- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (May 3, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1402291442
- ISBN-13: 978-1402291449
- Product Dimensions: 4 x 1 x 6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,132,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Anything You Want Paperback – May 3, 2016
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"Humorous but realistic look at teen pregnancy...Herbach is a master of the teen male voice, and Taco's personality jumps off the pages." - Young Adult Book Central
"Anything You Want is a light-hearted look at a hard subject, from the eyes of a boy who means well, but doesn't always know what's going on. It's a look at growing up from the inside of Taco, a happy-go-lucky boy who just wants a family." - Examiner.com
About the Author
Wee Wisconsin boy, Geoff Herbach wanted to play for the Green Bay Packers or join The Three Stooges. His tight hamstrings left him only writing. Now he writes YA novels, including the award-winning Stupid Fast series, and teaches at Minnesota State, Mankato where he blows his students' minds with tales of football and comedy glory, none of which are true. Visit www.geoffherbach.com for more information about the author, his books, and much more.
Top customer reviews
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So why is the hero of this book, Taco, such a hyper, clueless, child? I suspect what we're trying to do here is drive home, in an amusing and engaging fashion, a number of important life lessons. And we're doing it in a sneaky I'm-smarter-than-he-is way.
This is the story of an unexpected teen pregnancy. But, it's not a heavy message book, or an after school special, or a serious episode of "Blossom". And it certainly isn't a kitchen-sink drama or an attempt at something realistic. It's the story of a big-hearted, clueless knucklehead who has no practical grasp on reality and an almost childish engagement with the real world. It seems to me that at almost every stage of this book a younger reader will see what's coming, know more than Taco, and feel superior to and more informed and in charge than Taco. And maybe that's what we're going for.
Everything is exaggerated for effect. Taco's dead Mom, the absent Father, the alcoholic older brother, the hot girlfriend and the non-stop trysts. And Taco is the naive innocent who has to learn the way of the world. He learns about sex, pregnancy, girlfriends, friends, money, responsibility, and family. This book becomes a very entertaining variation on a book that could have been called "Sex and Pregnancy for (Teenage Male) Dummies", with some of the same jokes and examples.
That's not to say that the book isn't often funny and touching. It's hard not to like generous and optimistic Taco, immaturity and all. And the reader is often caught off guard by an insightful, edgy or especially perceptive observation or throwaway line. Because it's Herbach there is great energy, humor and life affirmation here. Hard lessons are learned fairly painlessly, and there are happy outcomes for all involved. So, it's entertaining, but it makes an impression and leaves behind a message. I wouldn't want this to be my kid's only sex education, but as a painless way to drive home a message on impressionable minds it's not a bad choice at all. I waffled on this as I read it, because sometimes it almost made everything seem too easy, but on balance I saw this as an ambitious, interesting and oddly helpful bit of early teen fiction.
(Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Here's the thing. This is Geoff Herbach. I've only read one of Geoff's other YA book so far, but that was enough for me to know that Geoff has a distinct voice. He writes like a teenage guy who may not be the most intelligent thing in the world but has a humacious heart (and a whole lot of things going on that he has no control over). If you don't like Geoff's voice, you probably won't like AYW. (Check out his other books. Read a first chapter online. See if his thing is your sort of thing, too, before assuming he's not going to sound like a guy.)
Personally, I LOVE Geoff's voice. I love how real his books are. I love how you think the narrator is just telling you all of this random stuff (and sometimes you're like, "Okay, TMI...") but the storyline slowly unravels and you begin to understand WHY the characters are doing the dumb stuff they are. I love how even if you think some of them are crazy, or you don't trust them, you suddenly find yourself starting to ROOT for them because they're not just two-dimensional, obnoxious characters, they're REAL. They're the kind of characters you'd want to get to know in real life because they'd bring a smile to your face. They're your friend's brother. Your neighbor across the street. That kid your daughter hangs out with once in a while who seems sweet (but secretly, you feel sorry for them and wish you could just give 'em a big 'ol hug).
Anything You Want is a book about a guy who has lost a lot and has to keep on keeping on, regardless; then does something dumb and has to figure out how to solve a problem that is quite unsolvable. He has had no choice but to grow up, and grow up he does. BUT. His mother has died, his dad is a jerk, his brother's out of control, he's still in high school--and he ACTS LIKE A TEENAGE BOY. (Not some perfect AP student, let's not get all hipster/perfect student/stereotypical here--Taco is just a kid trying to get by the best he knows how with what he's got.) How many teen pregnancies are there? (A lot.) How many times did one or both sexes end up assuming it somehow just wouldn't happen to them? (A lot.) This is not new. This is not surprising. This is, a lot of times, life.
Is Taco naive? YES. Is he probably a little too into Maggie and her sensuous ways? YES. But the kid is young and doing what he can figure out what to do. He's not mature. (He wants to be, of course.) He's flailing around trying to make something of everything and he's doing a dang good job of it, if you ask me. It's his personality; it's the way Geoff wrote him.
And I love him for it. This book isn't just a random character who is a bit naive and ends up a dad way before he planned to. It's a book about love, and growing up, and learning to let go of the things holding you back and being willing to say, "Yeah, this seems like a s***ty decision at the moment, and boy have I made a lot of those, but in the big, grand scheme of things, this is the mature way to go." It's about being considerate of others. It's about family.
Like I said, I love Geoff's voice. I love who Taco refers to throughout the entire book. I will read anything Herbach because he is honest and writes real people and brings a whole different voice to the YA table. He writes what people think all the time, and are often too afraid to voice. And honestly, in the world of YA, I think it's pertinent that characters like his come alive. There's a target of readers not often hit (nor necessarily huge in their overall demographic) who would likely read much more often if they were exposed to Geoff's handiwork. YAY for Anything You Want.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Most recent customer reviews
The cover is very misleading.Read more
Since I often feel like I’ve read the same contemporary YA books over and over again, Geoff Herbach really...Read more
I had such a long complicated journey with this book during the past two weeks.Read more