Monday, February 3, 2014

Book Review: Anyone But You by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes

Anyone But You

Kim Askew & Amy Helmes

222 Pages

Published January 1st, 2014

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.
I'm a big fan of retellings, though I don't read nearly enough of them. Though I've seen plenty movie adaptions and retellings for this classic tale, Romeo and Julier, I think this is the first I've actually sat down to read. The similarities were quite eerie, with the last names of the family bearing a healthy resemblance. Our main character is Gigi Caputo, a teenage girl who helps out in the family pizzeria. Decades ago this family restaurant began, and for as long as anyone can remember, they have been at war with the Montes, another Italian family who owns a pizza shop in their small town. In fact, the feud has been going on so long no one is quite sure what started it all.

Through some interesting circumstances, Gigi finds herself meeting a handsome boy her age who goes by the name of Roman. Sparks fly instantly and before she knows it she is falling for this boy she barely knew: a very strong sense of insta-love here. Normally this is something I hate, but I was prepared and saw it coming since, after all, this is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, the biggest inst-love story of all time. It's not until she's already attached to him that she discovers he's a member of the Monte clan, one of her sworn enemies. Obviously her family freaks, and the story goes from there.

Throughout the book the couple battle for the right to be together, all while trying to solve the mystery that is the feud between their families. The book alternates between past and present, and I really liked slowly finding out why the feud began in the first place. I saw it coming long before it was revealed, but it was still a fun ride. We also get to see financial hardship and a lot of pressing times on the Caputo side, and the whole time I had my fingers crossed that they'd somehow manage to pull through.

Gigi and Roman were both decent characters, though I preferred Roman more. I loved how sweet he was, how he'd do anything to stay with Gig: and he was such a gentleman! Gigi was good too, though a bit whiny at times and pushy. As a teen girl under a fair share of stress though, this was understandable and didn't hinder my enjoyment of the story all that much. Anyone But You was short and sweet, a great reminder of why I need to pick up more retellings in the future.


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