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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.
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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.)
DNF at 12% and a whopping total of 0 stars. This book was annoying as heck. I'm not against positivity or anything but Taco (Yep, he is literally named Taco.) was so happy about everything. His dog could have died and he probably would have been like "Yay! He'll watch over me now and yada yada yada *insert peppy things here*!"
Besides the overly and unnecessary amount of positivity, there some awfully dumb quotes that were just that - dumb.
"You're the best. You're the greatest ever." "I know. That's how I feel about you. So we should do it," Maggie said.
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. Just because you think someone is great doesn't mean that that means you should have sex. STOP PUTTING SEX IN YA AND STOP GIVING THEM DUMB REASONS TO TELL OTHERS WHY THEY SHOULD!!!!!!!!!!
"And we did! It kind of hurt Maggie, which made me worried but she said she was okay. Then we fell asleep. Then - wait for it - we did it again! It was great! I couldn't wait for my butt to heal so I could actually move while we were doing it! I mean, so great! Oh my God, I love Maggie. I'm a junkie for her for real!"
See what I mean about being too peppy? And this is just a big 'ol blob of TMI soup.
"The world is filled with magic. I went over to the couch, and fell on my face because it was so crazy. Our love made Maggie pregnant when we were both still virgins. That's a miracle. That's destiny. Our child will be destiny's child. I pictured our baby traveling to poor countries and sharing cash and vaccines and comic books with all the needy children."
When I first started reading, I was intrigued. We meet Taco and Maggie and they have this fierce teenage love story. They just can’t get enough of one another. However the mentality of Taco is very strange. He’s extremely immature and I don’t mean in a normal highschool boy way. He acts like he is in middle school. I never seen a high schooler that doesn’t know the difference between doing it and having sex. Same goes for that you can get pregnant in both scenarios and having sex recreationally doesn’t protect you. I kept reading because I became completely fascinated by him and you start to see there is more to him.
Then everything goes haywire and it turns into an episode of teen mom or I should say teen dad since it’s from Taco’s perspective. Now this not only where things get really crazy, it’s where I start developing a fondness for Taco. Yay he’s immature but underneath everything he is a really good kid who has been dealt some crappy cards in life. I feel like I knew a Taco in high school. I did not feel the same way about Maggie and her family. That was definitely some craziness going on there.
One thing that you really see in the plot is the development of the characters. Especially Taco and Darius. These are two kids who lost their mom and then were completely abandoned by their dad. Darius does the best he can but he has a major drinking problem. He really loves Taco and you can definitely see that. Things just get beyond them and it makes them have to act like grown ups and not just pretend to be.
Anything You Want is definitely not the typical contemporary. It deals with teen pregnancy in a very unique way. It’s definitely an intriguing story and I really liked how much character development we see with Taco.
Most recent customer reviews
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
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...Read more