To be honest, I had already started this book several months ago and lost interest. It’s supposed to be about two people who should be together, but is really about deception, dishonesty and being passed-out drunk.
Briefly: Brooke and Natalie are best friends. Brooke is the outgoing one, flirty and party-loving. Nat much prefers to stay home and to herself. Brooke’s boyfriend, Aiden, is an adorable and deep football player who Natalie decides she wants when he first transfers from Texas to their school. But, like always, Brooke wins his heart. Though he is always attentive and kind to Nat, she could never tell him how she’s always felt about him. She must be content to live in Brooke’s shadow, occasionally acting out of the ordinary (for her) and taking care of her father. But Aiden does seem to be paying more attention to Nat lately…
But then he’s so moody with Nat, even though they had fun watching old movies (Nat’s fave!) together. Though they didn’t tell Brooke. And what’s up with Brooke lately anyway? Since they’re seniors, Nat has given in recently to Brook’s constant whining about having fun since they are all about to graduate and possibly go their separate ways.
Didja Like It?: No. It is a surfacy story that has one of those heroines who claims to never do certain things and then does. Before the story begins, she has sex with a guy well-known for sleeping with tons of girls and moving on immediately, and she ignores her inner voice about how to handle her feelings about Aiden. While Nat vacillates between being a homebody/partier, teetotaller/passed-out drunk, best friend/boyfriend stealer, Brooke is the one-dimensional party girl who will do anything for attention. She even flirts in front of her boyfriend, ’cause, well, that’s how she deals with her boredom. Boy, the author really wants us to ship Aidalie. Nataden. Whichever. There are so many cards stacked against Brooke in the keeping Aiden department that Vegas stopped taking bets, closed the casino and rolled up the sidewalks.
And then there are the few chapters sprinkled in the book that are from Brooke’s POV. You see the same scenes from her viewpoint, and frankly, they add nothing to the story or change your feelings about her or any other characters.
Anything Else to Mention?: Several things happened out of the blue. I don’t normally do SPOILERS, but when they contribute to the poor quality of the story, well, I think they are fair game.
Firstly, you find out that Nat is obsessed with cooking and is very good at it. Up to this point, there is a mention of her making hot chocolate and one other food item (which I can’t even remember what it was), but nothing about this being something she enjoys. I can only think that the author wanted to really hammer in the idea that Nat has no idea what to do with her life (as this was harped on at every opportunity). All it did, however, was make for this surprise revelation near the end. And ANOTHER SPOILER:
Next, there is the unplanned pregnancy. You see, this is so IRONIC, since Natalie herself was unplanned (btw that’s irony, Alannis). Her mother, who was a free spirit, wanted an abortion; her father did not. When motherhood got too overwhelming (10-year-old Natalie was a HANDFUL, though there’s no evidence other that her saying so), Mom departed. That should have been a clue to me, along with the one time Natalie threw up (WEIRD!), her boobs getting bigger (AWESOME!) and her general malaise (How could you tell? Isn’t she always generally malaise-y?). The problem was, these instances were touched on briefly, then the story moved on. They just seemed too far apart, time-wise. Plus, I just didn’t care. I knew she was going to discover that she’d “accidentally” slept with Aiden (and not another guy), the child was his, and everything would be special and golden and Brooke, though pissed off at first, would come to realize that the relationship between Aiden and Natalie was much more Westley/Princess Bride than Brooke’s and Aiden’s pairing.
To Read or Not To Read: This book is crammed full of TELLING instead of SHOWING, which is up there on my list (along with crappy story arcs) of heavily disliked sorts of writing. And the title? It needs to be attached to a different book. During the first 3/4 of the story, it just seems out of place. And during the last quarter, it sounds creepy.
Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison was published January 29, 2014 by Harlequin Teen. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, the Publisher and the Author.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance
Ages: 14 and up
You Might Want to Know: Mature themes, including underage drinking, sex, drugs and profanity.