Review: Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison
I received this book for free from the mentioned source in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.
Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison
Published by: Harlequin Teen on 1/28/2014
Genres: Friendship, Love & Romance, Social Issues, YA, Young Adult
View on: Goodreads
Grab it: Buy on Amazon
About the Book:
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, a novel by Paige Harbison tells the story of two best friends during their senior year of high school. Party girl Brooke has the perfect boyfriend, Aiden, and the popularity that goes with it. Her best friend Natalie has no boyfriend, which is fine with her, and would much rather stay home and watch movies on a Friday night than go out and party. When Natalie starts develop feelings for Aiden, trouble brews in paradise.
I’m going to start with the few things I liked about the novel. Was it entertaining? Absolutely. I had a hard time putting it down, especially towards the end. The story flowed really nicely, I never really felt like things were dragging along or speeding up too fast. The story was split into different parts, some from Natalie’s perspective and some from Brooke’s perspective. I sympathized with both girls at different times for different reasons. It was pretty well written as well. Dialogue flowed really well, not too much exposition, just right.
Now for the bad, and there’s a lot of it. I usually love young adult novels that deal with adult themes, and Anything to Have You deals with sex, drinking, and drugs, all very adult themes. But they were handled so poorly it was hard to bear. We have Brooke, who is the stereotypical party girl. She suddenly decides that because it’s their senior year, Natalie needs a boyfriend, and to have more fun. Now, I’m totally more of a Natalie. I don’t party much, I love to read, and I like sitting at home watching movies. There’s nothing wrong with that sort of lifestyle. There’s also nothing wrong with going out and partying if you’re smart and responsible about it. What IS wrong is peer pressuring people into joining a lifestyle they don’t want like Brooke does to Natalie. If you really claim to be best friends with someone, you should respect their decisions even if you might not agree with them. Natalie isn’t interested in having a boyfriend, she’d just like to figure out what she wants to do with the rest of her life. But Brooke seems to think that you need a man to feel complete, which is something else that also irked me.
Fast forward to the first party they go to (early enough in the book that this isn’t really a spoiler) Natalie decides to try and have fun, drinks, and ends up blacking out. She has the feeling that she had sex, but doesn’t know with who. This is the second part that REALLY bothered me about the book. If Natalie was so drunk that she doesn’t remember anything, she was probably too drunk to consent to sex, and the person she slept with should have never taken advantage of her in the state she was in. This would have been better if the person she slept with apologizes later on, but he doesn’t.
There are a lot of other things that really infuriated me about this novel, but I can’t get into detail about them because they’re in the latter half of the book and this review would be covered in spoilers if I mentioned them all. Just know that while I understand that Brooke has her own issues (namely parents that don’t support her dreams) but her actions and attitudes towards the latter half of the novel disgusted me. There’s plenty of blame to go around though. Should Brooke have pressured Natalie into partying more? No. Should Natalie have allowed herself to get so drunk? No. Should mystery man have taken advantage of her? Definitely no. Brooke was the one who angered me the most throughout the novel though.
Overall, I’m giving Anything to Have You 3 out of 5 controllers. The things that saved it were the fact that it did keep me entertained, and I would rather read a novel where I hate the characters than a novel where I was apathetic towards the characters. But I did not like the way things were dealt with in the novel at all.