Saturday, April 19, 2014

Review by Hillary: Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison + Dream Cast


Title: Anything to Have You
Author: Paige Harbison
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA > Contemporary > Romance
Paperback > 303 pages
Released: January 28th 2014



Nothing should come between best friends, not even boys. ESPECIALLY not boys.


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.



Anything to Have You was one of those books that come at you out of nowhere. In no shape or form did I ever hear about this book before its blog tour back in January. That goes to show how many books manage to be out of my radar until readers and bloggers really start talking about it. This book held so many expectations from me, I’m sorry to say that this story did not really meet those expectations. Although most of the story did not work for me, there are still some positives. For one, the story was an easy and fast read and the MC of this story was someone I felt I could relate with up to a point. I also thought the story offered a really valuable lesson that could only be learned through reading this story.


“When I talked to people, I felt like I could never think of the right response or anything clever to say. I was fine with people I really knew. Smart, and even funny sometimes. But with strangers or acquaintances, I was a mess.” (30)


I think what caught my initial attention towards this book at the start was how the blurb described two best friends fighting over the same guy. It is definitely an overused cliché out there, but it is also a type of addiction for someone like me who has watched countless of TV shows along the same lines. The story starts out with Natalie, the girl who describes herself as a “homebody” and who I would describe as an introvert. Brooke is her best friend who did not really describe herself as anything until towards the end, but I already knew right away from the start what I would describe her as, vain. Mean, I know, but if you have read this book or you will soon you will know what I mean. Aiden was an exception, sort of. In the beginning I thought Aiden was the sweet and understanding guy every girl dreams of having in their life, but as I kept turning pages I started to see a side to Aiden that I did not really like at all. I did not come up with a word for that side of him, but that side of him was definitely not favorable. I would describe the way I felt for him as a love-hate relationship.


“It occurred to me only then that we were at the end of our night.It was that moment of truth where we would either say goodbye…or he would stay.” (122)


This story is so hard to describe my feelings for because it all just feels like a jumbled mess. I loved how Natalie was the quiet and sometimes shy girl who does not mind having a good time every now and then, but it did bother me that she let Brooke push her around to do the things she knew in her gut were not right. At the start Natalie does internal thinking about the people she knows at school and who generally revolve her everyday life and she swears she would never go back to the girl she used to be during her freshman and sophomore years in high school, but then Brooke convinces her to let loose and get out there a little more. This is where my problems with Brooke started. Actually it started from page one since she has no filter, but the physical part of it started at the party where everything went wrong. I hated that Brooke just had to tell Natalie nicely to get out there more and have fun and she knew Natalie would listen. Brooke literally had Natalie wrapped around her little finger just as she did with Aiden. One reason I would describe Brooke as vain was because she thought beauty was the answer to everything. If she was physically pretty than there was no reason why guys should not pay attention to her, right? No. I would like to believe guys look beyond the physical parts of the opposite gender. Aiden is much harder to describe. He is a cross between a sweet guy to a jerk that has no boundaries when it comes to certain situations. There were moments I was rooting for him all the way and then there were moments where I wished to slap some sense into him. I wanted him to finally let out what was really bothering him and not keep it tight lipped as he was for most of the story.


“And maybe, for once, I wasn’t so out of place. Maybe I never had been. Maybe I had always been this girl, hiding under glasses and big sweaters. And if I had realized it a little sooner, there was a chance that maybe I wouldn’t have given up Aiden so easily to begin with.” (199)


I think what Harbison did right for this story was keeping her characters somewhat real and giving them realistic flaws that anyone could have, but I’m pretty sure that the flaws in the story went a little too far. Either that or I have yet to meet people like the ones in this story. What I was a little on the fence about for this story was the blossoming relationship between Natalie and Aiden. They felt right for each other most of the time, but the times that they felt a little off were those awkward moments I was cut between wanting to laugh at or scream out in frustration. Other than that, I feel that their much deserved relationship bloomed into something amazing and sincere. Brooke was heartbroken about this fact, but I could not feel an ounce of sympathy for her when she was cheating behind Aiden’s back and not really giving a thought of the implications it would do in their relationship. I am glad that Brooke learned from her mistakes in the end and her party ways were learned from to create a girl who could be happy about her life and appreciate the things she did have. I was worried for most of the book that Brooke would never change, so that ending was definitely something for me to appreciate and be relieved about. It also left some hope for happiness towards Brooke who was anything but happy throughout the story.


“Love is the one thing that, no matter how much you want it, if it’s not there, there is nothing you can do to get it. No measure of hard work, begging, crying, wanting or needing; nothing in the world can make love happen out of nothing.” (245)


Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison is a conflicting story to describe, but it ultimately pushes some boundaries for the YA genre I have come to know in these recent years. The characters had their fair share of flaws and problems to deal with, but in the end I felt that Natalie and Aiden did a better job at developing throughout the story while Brooke took some time to get there. The pages were easy to fly through, making it an easy and quick read which had me drawn in for most of the story. Some parts were surprising while others just had me hanging my head in shame for certain characters. The ending did not feel too wrapped up nicely which was great and although many parts had me sighing in confliction, I still felt myself enjoying certain moments. As hard as it was to recognize the message in this story, the moment I did see it I was happy that it was not all parties and fun times, but also about a character that had to confront their demons and live with what they already had instead of craving more. Do I recommend this story? I would like to say of course, but in the end I feel it depends on what readers enjoy.


3.5 STARS - I liked it a lot. Would recommend.



I thought it would be fun to find a dream cast for the three main characters in Anything to Have You. It took some brainstorming, but ultimately I think the people I found and chose to be Natalie, Brooke, and Aiden fit amazingly. Let me know if you agree or think there is someone else that would be better for any or all of the characters down in the comments.


Sammi Hanratty

Sammi Hanratty as Natalie— It was in no way an easy feat to find someone to look and be like Natalie because I just felt Natalie had to be played by someone who looks innocent, but can also hold her own when need be. Not until the other night while watching a movie on Lifetime with this actress did I think something along the lines, “She would make a great Natalie!” So it was a cross between Sammi Hanratty and Sarah Hyland and in the end I chose Sammi for having that good girl vibe in her facial features.


Cassidy Shaffer
Cassidy Shaffer as Brooke— Brooke was even tougher than Natalie. I was trying to find someone that gave off a vibe that said ‘look at me and only me’ and there are not too many people that do those types of photos. Especially when you are trying to avoid looking conceited to others. I thought Cassidy made a great Brooke because she looked the part. Not exactly conceited, but yeah…


Gregg Sulkin
Gregg Sulkin as Aiden— Aiden is not exactly easy either, but it was much easier to figure out a guy that would play his part more or less just right. Gregg is also easy on the eyes and that is how I would imagine Aiden to be. Although if Gregg really did play Aiden, he would have to get on to learning a Southern accent since he is English. Just look at that smile though...



2 comments :

  1. I haven't heard of this one! It looks like something I'd like, though. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure everyone has different tastes in books so you might like this one more than I did :-)

      Delete

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