Wednesday, January 25, 2017

ARC Review: Any Boy But You (North Pole, Minnesota #1) by Julie Hammerle

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: February 13, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen

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.

The Chestnuts and the Princes have been at war for years. An old family feud that has spiraled out of control even has the town divided. With both families owning sporting goods stores placed right across the street from each other, there's not a day that goes by where the feud isn't on their minds. The only difference is the Princes are making money while the Chestnuts are struggling. When a mobile app scavenger hunt whips the town into a frenzy, Elena Chestnut finds herself caught up in the middle and puts her right in Oliver Prince's way.

I struggled a little with this book and initially I wanted to give it just three stars. Most in part because of Elena. I just really did not like her. Her character is extremely petty and immature. Her attitude alone turned me off from the start. It's amazing her family's store even had customers at all with her working there. She yelled at almost everyone she came into contact, lashed out at them because she was upset with her own life, and refused to acknowledge that people aren't their parents (mainly Oliver and Regina).

Another big turnoff for me was what happens between two of the parents. **Spoiler Alert**       Why did that kiss even exist? It's cheating. You're both married.**End Spoiler**       I felt it was completely unnecessary and hindered the plot more than helped. I don't see how both parties remained completely ambivalent towards it later.

What saved this book was Oliver and the supporting characters - most importantly Harper. Despite his families feud with the Chestnuts, Oliver could really care less. He lived in the world of computers. It isn't until he's forced to look up from that world that he realizes just how much he's been missing. And not just on the romantic front. His friendship with Harper was a surprising evolution. Whereas Elena only thought about how to bring him down, Oliver tried to help Elena - to share information when he found out the hidden secrets of their parents past. He even tried to help with business ideas, something that he really didn't need to do.

Then there was Harper. Can we please get more of her? She was by far the most interesting character. Though I figured out her secret long before it was revealed, I enjoyed watching her come into her own.

Set in a small town in the middle of nowhere surrounded by pretty much constant winter, the town itself adds it's own character. While the ending was maybe just a little to cutesy and perfect for me, it fit the story and I ended up enjoying it. I really liked Hammerle's first book, The Sound of Us, and look forward to more from her. 

I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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