*I received an ARC copy of this book when I was at Book Expo America 2015.
Summary (From goodreads):
When you’re in love with the wrong person for the right reasons, anything could happen.
Tretch lives in a very small town where everybody’s in everybody else’s business. Which makes it hard for him to be in love with his straight best friend. For his part, Matt is completely oblivious to the way Tretch feels – and Tretch can’t tell whether that makes it better or worse.
The problem with living a lie is that the lie can slowly become your life. For Tretch, the problem isn’t just with Matt. His family has no idea who he really is and what he’s really thinking. The girl at the local bookstore has no clue how off-base her crush on him is. And the guy at school who’s a thorn in Tretch’s side doesn’t realize how close to the truth he’s hitting.
Tretch has spent a lot of time dancing alone in his room, but now he’s got to step outside his comfort zone and into the wider world. Because like love, a true self can rarely be contained.
ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN is a poignant, hard-hitting exploration of love and friendship, a provocative debut that shows that sometimes we have to let things fall apart before we can make them whole again.
I had high hopes for this book. I love reading LGBTQ+ fiction, and was immediately drawn in when I saw there was a gay MC. Pair that with his being in love with his straight best friend, and I was hopeful for a lot of the themes that could be explored. I ended up feeling a little disappointed and found the story a little jumbled.
Firstly, there was a lot going on in this story and I found the plot lacking in focus. There are so many elements thrown into this story that aren’t developed enough for my liking, possibly because of how short the book was. Tretch’s love of dancing is pointed to on numerous occasions, but it’s something we only really get to see as readers during one scene. Family dynamics are explored, but the story really only scratched the surface on those issues and I found myself having a hard time caring.
Which brings me to my second point, in that I could not attach to the characters. Tretch felt like a blank slate. I couldn’t get a sense of his personality, or the personalities of those around him including friends and family. Everyone felt very flat. Because we didn’t see any depth, a lot of the problems they are facing throughout the book didn’t pull at my heartstrings, because I didn’t have any connection to the characters or their back stories.
Lastly, I felt that most of the issues were resolved too quickly and easily. For example, Tretch ‘comes out’ a few times in the story (I won’t say to who or the circumstances surrounding it) and all of the reactions were the exact same. I enjoyed that the characters didn’t make a big deal out of his orientation, but at the same time, I expected some differences in the reactions. Instead, his coming out was very much glossed over and everyone moved on in less than a paragraph. While I know that does happen in real life, I also felt it was unrealistic for a story in which it was never hinted that the people around him knew about his orientation before he told them. Also, there are some friendships made far too quickly in this book. Tretch goes from feeling ambivalent or even negatively about various side characters to suddenly being friends over the course of a scene. I just found a lot of the situations in this story to be too easily resolved.
Additionally, and this may not be a problem for every reader, but this story also included one of my pet peeves in contemporary fiction: too many references to modern pop culture. Artists like Taylor Swift and Ellie Goulding are referenced numerous times (the title of the book actually comes from an Ellie Goulding song). While I’m okay with that a little bit, as that is the nature of contemporary fiction, that device has to be used sparingly and I felt it was overdone in this book.
Overall, this was a quick and easy read. The characters, while simple and bland, were overall good people and some of my favorite themes like family dynamics and self-discovery were explored. Ultimately though, I felt this book did fail in it’s execution and I was expecting more from it.