Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Sometimes It Happens

Sometimes It Happens

4.2 115
by Lauren Barnholdt

See All Formats & Editions

On the last day of her junior year, Hannah's boyfriend Ryan 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


On the last day of her junior year, Hannah's boyfriend Ryan 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, Ryan, 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...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Barnholdt (One Night That Changes Everything) delivers another frothy and fun romance, centering on a likable main character whose insecurities ought to have readers rooting for her from the get-go. This book jumps between the first day of Hannah's senior year, which is rife with drama, and flashbacks to the preceding summer, when said drama began. Hannah's boyfriend, Sebastian, kicks off his summer by making out with a sophomore at the big end-of-school party, and Hannah's best friend, Ava, announces she's deserting Hannah in favor of a camp counselor job. Hannah's solution: a daily diet of ice cream in bed. But Ava sends her boyfriend, Noah, to check in on Hannah, and soon Hannah is working at Cooley's diner and going to shows with Noah, as well as feeling a tingle every time they brush hands. Books about falling in love with one's best friend's boyfriend are plentiful, but this one rises above the usual handwringing through Hannah's humor and honesty, as well as through her heartfelt acknowledgment of the pain cheating can cause. Ages 14–up. (July)
VOYA - Michelle Young
Hannah is dreading her first day of school as a senior. She wants to avoid Sebastian (the ex-boyfriend who cheated on her on the last day of their junior year), feels awkward around Noah (the guy she worked with all summer...and slept with), and cannot bear to face Ava (her best friend—and Noah's girlfriend—who has just returned from summer camp). Feeling guilty about her recent betrayal, Hannah is not sure how to relate to Ava, especially after Noah unexpectedly breaks up with her before the end of the school day and Hannah is called upon to comfort her heartbroken friend. As much as Hannah wants to confess her secret to someone, she does not want to alienate her only remaining companion, hypochondriac classmate Lacey, who is still reeling from her ex-boyfriend cheating with her best friend. This story jumps in time between three periods: the first day of senior year, the last day of junior year, and the summer. Although the storyline is nonlinear, it is still easy to follow and makes for a more engaging read. The writing style is smooth, featuring believable dialogue and first-person narration from Hannah's perspective. Hannah is a sympathetic character struggling with a relatable dilemma of liking your friend's significant other, yet wanting to be a faithful friend. The underlying message is captured by the title, Sometimes It Happens, as Hannah grows to understand that part of being human is hurting people without meaning to and then needing to ask for forgiveness. Reviewer: Michelle Young
Kirkus Reviews

A seemingly relentlessly chick-lit novel grows into something deeper as Hannah just can't get her boyfriends and friendships straight.

The first day of her senior year at high school terrifies Hannah, but readers won't know why until the book's flashbacks to the previous summer reveal the reasons for her well-founded fears. Alternating chapters advance both the "first day" and the "summer" stories until they converge in the final emotional scenes. Barnholdt appeals to chick-lit readers with, like, totally believable dialogue between chicks, all the way down to the level of "he goes, then she goes" to describe conversations. Hannah begins the story by learning that her boyfriend has cheated on her and ends with some deceit of her own. The journey between those two events reveals much about contemporary adolescent mores while illuminating Hannah's character. She overreacts to most problems, greatly concerned with her soon-to-be-demolished reputation. The author reveals Hannah's best friend Ava's duplicity, however, through Hannah's growing realization that Ava often lies. She depicts girls as different and varied, such as Lacey, Hannah's hypochondriac co-worker and new friend. With the exception of Noah, Hannah's forbidden love, the various boys in the book, all studly, eventually merge into a blur.

It's still chick lit, devoid of parental guidance, but it's lit that will probably deepen some chicks' understanding of relationships.(Chick lit. 12 & up)

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—After Hannah's boyfriend cheats on her at a party and she learns that her best friend, Ava, is abandoning her for the summer, she reluctantly takes a job at Cooley's Diner with Ava's boyfriend, Noah; and Lacey, a girl Ava hates. Over the summer, Hannah develops a friendship with Lacey and, even worse, serious feelings for Noah. Unsure whether he shares her feelings and because she doesn't want to hurt Ava, Hannah does her best to keep her feelings secret, but when she goes to a summer's end party at the house where she discovered her boyfriend's infidelity, she finds herself making a mistake that changes everything. Chick-lit fans will enjoy this summer read in which chapters alternate between the summer and the first day of school, but those looking for more depth will be disappointed. While the romantic tension is well developed, Hannah's apparent codependence on—and refusal to stand up to—Ava is annoying. When she finally finds her voice during a crisis on the first day of school, she surprises herself and thinks she likes the new Hannah. While there's no doubt that what she did was wrong, the ending wraps up a little too neatly and leaves readers with a sense of frustration.—Gina Bowling, South Gibson County High School, Medina, TN

