ARC Review: Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Expected publication: January 28th 2014 by Harlequin Teen

I usually like Paige Harbison books. They have a realism and edginess that authors can sometimes not quite nail. Unfortunately I didn't connect with this one at all and was still trying to figure out the message the book was trying to convey.

Natalie and Brooke have been BFF's since a young age. When a new, hot guy arrives at school Brooke is the one to take a step out with him, although Natalie told her to put in a good word for herself. Brooke, who is a little jealous of her popular but introvert friend appears to take this as a challenge and soon enough Brooke and Aiden are dating. One year on, Natalie is still popular and quiet, Aiden is the nice, kind boyfriend, but Brooke isn't happy with her life. This is where the book picks up from.

The characters are very real. Brooke is obsessively jealous of her best friend and boyfriends friendship and thinks the only way to try to be more popular than Natalie is to drink and party. She seeks attention, craves it, wants guys to ogle her even though she has a boyfriend. Her jealousy soon gets mixed with antagonism. She hangs out with like-minded people who are not like Natalie. She begins to see how Natalie and Aiden are more suited as a couple but she refuses to give him up.

Natalie however goes to a party, a rarity for her. She wakes up the next day knowing something happened with a guy but is unsure who it was. Eventually, she sees a change in Brooke and keeps her growing feelings for Aiden undercover. After all, you do not get with your best friend's boyfriend, big no no!

The story is told from two POV's, Natalie and Brooke. My honest opinion is that the author wanted readers to warm to Brooke. To understand the whys and wherefores of how she works. Personally it only made me hate her even more.

Topics covered as our two best friends free-fall are drugs, alcohol abuse, pregnancy and cheating. I would say that they were all covered sympathetically, the author could have gone for a far more shocking story than she did.

Two things strike me as I finished. Firstly, the book title was wrong. It should have been Anything to be you. Certainly Natalie didn't do anything to get Aidens attention, she was just herself. And Brooke didn't want Aiden, not really so that doesn't work either. The second thing was that none of the characters talked. Even though they're all supposed to be very best friends and shared a lot of time together they never aired their laundry with each other. I mean, don't teenagers break up and make up all the time, not sit on problems and let them escalate as badly as they did in this book.

I honestly think the author took her finger off the pulse on this one and therefore it just didn't seem quite accurate. But that's just my opinion. :)

- CBx

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