Book Review: Anyone But You
Published By: Merit Press
Publication Date: January 18, 2014
Page Count: 222
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary, Shakespeare Inspired
I have become a huge fan of the Twisted Lit series by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes. I love how these ladies take Shakespeare's plays and update them with contemporary situations and characters. It's nice to see Shakespeare's plots and themes getting a modern face lift.
Anyone But You was inspired by Romeo and Juliet, one of my favorites. I have always found the concept of star crossed lovers to be intriguing and tragically beautiful. There is something poetic about two people who defy the odds to be together when the world (or maybe just their families) stand against them. I went into this one wondering if Askew and Helmes would follow the Bard's lead by killing off their romantic leads. That shall stay a secret; you will have to read this one to see if they stay true to that element or deviate to their own path.
Anyone But You is the story of two feuding Italian families in Chicago. Each family, The Caputos and The Montes, own popular restaurants. The two families can no longer remember what started the feud in the 1940's, but the tension is still going strong. Malicious pranks from both sides cause some series trouble - particularly for The Caputos when there restaurant is flooded - that lead to a path of financial ruin. Both families are too stubborn to work through their issues. A chance meeting between the young heirs of the businesses leads to a forbidden romance that could have dire consequences. Yes, there is a bit of instalove in this one, but let's be real, Shakespeare used instalove in the original.
There was something about this story that pulled me in from the first sentence. I loved both Gigi and Roman. In addition, I enjoyed the dynamics of the families and how they interacted with one another. It was easy to pick out which characters were directly inspired by those in the original play. This is my favorite novel in the Twisted Lit series so far.
In addition to loving these characters, I really enjoyed the narration style. It bounces back and forth between the present day and the 1930's & 1940's. The origins of the feud are slowly revealed through the past sections. The blending of history and contemporary made for a read I couldn't put down.
One Last Gripe: There is an ABC Family movie that is a Romeo and Juliet retelling that focuses on two Italian pizza making families. I kept thinking of that movie while reading this one and kept seeing the main characters as the actors. It annoyed me because other than the Italian food and Romeo and Juliet factors, the stories are very different. This is more a gripe about my brain than anything with the novel.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: I loved the historical sections and how they bled into the events of the present.
First Sentence: I took a deep breath and backed through the swinging stainless steel door, leaving the chaos of the kitchen and entering the hushed, dimly lit dining room.
Favorite Character: Gigi
Least Favorite Character: Perry
Determined to broker peace between their feuding Italian families, star-crossed sweethearts Gigi and Roman must unravel a secret that dates back more than three generations to the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. There, a pair of twelve-year-old boys have a memorable encounter that will eventually put their loyalty and friendship to the ultimate test. By resolving their great-grandfathers’ ill-fated history, can Gigi and Roman prevent their own love story from taking a tragic turn?