Review: Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach

Title: Anything You Want
Author: Geoff Herbach
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 320
ISBN: 1402291442
Source: ARC from Publisher

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Expect a bundle of joy—er, trouble—in this hilarious, heartwarming story from the award-winning author of Stupid Fast Geoff Herbach

Taco's mom always said, "Today is the best day of your life, and tomorrow will be even better." That was hard to believe the day she died of cancer and when Taco's dad had to move up north for work, but he sure did believe it when Maggie Corrigan agreed to go with him to junior prom. Taco loves Maggie- even more than the tacos that earned him his nickname. And she loves him right back.

Except all that love? It gets Maggie pregnant. Everyone else may be freaking out, but Taco can't wait to have a real family again. He just has to figure out what it means to be a dad and how to pass calculus. And then there's getting Maggie's parents to like him. Because it would be so much easier for them to be together if he didn't have to climb the side of the Corrigans' house to see her...

I am the author of the YA title, Stupid Fast (June 2011 from Sourcebooks Fire). I also wrote The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg, a Novel from Three Rivers Press. When I'm not writing books, I'm writing for Radio Happy Hour or developing ridiculous musical bits.

When I'm not writing, I'm teaching writing at Minnesota State, Mankato, which means I write a lot of comments about writing on student writing. 

Writing a lot of writing and reading about writing and writing on reading.

Where do I even begin with this book? It was crazy, nonsensical, hilarious, and reminiscent of "that one guy" from high school. The cover is a bit misleading because you expect this book to be another young adult love story you can take to the beach and daydream about your literary boyfriend. But a dude named Taco, yes you read that right, who sneaks into your window at night, ends most of his sentences with "dingus," and really doesn't understand where babies come from probably isn't your ideal summer literary fling.

Anything You Want is about a guy named Taco who is a big hot mess and probably still has to wear velcro shoes. Only a Freshman in High School, Taco gets his girlfriend, Maggie, pregnant without having any thought of birth control or consequences (not for simply neglecting it...he seriously thought you had to be intentional about it). Maggie's parents are furious and forbid them from being together. While Taco is excited to have a family again, because his mother passed away and his father is never there, he struggles to grasp the reality of the situation. His older brother is left trying to convince him of how big the mess truly is.

For those who DNF this book, there were times it was a struggle. Mostly because I was torn between enjoying the positive stupidity of Taco and wanting to bang my head against a wall because, really, how can someone be that dumb? But then there was an aspect of this entire scenario that reached a little deeper, and made me sympathize with Taco's positivity. He didn't have parents around to educate him, and his alcoholic brother, the only other person he had, was an even bigger mess than he was. There was a hint of beauty woven into this reckless and silly story that made me want to finish it: the dynamic of coping with life.

I think Taco's character was taken just a little too far, and that is what annoyed so many readers of this book. It was really exhausting at times, when it could've been taken down a notch to make it more comical. I'm also confused about the part where Taco says he calculated when Maggie got pregnant and they were still virgins at the time, so their baby was some kind of miracle. Did he miscalculate? Was it even his baby? This part confused me.

More than halfway through, our story shifts and becomes much better. I expected more of Maggie, but she ended up being a minor character...another reason why the cover is misleading. I liked the ending, but I wish we could've gotten there a little differently. Taco is a bit of a trip and a handful to the point of being unable to relate to and an unrealistic character. You can only face-palm through a book so many times before your head and your hand begin to hurt. And all the lines that end with "dingus" just make you laugh because it stops making sense after a while!

For what this book is meant to be, it is light hearted and funny. It will drive you crazy in some of the best ways. It will also give you the insatiable urge to reach into the book and knock some sense into Taco. And in a strange way, it will also make you want tacos. Dingus.

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