Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Review: Anyone But You by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Title: Anyone But You
Authors: Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
Publisher: Merit Press
Publish Date: January 18th, 2014
Rating:

These violent delights have violent ends...

Gigi Caputo is fed up. A vicious act of vandalism has dealt another blow to her family's proud pizza heritage, and the Montes--owners of a rival Italian restaurant--are clearly to blame. The hostility goes far beyond bragging rights for best pizza in Chicago. The Montes have been bent on destroying Cap's for four generations. Even if it means putting herself in harm's way, Gigi's determined to get to the bottom of the feud. Instead, in a secret encounter with Roman Monte, the very boy whose relatives have brought her family such grief, she finds both danger and love at first sight. If the daughter and son of these two warring families fall for each other, can it be anything but a recipe for disaster? Slowly, Gigi and Roman learn that their story is fatefully linked to the summer of 1933, when two twelve-year-olds, Benny and Nick, hop the turnstile at the Chicago World's Fair. The most stunning wonder of the fair is Stella, who innocently causes a lasting rift between the two boyhood. Wending its way through past and present day, this modern take on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is bittersweet, funny, and intensely exciting. It's classic romance--a tale of hate and the only force that can ever defeat it: love.

Anyone But You by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes (book 3 in the Twisted Lit series) was an emotional roller coaster I was not prepared for when I first heard about this retelling of Romeo and Juliet.

I'm not, and never have been, a fan of Shakespeare's story of love at first sight. No matter how many times I hear the story, I just can't connect to the characters because they seem so stupid and selfish to me. But Gigi and Roman's love, while still impossibly cheesy love at first sight, felt a little more grounded in reality then their 15th century counterparts. The romance, while obviously the centerpiece of the story, wasn't overpowering. And, actually, the romance sort of felt like it was brushed to the side compared to other parts of the storyline. But it was just enough for me to enjoy without wanting to roll my eyes.

Unbeknownst to me going into Anyone But You (probably because I only skimmed the synopsis before reading), there are actually two points of view as you flip between chapters. Gigi's, of course, but we also get to see the point of view of Roman's great-grandfather, Nick Monte, when he was young. Nick's point of view caught me off guard but his story was one that needed telling, or else Gigi and Roman's story would have never come about in the first place. The story of Nick Monte and Gigi's great-grandfather, Benny Caputo, plays a vital role in why the families have been feuding for almost a century, but it was also, to me at least, the most emotion part of the novel. Their friendship, and inevitable falling out, tugged at my heart strings and I'm not embarrassed to say I cried (publicly) while reading the last few chapters.

At first I wasn't sure I liked the way each chapter flipped back and forth between the two different stories and time periods. It's cool that you get to see the two different time periods and the history of the families, but was a bit of a headache going back and forth at first. But then the paced picked up in Nick and Benny's story and that was it. I fell in love with those boys and their friendship and struggles. And that just made me respect the story of Gigi and Roman so much more.

If you're a lover of Romeo and Juliet, or just love in general, I urge you to give Anyone But You a read. And if you enjoy it make sure you check out the rest of the Twisted Lit series for more contemporary retellings of Shakespeare's famous works!

For more about Anyone But You check out these sites!


1 comment:

  1. Great review! I've been seeing this book all over the place lately. It sounds very similar to Crash by Lisa McMann, which was also very Romeo & Juliet about two teens who's family's owned rival Italian Restaurants, but with a supernatural twist.

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