*I received a free copy of Anything You Want from Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on 3 May 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge, COYER Summer 2016
Expect a bundle of joy—er, trouble—in this hilarious, heartwarming story from the award-winning author of Stupid Fast Geoff Herbach
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 a dad and how to pass calculus. And then there's getting Maggie's parents to like him. Because it would be so much easier for them to be together if he didn't have to climb the side of the Corrigans' house to see her...
Anything You Want is a strange little story where the narration reads like a stream of consciousness from Taco’s point of view.
Taco is the kind of youth that seems too naive and simple-minded to function fully in the real world. My 14-year-old boy is much more mature and critical than Taco was! And the fast pace where Taco shared every single thought going through his mind at the time was exhausting! If I had been in a room with Taco, I think I would have asked him to shut up after a couple of minutes, that’s how his word-debit (not to say word-womit) affected me! And don’t even get me started on his girlfriend, Maggie! At the start of Anything You Want, they were freshmen, and then, juniors for the rest of the story. And they had had some kind of sex-ed, because Taco recalled some of it once it was way too late.
Anything You Want is not a romance, far from it! And while there are a lot of things that annoyed me, there were some important subjects that were touched as well. Like, safe sex, absent parents, death of a parent, alcoholism, responsibility, staying positive in the face of adversity, working hard at school, living with consequences of our choices and actions. Which is definitely a lot to cover in 320 pages of fast-paced thought process, right? And that is the main reason I didn’t really enjoy the story very much. The narrative voice was grating, and I found Taco to be way too dis-connected from what was happening around him. At the same time, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him! His mom had died the year before, his dad moved away for work reasons, and Taco and his older brother Darius were left to fend for themselves in a new house.
Not much made a lot of sense in Anything You Want, at least not for the first 80% of the story. When Taco finally started looking at his life and how to move forward seriously, and with help from on of the fe responsible adults in is surroundings, I felt like the story did have some merit after all. And I think that maybe younger teens might enjoy Taco and his incessant babbling about ‘doing it’ and how he’s a ‘Maggie-junkie’ and so on. However, to reach the target audience, the cover might have to be changed, because I don’t know many teen boys who’d pick up a book with this one…
We stood in the hall at school, leaned up against her locker as a bunch of freshmen, a total wad of screaming monkeys, ran by on their way to gym.
So things were crap, and I began to lose the pep in my cucumber. I was seriously beginning to think my mom was wrong about everything, and maybe life really is terrible like Darius always says.