Anything You Want
Author: Geoff Herbach
Expected Publication: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: e-ARC, 320 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming of Age
Read: April 2016
I received an e-ARC of this book from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Taco’s mom always said, “Today is the best day of your life, and tomorrow will be even better.” That was hard to believe the day she died of cancer and when Taco’s dad had to move up north for work, but he sure did believe it when Maggie Corrigan agreed to go with him to junior prom. Taco loves Maggie-even more than the tacos that earned him his nickname. And she loves him right back.
Except, all that love? It gets Maggie pregnant. Everyone else may be freaking out, but Taco can’t wait to have a real family again. He just has to figure out what it means to be dad and how to pass calculus. And then there’s getting Maggie’s parents to like him. Because it’s would be so much easier for them to be together if he didn’t have to climb the side of the Corrigan’s house to see her…
Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
I found the plot of this book to be really quick to read but it kind of turned me off in the beginning. It’s filled with drama and craziness and a lot of different deep themes. There’s teen pregnancy, abandonment, death, alcoholism, mental health and how people deal with grief. It’s very day to day driven but it packs a punch where it matters most.
Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
It’s a narrative driven kind of writing style. The writing style is reflected as the main character’s voice, his thoughts and feelings expressed directly to the reader as in a form of a diary. It threw me off a bit too because of the way the characters thinks. He’s very young and immature and naive. However, it’s very simple, fast paced and quick to read so it was easy to finish.
Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
If you don’t know already, my favorite kinds of books are the ones that are character driven, they are the ones that usually end up making my favorites list. While I didn’t exactly like the main character in the beginning, Taco began to grow on me. He’s really naive and delusional in many ways, he has a distorted view of the world and not many people seem to notice that. But he’s also very sweet and resilient and strong and has such a positive outlook on life that most people can’t help but be enamored by him, just like me. It took me awhile to connect with him because he annoyed me so much so quickly but he has the kind of charisma that you can’t help but be captured by. However, my biggest problem was with the side characters. Some of them I felt were strange and had no real point of being part of the plot while others got on my last nerve and made me hate them to the depths of my being. Yet there’s a constant theme of damage and vulnerability and “not quite right” kind of personalities that still made them all interesting to read about.
I was apprehensive in the beginning because I wasn’t a big fan of the narrative but this book ended up stealing my heart.
The plot is deeper than it seems. We follow Taco, a young guy who’s been dealt with a lot of tragedy in his life but who tries his best to keep a positive attitude with all things. Things take a turn for the crazier as he finds out his girlfriend is pregnant and he does his best to make things great again. I’m going to suggest something that I never have before but that I find completely necessary. Before you read this book, do yourself a favor and read the author’s Goodreads review. You’re probably thinking “Sara, why the hell would I do that? It would obviously be unbiased.” And I’ll explain why. Unfortunately, the cover and synopsis don’t accurate represent the kind of themes and messages this book is trying to convey, his review does. And I am so grateful that Kat, Cristina and I (the two other bloggers I read this with) read that first before delving into the book because it left us a lot more open minded to the actual content. This is not a contemporary romance, this is a coming of age story about a very unlikely, slightly annoying teenage boy who thinks like a teenage boy but with the biggest heart I’ve ever read. Don’t let the cover mislead you because it could turn you off from a book that has a lot more to say than people realize early on. That being said, I was not a fan from the beginning. Taco has a very specific way of thinking which I found naive, obnoxious and downright annoying as hell. It was too young and immature and sometimes even stupid that I even contemplated quitting which I never do. Yet slowly but surely, he won me over, he has incredibly endearing personality. The plot itself was all over the place, there were a lot of things going on at once which is not usually my cup of tea. But it highlighted my favorite part of the book which is Taco’s character development.
Taco is a cute, naive little cinnamon roll you guys. He can easily be annoying which happened to me but he’s really sweet and genuine and wholly convinced that every day is his best day ever. He’s had a really tough life: his mom died when he was young, his dad abandoned him to help keep food and the table and his depressed brother is the person in charge of their life. Yet, he never lets these things get him down at all. However, that kind of mentality starts to take a toll on him, where he tries to make everything great and amazing when it’s not like that at all. He has the toughest time accepting that it’s okay to feel sad and disappointed and frustrated and overwhelmed and how that doesn’t mean he’s the disappointment. I love his growth and how his personality changes over the course of the book and it was the sweetest, most heartbreaking journey I’ve ever read.
My biggest problem is the secondary characters. It was so frustrating to see how the people around Taco did not take into account his state of mind for a really long time. They insulted him and ridiculed him and there were very few people who understood his personality and cared about him enough to get him help and counsel. Those people I really loved, they were so needed that when they finally showed up I just wanted to shout hallelujah to the roof tops. Some of the characters had their own demons to overcome and while I understood that, it still made me incredibly angry how their problems become more important than their supposed loved ones. Yet how unwavering Taco felt about them. It really makes you think and take notice of how you treat the people around you, specially those you love.
Overall, this book took me by surprise, it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I had a hard time getting into it, but once I did, I fell in love with the main character and his journey. The plot was a little much sometimes and the side characters left a bit to be desired but the effect of the entire book on me was a positive mind. I definitely recommend this book as long as you go into it with an open mind.
So that’s it for this review! Let me know what you think and if you’re thinking about reading this book. If you do, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it! Make sure to check out Kat and Cristina’s review here and here for their thoughts as well. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!