Product Details

Simon Pulse
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
HL780L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Sometimes It Happens

  • I really should not be so scared. I mean, I’ve done this millions of times before. Okay, maybe not millions. But for the last twelve years, on every weekday minus summers and vacations, I’ve gone to school. And I’ve never been afraid before. (Well, except for maybe a little bit in kindergarten, but isn’t everyone a little afraid in kindergarten? And besides, even then I wasn’t freaking out or anything. Not like Layna Hodge, who threw up all over the play box in the corner.)

    Today, the first day of senior year, I’m terrified. This is because there is a very good chance that at some point today I will:

    a. lose the love of my life,

    b. lose my best friend, or

    c. have an awkward encounter with the boy who broke my heart last year. (Note: This is a different boy than the previously mentioned love of my life. [See a.])

    I take a deep breath and grip the steering wheel of my new car, then pull into a spot in the visitor lot of my high school. I’m technically not supposed to be parked here, but the visitor lot is way closer to my homeroom than the student lot, and since it’s the first day of school, I’m pretty sure I can get away with it. Plus it won’t be as obvious if I have to peel out of here and make an escape. Okay, I tell myself, you can do this. You are invincible; nothing can rattle you. You have nerves of steel; you are a confident, strong woman; you—

    There’s a knock on the passenger side window and I scream, then immediately hit the automatic door locks.

    I look over. Oh. It’s only Lacey.

    She knocks on the window again, and I reluctantly unlock the doors.

    She slides into the passenger seat, her long, red curly hair pooling around her shoulders. She smells like coffee and strawberry-mango shampoo.

    “Hey,” she says, “What’s wrong? Why’d you freak out when I knocked on your window? And why are you parked in the visitor lot? It took me forever to find you.”

    “Nothing’s wrong,” I say. Which is a lie, of course. But I can’t tell Lacey that. She knows nothing about what went on this summer. She knows nothing of the fact that my best friend Ava is coming back today, that everything is different, and that everything is horrible. That I’m going to see Noah, that I’m going to see Sebastian, that I’m going to maybe end up in a mental institution by the end of the day. Although, a mental institution actually might be preferable to going to school, so that might not be such a bad thing, now that I think about it.

    “Just normal first day of school nerves,” I say brightly.

    “First day of school nerves?” Lacey says, like she’s never heard of them. Which kind of makes no sense, since Lacey is one of the most nervous people I know. “You need caffeine then,” she says. “It will fix you right up.” She holds out the cardboard carrier that’s in her hand. It’s filled with three cups from Starbucks, and one’s marked with my fave: a large vanilla latte with Splenda and extra cream.

    “Thanks.” I accept the huge coffee and take a sip. I don’t really buy into her reasoning that I need the caffeine, since it definitely isn’t going to calm me down. But maybe it’ll give me a shot of energy that will make me so buzzed I’ll be all excited to go into school. On the other hand, it’s only caffeine, not magic.

    “Where’s Noah?” she asks. “I brought him one, too.” Of course she did. Coffee with a shot of espresso, extra sugar, extra cream. The same drink he had every single day this summer, when the three of us worked together at Cooley’s Diner, but we always brought in our own coffee because the stuff at Cooley’s tastes disgusting. (Cooley’s Diner coffee = mud, only, like, more bitter and tinged with the taste of a dirty cup.)

    “Noah?” I ask, trying to keep my voice light. My hands tighten around my coffee, and I almost spill the whole thing all over myself. “I dunno.” I shrug, like Noah hasn’t even crossed my mind, when, of course, he’s the only thing I’ve been thinking about.

    “Didn’t you guys drive to school together?”


    “Why not? You guys drove to work together every day over the summer.”

