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Any Boy but You (North Pole, Minnesota #1) by Julie Hammerle
Publication Date: February 13, 2017
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Elena Chestnut has been chatting with an anonymous boy late into the night. It’s a very You’ve Got Mail situation, and she has no idea who he is. He can’t be Oliver Prince, hot-and-bashful son of the family running the rival sporting goods store. Their fancy sales strategies are driving Elena’s family out of business. Elena’s mystery boy has teamed up with her in their latest sales strategy, an augmented reality game, to help her win the grand-prize plane tickets. Money’s so tight Elena’s going to miss senior year spring break with her friends if she can’t win this game.
The girl Oliver’s fallen head-over-heels for online had better not be Elena Chestnut. She’s his angry, vindictive Latin tutor, the daughter of his dad’s business rival, and the one girl he’d never even think of kissing. She’s definitely not his online crush, because that girl is funny, sweet, and perfect.
When Oliver asks to reveal their names at the Valentine’s Day dance, their IRL relationship will either ruin what they have online, or they’ll discover just how thin the line between love and hate really is.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains swearing, snowball fights, and sexual tension that could melt the North Pole. Read at your own risk.
I really liked this young adult story that reminded me of those Shakespearian tragedies that featured families that had feuds lasting generations but had a romance entangled in it.
Elena Chestnut worked in her family’s sporting goods store which was struggling to keeping afloat thanks to the rival sporting goods store run by Oliver Prince’s family. Right from the beginning, the author set up the Chestnut versus Prince family feud. Thanks to the title, I already suspected how the story would conclude, but I was curious as to how the author would get the readers from loathing to love. I was really impressed by how the author wove the story around the Stash Grab app, which reminded me of the Pokémon Go that was all the rage this summer, and it really worked in keeping the story fresh.
I enjoyed the journey because it was not insta-love. The Chestnut – Prince feud was exasperating but betrayal is often the cause of long-lasting grudges. What I found thought-provoking was the parent’s indifference to the effects of their grudges on their children and the community. This self-centered attitude was evident in Elena and Oliver’s actions towards each other as well as their neighbors. I am glad that the main characters all grew as people and made better life choices. It was encouraging to witness characters develop as the story unfolded. I really ended up liking Oliver and Elena whereas in the beginning I didn’t really care for their attitudes.
The author’s writing was entertaining and the plot was laid out really well. I found the characters to be likable especially Elena, Oliver and Harper. The unsung heroes here were Harper and Oliver’s mom. The mother because her intervention caused Oliver to exist outside his computer and Harper because she was the link between Elena and Oliver. The second half of this story was a little more angst-filled and I was even more captivated by secrets that I could clearly see would blow up in people’s faces. I took pleasure in how Elena and Oliver got together and the effect on their families.