Anything to Have You

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Anything to Have You
Age Range
13+
Release Date
January 28, 2014
ISBN
9780373210886
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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.

Editor review

1 review
Unlikable Characters; Likable Book
Overall rating
 
3.3
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
3.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
What I Liked:
Both Natalie and Brooke, the two main characters of Anything to Have You are pretty unlikable. Unlike most YA main characters, they’re popular. They party. They’re hot and they know it. Life comes easy to them. They speak using terms of slut-shaming and call each other “b^&^” as an endearment. I know a lot of bookish people really hate this sort of stuff, but I’ve had good friends who had some of these qualities and was able to appreciate the realism of a lot of what Harbison did.

Additionally, the fact that Brooke reminded me of the Brooke from One Tree Hill really proved a boon. Though she starts out the kind of person you hate, there’s room for growth, some of which you get to see come to fruition. Ultimately, I like that the boy drama between Natalie and Brooke, the fight over Aiden, is more about their friendship than about him.

Along the way, the messages are a bit questionable and I was worried about where the book was headed, but, ultimately, I think Harbison managed to handle a number of tough subjects in a pretty even-handed way. Alcoholism, drug use, infidelity, and other such issues are covered in this slim novel, and I don’t think Harbison upholds them as ideals but she also doesn’t outright condemn the characters for ever making a bad choice.

What Left Me Wanting More:
Harbison’s handling of the subject matter isn’t entirely perfect, with the ending coming a bit too smoothly, I think, but I do appreciate what she was trying to do. Anything to Have You will not work for a lot of readers. The way that Natalie and Brooke interact will be a dealbreaker for many, as will issues like infidelity. However, for me, though Anything to Have You is full of subjects that traditionally are huge turn-offs for me as a reader, I did quite like reading it.

I do feel like the book might have been stronger without being written from both points of view. Brooke’s POV didn’t add a whole lot for me and I thought the two voices sounded far too similar. There was also some unneeded repetition when the two girls were in the same scene.

The Final Verdict:
Anything to Have You is maybe what would happen if you had Courtney Summers write the script for One Tree Hill. That’s not going to work for everyone, but it’s fun if you can give the book time and an open mind. Certainly, if like me, you’ve enjoyed Harbison’s work in the past, I think you might like this one as well.
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User reviews

1 review
Overall rating
 
1.3
Plot
 
1.0(1)
Characters
 
1.0(1)
Writing Style
 
2.0(1)
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Horrible. Do not bother
Overall rating
 
1.3
Plot
 
1.0
Characters
 
1.0
Writing Style
 
2.0
Oh my goodness, this book. Sigh.

There were so many things wrong here. So, so many.

This is the second book I've read by Paige Harbison, and I'm noticing a trend. Apparently, this young author thinks that all teenagers spend their out of school hours at lavish parties full of sex, drugs, and alcohol. Wow, I basically summed up the whole plot in one sentence. Huh.

I cannot begin to express how annoyed I am with the way teenagers were portrayed in this book. If they were young college students, I would be more willing to accept the plot. But these kids were 17. I know there are some pretty uninvolved and clueless parents out there, but I find it VERY hard to believe that a father would willingly let his only daughter sleep over at boys' homes during parties. I also find it hard to believe that that same father figure would give his consent to his underage daughter's drinking at said party. Are you kidding me? Am I really supposed to buy that? I feel insulted because it's so far fetched.

So, daddy-o irritated me. But it didn't stop there. There were some seriously messed up characters in this book. For starters, let's examine Brooke. Can we say psycho? Best friend from hell. Hands down. She's a liar, manipulative, and a complete skank. It was a train wreck that you just couldn't pull away from. If her character is supposed to portray teenage best friends, then girls take this as a warning-- you are better off alone. Brooke was everything I would find in an enemy, and nothing worthy of being a friend.

Then there was Natalie. There wasn't much difference in her character either. She tries to be honest, but she leaves a lot of truths out. You might as well tell a bold faced lie if you're only going to tell half truths. Natalie is supposed to be super smart and "with it" but she's a complete idiot in the game of life. I could not believe how willingly she accepted her party outcome. No trip to the doctor. No second guesses. She just rolled with the punches like you might do when you bomb a test you know you didn't study for. Um, no. When STDs and pregnancies are on the line, I need the characters to be more intuned with reality. You don't just shrug and go about your business.

Then there was Aiden-- a sneaky pile of flaming poop. I wanted to like him because he channeled my inner nerd, but I just couldn't not get beyond what he did. AND what he continued to do. Why was is portrayed as okay in this book to have a guy take advantage of a girl that was so wasted she blacked out at a party? It was if it wasn't a big deal, and that he didn't actually date rape a girl. If I had students reading this book, I would be livid. I would not want them to read this and think it's not a big deal if a guy advances on you because you were drunk. No way! Wrong is wrong.



This book screwed up every message that young females need to learn. It was a disgrace. It just pisses me off because it makes light of very important issues, and paints teenage life in a horribly unrealistic way. Do not waste your time reading this.
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