Book Review: “Anything to Have You” by Paige Harbison
Title: Anything To Have You
Other Books by Author: Here Lies Bridget, New Girl
With thanks to Mira Ink/Harlequin Teen for the copy of this novel! As always, my reviews are non-bias and fair.
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.
As a huge fan of Paige’s previous books, I was thrilled to be able to read Anything To Have You. I could tell it was *exactly* what I was looking for right now, a Contemporary novel that is kind of half romance / half friendship, where it’s kind of in the balance between. I had seen some conflicting reviews on Goodreads, but having read both New Girl and Here Lies Bridget, and seeing that they weren’t alike either, I wasn’t setting out to compare Anything to Have You, to them, and consider it in it’s own league instead of comparison.
The book started out in Natalie’s POV, which sets a very high standard to when we move onto Brooke in the later stages. I found that Natalie was the best person to start off the book, because she was a step back from the action and I found her to be a more reliable narrator as a whole. That being said, Brooke wasn’t a bad narrator, but she had a very strong voice and personality, and played the “party girl” who kind of has everything but still wants more, and was always in the center of it all.
I’m always interested in seeing the dynamics of a friendship, because unlike a relationship, friendships have roots and are bound a lot closer than relationships. Natalie and Brooke were very different personalities and they clashed in a lot of ways being opposites, but their friendship is still very strong, though evolves to be on unsteady ground. Aiden, Brooke’s long-time boyfriend, comes between them quite a bit at first, even without Brooke quite realizing it. There seems to be that unresolved energy between him and Natalie, and it’s clear that as the book goes on, he cares for them both, although he remains with Brooke regardless of having alternate feelings for Natalie in the beginning. As the book goes on and the event of the novel takes place, the balance shifts completely.
There was a lot of swearing in the dialogue, mainly on Brooke’s part (though Natalie does too), and I know that some other bloggers had found that excessive, but with the book being in the narrative of two teenagers and a lot of them in the real world using language like that on a regular occasion, it seemed more realistic to me, rather than unnecessary. Just like the drinking, it was something that made the story just feel that little bit more real to me. But of course, that’s my opinion and others may feel objective to that.
Natalie was my favourite narrator and character, probably. She was a quite a bit naive and spent a lot of time inside rather than going out with Brooke to parties and other events. I don’t condone cheating or lying to your friends about doing so, but I did much more prefer Natalie with Aiden instead of him with Brooke. I think that Brooke took Aiden for granted because he was always so sweet to her, and she did on several occasions suggest cheating on him, and she was always in demand for attention 100% of the time.
But that being said, she did live up to the name of being the bad, party-girl who always drank and swore in general. I do think that Natalie treasured Aiden more and even though the cheating and mystery of that night does end in her favor, I could tell it killed her that she had hurt her best friend, even if she didn’t remember it.
The girls friendship is put through some hard times in the book, and I think that their opposite interests and personalities did make them seem unsteady in parts, but you can tell that they were really good friends, even if Brooke was a little selfish and Natalie was a hermit at times. I would’ve really liked to delve more into Natalie’s character, (because the POV’s changed a few times, and we never see her full potential as a character) and I did actually love that ending with Brooke. It was bittersweet to see how the roles reverse and how things changed as the book ended for each character.
A seriously amazing book, Anything to Have You doesn’t disappoint in giving Gossip Girl’s antics a run for it’s money. With strong main characters and a killer storyline, it just knocked Here Lies Bridget off it’s title as my favourite Paige Harbison book. Definitely five star worthy in my opinion. That epilogue was worth five on it’s own.
I recently got this one from netgalley so I'm to see you enjoyed it. You mentioned it'll give gossip girls a run for its money 🙂 that sounds good to me because I liked that show. Great review. Can't wait to read this one too
I hope you love it as much as I did. I know there were some conflicted thoughts on it from everyone on Goodreads, but it really suited my reading style. And the whole friendship dynamics did remind me so much of when Gossip Girl was on.
Thank you so much for stopping by! 🙂
The swearing. YES. I honestly don't get how anyone can have an issue with that. I mean, have you been outside lately? And yes, it made it more realistic, because seriously that's one of the issues I have with most YA, the no swearing. I don't mind if there's not, but yeah. I didn't like this as much as you though, I did enjoy it, but I just really, really found Brooke a bitch to be honest, and found Natalie was a lot more giving than Brooke, especially because of Natalie liking Aiden first and how she just swept that aside. It's definitely not for everyone, but glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
Kirsty @ StudioReads
I agree with you so much. Its obvious that all around the world, teens swear, yes there are the odd few that don't, but it just bothers me that people are giving it a low rating because it's realistic!
Thank you so much, though, for stopping by ♡
I really like Anything to Have You. I was surprised that I did but I think the drama and the high tension worked for me. There were parts that didn't work for me. Two things in particular really bothered me (but I want go into them because they're spoiler). Still, I really liked this novel.
Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books
I think I may know the things that bothered you, because there were some untouched elements that were risked in the novel and aren't in a lot of YA books, but like you said, the drama was a good thing for me, too 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by! xo
This is actually the first positive review I've seen for this book. I have an ARC, but haven't read it yet (I'm a bit behind). I do love that the focus of this book is on a complicated friendship as much or more than on romance. I'm excited to give this a try now. Great review!
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