Review: ‘Anyone But You’ by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes #2WeeksofThanks

This review is part of my Two Weeks of Thanks to book publisher Merit Press. They have generously and continuously provided me with books to review over the past two years.

Imagine a feud lasting for generations. None of the current family members have any idea why there has been a rift, a hatred, really, between the Caputo and Monte families, but they take turns lobbing pranks at each other, the latest happening just at the Caputos are struggling to keep customers coming to their old-fashioned Chicago Italian restaurant. The false alarm and subsequent deluge from the fire sprinklers did more damage than just dousing their customers and a restaurant reviewer with cold water. They were counting on a positive report to bring  in more patrons.

The Caputos have a grand reopening under the guise of a Sweet 16 party for their daughter, Gigi. Her father has had to get an investor to help get them back on track, but, unbeknownst to him, it comes with a price. Gigi is expected to date the money man’s son, Perry, an insufferable boor who’d rather discuss his digestive issues and who assumes Gigi will be thrilled to have him. In the middle of all of this, Gigi sees him. Some boy she has never laid eyes on before crashes her party, and when Perry starts to talk about an upcoming date that Gigi has not agreed to, this mystery boy swoops in and takes her away.

It’s not until later that her furious cousins/protectors tell her the bad news…this perfect boy is Roman Monte, the son of their sworn enemy.

Nick and Benny were best friends from the neighborhood, with Benny’s optimism is tempered by Nick’s caution. Benny’s the outgoing one, always flirting, so sure of himself. Nick is deliberate and wary of new things. But that doesn’t stop him from talking to the most beautiful girl in the world who he meets while scared to death on the Sky Ride. He takes a chance and asks to meet her later, and she says yes. He never makes it, though, because Nick and Benny fight, and Nick misses his chance. Benny, once he realizes that Nick was serious about this girl, promises that he will find Stella for Nick.

A few years later, the friends open one of the first pizza joints in Chicago that isn’t in an Italian neighborhood. Stella is lost and found again, and just as Nick is about to propose, Pearl Harbor is bombed. Will she wait for him?

There are twists and turns, missed opportunities, anger, bad timing, and broken hearts. Can there ever be forgiveness?

Whadja Think?: As a fan of Shakespeare and his universal stories that seem to ring true in any time period, I have always been a big devotee of the authors’ Twisted Lit series. This take on Romeo and Juliet is so amazing; while it is a completely new and fresh story, you can definitely see and feel the original tale coming through. Not only are the characters there, the names are perfect variants of the Capulets and Montagues. Look for the Nurse, Tybalt and experience those “if he only knew” or “if she’d only waited” moments for which Romeo and Juliet is famous.

This is the first of this series to take place in two eras; both stories are deftly woven together, so at the end, when both tales merge, you can decide if you agree with Gigi when she says, “So it’s a compete tragedy.”

My only negative: I must say that I miss the type book cover that was on the first two books. They have an energy that is missing from the cover of this book. This one is pretty dull.

To Read or Not To Read: If you are a fan of this series, it is another home run, Honus Wagner. If you are a fan of Shakespeare or Shakespeare retellings, then this version is a rose that smells as sweet.

Anyone But You by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes was published January 1, 2014 by Merit Press. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to Merit Press and the Author.

Rating: 4

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Historical Romance Series
Ages: 13 and up
You Might Want to Know: Nothing of note

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