breakdowns throughout the book without getting annoying. There were several twists, and at least one took me fully by surprise, which is rare in romantic comedies, which tend to stick with formulas. I rooted for Casey through all the ups and downs, and grinned at the ending, which left me feeling warm and fulfilled. I love happy endings, especially ones that cover most of the characters in the book.
Despite all this, there were two elements that didn’t sit quite right with me. The first was that this book included an extremely toxic friendship. Instead of resulting in positive change or walking away from the friendship, both women stayed who they were, with Casey making excuses for her friend right through the very last page. Having had several toxic friendships in my own life, I wish this had had a healthier ending, and felt a pinch that Casey didn’t leave the friendship when she threatened to.
The other thing that didn’t make me feel quite comfortable was a little bit of an air of homophobia, or at least biphobia, with the phrase “turned gay” being thrown around more than I’d like. However, the gay characters themselves all were complete characters which avoided stereotypes, making it easy to believe the judgment and misunderstanding was on the end of the characters, rather than the writing. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys romantic comedy, especially those who aren’t ashamed to want what they want, regardless of society telling us to play it cool. I’m very interested in the sequel, Unexpectingly.
About Holly Kerr
About the reviewer
Amy Spitzfaden loves reading all things real-world. From contemporary to chick-lit, to mystery, she enjoys seeing all the crazy things that could happen on this earth and the way people overcome their unique and universal struggles. While she’s a sucker for a happy ending, she considers anything with growth and real emotion worth reading. Sometimes complicated endings are the best!
Amy is the author of Untold and Fingerprinted Hearts, with her third novel It’s Funny You Mentioned Chloe… coming soon. In her spare time, she likes to drink tea, take baths, and contemplate all the ways human relationships are just really freaking weird. For more about Amy check out her website.