    “Not every day,” I say. “And besides, I have a car now.” I run my hand over the steering wheel of my new car, the car that took me all summer to save up to buy. It’s red (perfect), four doors (perfect), a 2005 (adequate) and has 120K miles on it (not so perfect, but beggars can’t be choosers, especially when it comes to transportation.) “And besides,” I add, “Noah drives to school with Ava usually.”

    “Oh, right.” Lacey wrinkles up her nose. “I forgot that Ava’s back.” She says “Ava” like it’s a dirty word. “Sorry,” she says. “I know she’s your friend.”

    “That’s okay.” If Lacey thinks I’m acting weird, she doesn’t say anything, which is a good sign. If Lacey doesn’t realize anything’s going on, maybe Ava won’t either. And if Ava doesn’t, maybe Noah won’t. And that way we can just forget everything that happened this summer, especially what happened last night. Just push it all under the rug and start fresh. La, la, la, there it goes, like some kind of garbage being taken out to the curb, poof! I start to feel a little better. Maybe everything is going to work out after all. Of course, I don’t want to be the kind of girl with a scandalous secret, but sometimes you have to take what you can get and just—

    Suddenly, something slams into the back of my car, and my whole body flies forward, my chest hitting the steering wheel.

    “Shit!” Lacey says. Her fingers tighten around her coffee and the lid goes flying off, her cappuccino sloshing over the sides of the cup and splattering the front of the glittery silver tank top she’s wearing. “Shit, shit, shit!” She swivels her head around, strands of her hair whipping against her face.

    I look in the rearview mirror. A red car (something expensive—maybe a Lexus?) has backed into me, and the driver, a girl wearing camouflage capris (doesn’t she know those are so five years ago?), comes rushing out of the driver’s side, and then peers down at my bumper. She looks like she’s about to burst into tears.

    I close my eyes for a moment, and then open my door and climb out, Lacey hot on my heels.

    “What the hell is wrong with you?” Lacey demands. She pulls the sunglasses she’s wearing down off the top of her head and slides them over her eyes.

    “Oh my God, I’m like sooo sorry,” the girl says. She’s younger than us (probably a sophomore?) and she twists her hands into a knot in front of her. Her face is getting all scrunchy, like she really might be about to start crying.

    “It’s okay,” I say, kneeling down and inspecting my bumper. There’s a tiny scratch, about two inches long, running down one side of it. “It looks like it’s just a small scratch.”

    “A small scratch?” Lacey yells. She bends down and looks at the car. “You know how much small scratches cost to get fixed, Hannah? Like thousands of dollars!”

    “I’m so sorry,” the girl says again. She’s wearing Converse sneakers, a black tank top, and about three million pounds of black eyeliner.

    “It’s okay,” I say. She’s obviously one of those gothy girls who, like, pretends she’s over everything, but inside is about five seconds away from crying constantly. Seriously, goth girls cannot handle anything.

    “My dad is going to flip,” Goth Girl says. “He just got me this car. For a birthday present.”

    “Oh, God,” Lacey says. I’ll bet she’s rolling her eyes under the sunglasses, thinking of the hours and hours we spent this summer behind the counter at Cooley’s, sweating under the broken air conditioner and serving bottomless cups of coffee to the old men who would come in every day, sit for hours, and then tip us a dollar.

    “Look,” I say to the girl, before Lacey can tear into her again, “Can you just give me your insurance information?” I guess that’s what you’re supposed to do in these situations. I mean, I’m not completely sure, since I’ve never actually been in a car accident. Until a few days ago, I never even had a car.

    “Right,” the girl says. She heads to her car, rummages around in her glove compartment, and comes back. She carefully copies everything down onto a sheet of paper from a brand new black binder that’s covered with stickers of bands I’ve never heard of, then rips it out and gives it to me.

    “Thanks, Jemima,” I say, glancing down at her name on the paper. Jemima? No wonder she looks so nervous. With a name like that you’re probably used to bad things happening to you. Starting, of course, with your parents naming you Jemima.

    “Why were you pulling out of a space, anyway?” Lacey asks. “School’s about to start. Shouldn’t you have been pulling into a space?” She looks down at the coffee stain on her tank top. “Does your insurance cover clothing? Because this tank top was extremely expensive.” It’s a lie, of course. Lacey got that tank top for $12.99 at Old Navy.

