Review: Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison

Review: Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison

Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison

Published by Harlequin Teen on January 28, 2014

304 pages
Purchase on Fully Booked


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 had potential. It could have been one of those really angsty books that makes you have feels. Sadly, the characters lost me along the way and all I felt for the book was, for a lack of a better term, ‘meh.’

I started off nicely with Natalie. She had teenage voice that readers could believe and her personality was likable- she was a nice home-buddy who seemed to be a good friend. I really felt like we could have hit it off because I sensed her to be a smart, witty girl as I was reading the first few pages. That feeling didn’t last. In the first chapters, we see how close Natalie and her best friend, Brooke, were and I thought for a second that this could be a good book about friendships going through troubles. Maybe it could have been. However, the things I could’ve liked were outweighed by the things that irked me.

“I love love. Romantic love is different every single time. It’s like having these lovely, sparkly, little secrets with different boys.”

What irked me first and foremost was that everyone was good-looking and popular. Natalie was quite the recluse but she was attractive and therefore adored by most. Brooke was gorgeous and the life of the party. All the boys were hot and ripped and sought out by the girls. Look, if this was a romance or a comedy book, I probably wouldn’t have minded so much. Thing is, the book tries to be serious- it talks about grave teenager issues like sex, alcohol, drugs, betrayal and such- I felt like it was being superficial, talking about external appearances whilst tackling the aforementioned.

Then, there’s the very obvious plot. I’m not sure if it was just me, being a pretty good guesser and all, or if it was just that the author wasn’t trying hard to hide the direction she was going but the story and the characters were just predictable. I can see that there was some effort on the author’s part to construct the plot, make it quite like a roller coaster ride, but the predictability was, as always, a turn-off. Even with all this, I liked how the ‘everything’s-rolling-downhill’ part of the book unraveled. I think that one had some pretty strong emotions despite never really connecting with the two female protagonists and disliking the male leads.

“I act how I act because that feeling is so addictive… There’s that moment where you feel like a girl. Not a queen, not a goddess, not a supermodel. A girl in the way that boys are supposed to think about us. Like the golden sunlit, breeze-in-the-hair girl that we all want to be.”

Was the book bad? No, it wasn’t. Like I said, I feel like the author put some thought in her work. It’s just that it didn’t work for me. I feel no hate towards the books nor do I feel any love- it was just meagre. Anything To Have You is a book about best friends going through a rough time and facing the biggest challenge their friendship would have to endure- decide for yourself if you want to check it out.



7 Responses

  1. Hazel girlie, hey!
    I actually have a copy of Anything to Have You as well, but now I’m not so sure if I’ll be picking it up after reading your review. It’s so unfortunate that this book had tons of potential, but so many things ended up falling short! I think it’s so unrealistic that everyone is good-looking and it sure is superficial that way. And blatant predictability in a book is always boring. :( Thanks for your honest thoughts, I’ll reconsider reading this one! Lovely review, Hazel. <3

  2. I tried to read this book myself, and after 100+ pages, it just wasn’t coming to me at all. I shared your feelings about the characters and how superficial the characters were that in the end, I dnf’d it, but I did review what I read and gave it 2 stars, so it would appear that from your review, I did well to ditch it when I did. This is a very helpful review Hazel :)

  3. Awww, this is unfortunate! I haven’t read it yet, but I have it so I’m sure I will eventually. It still sounds like something I’d like (which probably makes me sound really superficial or something but I promise I’m not!), but I’m glad that I’ve got a bit of a warning before going into it. At least I know to not get my hopes up TOO much!

  4. That really sucks that this novel just didn’t do it for you. I understand how the typical popular girl is annoying but doesn’t the usual nerdy, insecure girl with straight A’s get boring sometimes as a main character? At least it wasn’t so bad that you hated it but I guess not having any great positive feelings towards it is no good either.

    Thanks for the honest review!
    – Francoise @ My Crazy Bookish World

  5. “What irked me first and foremost was that everyone was good-looking and popular” — well, isn’t everyone nowadays. Everyone is extremely beautiful and if not, then the quiet beauty or avarage looking girl still draws the attention of the hottest guy. Original, yes. *eyeroll* My friend Nick reviews this one today on her blog and she didn’t enjoy it either. I guess being superficial in a supposedly grave book adds a touch of annoyance to readers’ experience while reading, but it makes no sense, so.. I don’t blame you for not liking that aspect. “but the predictability was, as always, a turn-off. ” — yes to this! It’s funny how you and Nick talked about completely different aspects you disliked, but they’re still things that bother me so I won’t pick this up. Oh, but I meant to ask, did you mind the POV switch?

  6. Uh oh. This book has been getting quite the polarizing reviews. I guess I have to see for myself but based on your review, I am very wary now. Great review Hazel!

  7. I also thought that the plot was predictable, sort of like when you are anticipating a train hitting something stuck on the tracks. I seem to be reading a lot of reviews where people really dislike Brooke, if not both of the main girls, but I loved Brooke and identified with her in a lot of ways.

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