'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 18 July 2014

Review: Anything To Have You

Natalie and Brooke are opposites, but they have been best friends forever. Natalie is quiet and studious, Brooke is the life of the party. They’re both on the threshold of adulthood, making decisions about their future and facing their final year of school. Nothing can come between them.

Then something happens, something with such significant consequences that even their friendship can’t escape the fallout. What do best friends do when they are confused and feeling betrayed? When their friendship is truly tested, will it survive?
Anything To Have You focuses on teen friendships and romantic relationships. With narration shared by Brooke and Natalie, readers gain a dual perspective on the friendships, relationships and events that cause a rift between the girls. This dual description reveals the character strengths and weaknesses of both girls as well as highlighting the bad decisions that are made based on misunderstandings and immaturity masquerading as confidence.

The drama of the story deals with a variety of teen issues including the casual abuse of alcohol and drugs, unprotected sexual encounters, infidelity, teen pregnancy, and peer and family pressures as teens transition from school to further education and/or employment. There is also the confronting circumstance of one of the girls having a sexual encounter at a party after drinking and not being able to recall the details for some time afterward.

Brooke and Natalie are a believable ‘odd couple’ friendship. Brooke’s manipulative nature and Natalie’s passivity are both to blame for the way events unfold. As an adult, I found myself wishing that either the girls or Brooke’s boyfriend Aiden had the wisdom to seek advice from a parent or teacher, however their confusion, lack of self-confidence and indecision rings true for the age of the characters.

Anything  To Have You is another excellent romantic teen novel from Harlequin Teen. By the end of the book, the storylines for Natalie and Brooke do come together rather neatly and there is the expected charismatic bad boy and charmingly handsome good guy, however there are consequences for bad choices and the drama of the story is engaging. The issues raised are topical for modern teenagers, however the focus on sexual relationships and alcohol use mean that this book is suited to slightly older teen readers.

Title: Anything To Have You
Author: Paige Harbison 
Publisher: Harlequin Teen, $16.99 RRP
Publication Date: February 2014
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781743566176
For ages: 15+
Type: Young Adult Fiction