    “I forgot something,” Jemima says, chewing on her bottom lip. “At home. So I was going back to get it. And I’ll pay for your tank top. How much did it cost?”

    “I hope your dad’s, like, a lawyer or something, being able to afford that fancy car. Because, honestly, if I get whiplash or some kind of neck affliction . . .” Lacey rubs her neck, ignoring Jemima’s tank top offer.

    “Okay, well, bye!” I say to Jemima, shooting her a look that says, get the hell out of here if you want to save yourself.

    She scampers away obediently before Lacey has a chance to threaten any more litigation.

    “Lacey!” I say. “You didn’t have to scare the poor girl.”

    “Sorry,” she says. “But Hannah, you have to be tougher on people. What if we were pushovers, and she decided to, like, commit insurance fraud or something so that she wouldn’t have to pay for your car.”

    “Insurance fraud? Lacey, I don’t think that’s really—”

    “Besides,” she says, “I’m the one who should be scared. I have a bad neck now probably.”

    “You do not have a bad neck,” I say, rolling my eyes. I walk back toward the car and open the door.

    “What are you doing?” Lacey asks. “It’s almost time for homeroom. The bell’s going to ring in, like, one minute, and I need to see what Danielle Shapiro is wearing. I’ll bet she has a fake tan with one of those little heart cutout things. You know, like skanky body art?”

    “You go ahead,” I tell her. “I’ll just—”

    “Hannah!” Lacey says. “You are coming into school! Forget about stupid Sebastian Bukowski and his dumb friends. You are sooo over him!” She crosses over to my side of the car and puts her hands on my shoulders. “Hannah, you are amazing. You are gorgeous and smart and you deserve someone way better than Sebastian. He doesn’t even deserve to be a passing thought through your brain.” She looks into my eyes. “Now, we are going to go into school, me and you, and no matter what happens, I’m going to be right by your side, okay? Nothing to worry about.”

    “Thanks, Lace,” I say, giving her a weak smile. I don’t have the heart or the strength to tell her that Sebastian’s not even the half of it. That he’s not even the quarter of it. I don’t have the heart to tell her about Ava, or about what happened with Noah last night. And I don’t have the strength to argue with her. So when she takes my hand, I don’t protest, and when she pulls me across the parking lot, I force my feet to march in the direction of school.

    Here goes nothing.

  • Meet the Author

    Lauren Barnholdt is the author of the teen novels The Thing About the Truth, Sometimes It Happens, One Night That Changes Everything, Two-way Street, Right of Way, and Watch Me. She is also the author of the middle grade novels The Secret Identity of Devon Delaney, Devon Delaney Should Totally Know Better, Four Truths and a Lie, Rules for Secret-Keeping, Fake Me a Match, and the Girl Meets Ghost series. She lives in Waltham, Massachusetts. Visit her at LaurenBarnholdt.com.

    Customer Reviews

    Average Review:

    Post to your social network


    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    See all customer reviews

