Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Anything To Have You - Paige Harbison

Anything to Have You Paige Harbison book cover
Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Source/Format: Netgalley (Thanks, Harlequin!) || e-galley
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

Natalie and Brooke have had each other's backs forever. Natalie is the quiet one, college bound and happy to stay home and watch old movies. Brooke is the movie—the life of every party, the girl everyone wants to be.

Then it happens—one crazy night that Natalie can't remember and Brooke's boyfriend, Aiden, can't forget. Suddenly there's a question mark in Natalie and Brooke's friendship that tests everything they thought they knew about each other and has both girls discovering what true friendship really means. (from Goodreads)

Anything to Have You is one of those stories where, once started, readers will feel compelled to read until the end. It is not because the storyline is unique, or the characters are memorable. It’s because the answer to the questions posed in the summary - Will Natalie and Brooke stay friends? What will happen when it comes to Aiden? - are held out of the reader’s reach, with tantalizing developments dropped here and there within the narrative. The drive to see how it all works out really kept me turning pages, and seems like it might be the case for other readers too.

What I really liked about Anything to Have You is that it manages to focus on multiple storylines: Natalie and Brooke’s friendship, their respective romantic entanglements and even their lives individually. Juggling these things could have potentially resulted in a story skewed heavily in one direction with the others as additional elements in the background. Thankfully, that’s not the case here.

Readers will learn about each girl, especially with the dual POV used (which was unexpected, but kind of worked). It helped me understand their actions and reactions. It also helped me feel a stronger kinship with both Natalie (who’s the character I identified with more) and Brooke. This definitely contributed to my rather surprising investment in their story!

It was their friendship that was both delightful and puzzling. At first, I couldn’t understand why their friendship even existed, as Natalie and Brooke seemed like very different personalities. The roots of their friendship are revealed as Anything to Have You progresses, however, and it suddenly makes sense. Two things I feel their friendship shows? (1) Just because you’re not alike doesn’t mean that you can’t be friends. And (2) just because there’s history between two people, it doesn’t mean their friendship is perfect or requires no effort. 

This is actually one of the most interesting parts of the story, especially since it might look like their friendship is torn apart entirely by the “Aiden” thing. But really, their relationship appears to have been disintegrating for some time, and the “Aiden” thing just sped it all up.

Speaking of Aiden, it was really easy to like him. It was easy to see why both Natalie and Brooke were fascinated by him. He was just such a nice boy, the kind your parents wouldn’t think twice about letting you date. He was sweet, and thoughtful, and really kind too. I would have wanted to learn a smidge more about him, though. And I don’t necessarily condone any of the mistakes he made.

In its own way, Anything to Have You does hold its own appeal. While I would never condone cheating of any kind in real life, it’s always interesting when an author chooses to explore that aspect of a relationship. This novel is yet another that challenges us to look beyond the surface (which is the basic act of cheating) and see both the history and subsequent consequences of the action. While Anything to Have You won’t be for all readers, it was compelling and thought-provoking for me.

3 comments:

  1. This one does seem to have quite a unique storyline, I haven't heard many books explored that aspect. It definitely does sound like you can't help but want to finish it with that premise - like I want to find out what happens just by reading the blurb!

    Beautiful review Alexa! <3

    ReplyDelete
  2. This sounds so interesting. I haven't heard anything like it and I do love a good friendship. Thanks for the review!

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  3. The unputdownability of the only Paige Harbison book I've read, New Girl, was one of the reasons I enjoyed it. She kept the answers dangling, without making me frustrated at having to wait. Sounds like Anything to Have You is written similarly. I'll have to check it out on Goodreads!

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