Title: Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Novel
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
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 dad and how to pass calculus. And then there’s getting Maggie’s parents to like him. Because it’s would be so much easier for them to be together if he didn’t have to climb the side of the Corrigan’s house to see her…
Irreverent, poignant and refreshingly free of angst, Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach is an atypical yet entertaining young adult novel.
Despite his less than ideal home life, sixteen year old William “Taco” Keller is relentlessly upbeat and positive. After losing his mom to cancer, his dad essentially abandons Taco and his troubled older brother Darius and yet, Taco always manages to find the silver lining in every dark cloud. Not even his girlfriend Maggie Corrigan’s unexpected pregnancy can quell his enthusiasm and optimism. But with his life continuing to spiral out of control, Taco must face the hardest decision of his life when he is forced to examine his unrealistic expectations about fatherhood.
Taco is incredibly naive and sometimes lacks common sense, but he is well-liked by everyone. His sense of humor and overuse of certain words can be a little irritating and off putting initially but his quirky personality and cheerfulness are rather refreshing. He does not always make the best decisions (HUGE understatement lol) but once he has to face the very real consequences of his actions, Taco begins to grow and mature. Although he never loses his rose colored glasses, Taco eventually becomes more firmly grounded in real life.
Despite outward appearances, Maggie’s home life is rather dysfunctional and she is even less mature than Taco. She is impulsive and her emotions veer from one end of the spectrum to the other in the blink of an eye. Her parents are understandably shocked and upset over the unexpected pregnancy but her mother’s reaction is a little over the top. Taco is not at all on board with their suggestions and he and Maggie concoct a harebrained scheme to throw them off the track. Maggie plays her role a little too well and Taco is never quite sure where she stands about their plans for their future.
Well-written with authentic voices, Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach is a heartwarming young adult novel with quirky, offbeat characters and an unusual storyline. An overall enjoyable read that I recommend to older teens.