    Sometimes It Happens 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 115 reviews.
    pagese More than 1 year ago
    One little events can change your life as well as the readers opinion on the whole situation. Such was the case with this story. Yeah...the description is misleading a little. I liked Hannah. I even felt sorry for her. Ava was a total bi#%h. It's no wonder that Hannah has no friends outside of her. I sure wouldn't want to hang out with her. So when Ava all of sudden decides to take a job as a camp counselor, Hannah has no idea who to turn. Ava, being the generous person that she is, had Noah check up on her. Why, I can never really figure out. I liked that Hannah makes new friends and step outside of her comfort zone. I really loved that she finally decided to see that maybe Ava wasn't the best person to be friends with. I really like Noah as well. He's funny, sweet, and seems to be able to bring Hannah out of her funk. What I don't see is what he ever saw in Ava. I like the dynamics of his relationship with Hannah. You can tell he's trying to step away from what he's feeling. And it's not that Hannah is always trying to put herself in front of him. He's trying to do the right thing. I also enjoyed Lexie. She's just the person that Hannah needed to become friends with. I found it interesting that she's dated the same person as Ava, but we don't know much about her until they become friends. What's obvious is Lexie and Ava's mutual dislike of each other. Feels like there's more of a story there. I actually was really enjoying this book until we learn what happened that night. I could have a forgiven a kiss. It wouldn't be the first time a girl likes her best friends boyfriend. But, I never pegged Hannah as the type to sleep with him. I don't buy the whole excuse "sometimes it happens." Because, that's one of those lines that shouldn't be crossed (even if your BFF is the type of person that Ava is). Plus, it felt so rushed and lacked the romance, even if they really do really care about each other. In real life, the best friend isn't really likely to forgive. And the labels that would come along with that make it even less likely that the guy is going to stick around (because you know the whole school is going to learn of this).
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I really did enjoy this book, I was at Barnes and Noble with a friend and I happened to stumble upon it. I think the story was well-written and had me thinking more questions. Such as, I always wondered if Ava lied about the "tall boy" in the supermarket and If Ava and Hannah ever moved past what happened. I led my imagination to believe that Ava and Hannah would be at peace but never be close friends, but I also let myself believe that Noah and her stayed together. I always imagined that it would be about 4 months later and Noah and Hannah are in the hallway together and they see Ava with her new group of friends and Hannah stops Noah and smiled at Ava and she smiles back as if everything was okay between them but they need a bunch of time apart but that is only my imagination. I also don't blame what happened fully on Hannah and Noah, I blamed some of it on Ava because she left her best friend heart broken with a sweet guy, that's just asking for a disaster.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book was pretty good. It was serious and intresting. But i hate hannah and noah 4 wat they did to ava, they were really mean and overall i never liked them. Buy it tho, its a really good read.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book was great but in the review it said her boyfriends name was ryan but in the book its sebastion
    maybe_one_day More than 1 year ago
    Good. One of the best books I have ever read!! Read it!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I LOVE this book. How much do I love this book? well you will see. I am a bookworm and I read like I don't know more than 10 books this year. I am obsessed with reading and this is actually my favorite book for this year. I mean this is why this is my favorite book for this year. Sometimes It happensis about a teenager who falls in love with her best friend's boyfriend. It happens in a teenage's daily life. The story isn't un realistic but normal. The story would happen to any teenager in high school. It is also very emotional and has romance in it of course. I love books that has romance.This book is about forbidden love between a teenager girl and her best friend's boyfriend. It talks about what happens after he finds out and what happens when her best friend finds out that she likes her best friend. It also talks about how friendship gets destroyed because of a relationship or a guy. I would rate this book 5 stars ..well actually, if this website allowed you to rate a book more than 5 stars, I would vote the larger number.   
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I really enjoyed this book. There was a lot of drama. Some of the things Hannah did were really wrong. But she handled all the problems well. I reccomend this to 13 and up.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Such an amazinf book the lovd in it is crazy and yoi cant putcit doen
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    i liked this book.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I got it from the libary and it waz a really good book .
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book is depressing beyond belif,l wish i hadnt bought it dont waste your money.Everyone either cheated or got cheated on!Go buy a book that is happy noy sad please.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Loved it! :)
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    My friend is reading this book and cant wait till she lends it to me or i get it on my nook!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Dazzlamb More than 1 year ago
    A summer can change everything. Especially friendships and lovers. When Hannah’s best friend Ava leaves town, she can’t help but fall in love with her best friend’s boyfriend. It’s a thrill and a dilemma at the same time. Lauren Barnholdt did a really good job picturing these ambivalent emotions going along with a situation like Hannah and Noah’s. We get a great contrast between the things you are supposed to do, you want to do and you do in the end. Interweaving flashbacks and present events in an engaging narration, that very well increases the reader’s anticipation, the story inevitably leads towards the peak of Hannah and Noah’s affair. The outcome which is addressed several times. But then…pouf. Lauren Barnholdt didn’t achieve to create a culmination point worth all the anticipation due to a lack of details. In the end the reader is just left with all that wondering and waiting what would really happen between the two. SOMETIMES IT HAPPENS is full of relationship drama of main protagonists and secondary characters. It was enlightening to be thrown into the whole. But the story itself had a few flaws and wasn’t that thrilling as I’d imagined it to be in the end. THE VERDICT 3,5/5 ***/* SOMETIMES IT HAPPENS – An enjoyable summer read about a lot of feelings and fun that convinces with its writing and characters.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book is very simialar (almost the same!) to somethin g like fate! Maybe someone ripped offsomeone else????? Idk but i do recommend them they are full of drama suspence and romance! Even though i havent read this one. Excuse the rating! :) -Hello kitty lover :D