Title: Anything Could Happen
Author: Will Walton
Publication date: May 26, 2015
This is one of those books that grabbed me at the first reading of it’s book blurb. Out of all of the recent releases, Anything Could Happen intrigued me the most, so it was only natural that I picked it up. I ended up buying it for my classroom, and in a moment, you’ll hopefully understand why.
First, the summary that immediately piqued my interest:
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.
I’ve said before that I love LGBTQ books where the characters aren’t straight and that’s not a huge thing – where their sexuality doesn’t take a starring role, because usually it’s not the defining aspect of a character (or at least, it shouldn’t be). But I think that coming out stories are equally needed. Especially coming out stories that are positive. Yes, Tretch is afraid of judgment – it’d be impossible not to be. One reason why books like Anything Could Happen are valuable is because queer teens need to see that they can be accepted, and that their sexuality isn’t a direct ride to tragedy and rejection. And more than just in regards to sexuality, throughout the book Tretch learns what it means to be himself. Music is a huge part of who he is, and eventually he realizes that he doesn’t necessarily have to keep that to himself. His growth as a person and his slow building of confidence is touching to experience.
In terms of the style, Will Walton also really captures the shaky time when everyone is trying to find themselves. His descriptions are lovely and his dialogue both moving and hilarious, depending on what part you’re reading. I felt fully immersed in the story for the entire time I was reading – it was smooth throughout and events blended seamlessly from one to the next, which meant that while there were ebbs and flows of action, all of it fit together like a set of perfect jigsaw puzzle pieces. That’s not to say that the story itself was unrealistically perfect – more like, when you look back at it, you realize – wow. That makes sense. That’s the natural series of events. I don’t know how else to explain it, but it was wonderful.
What I didn’t love as much was that this book was all set around the holidays, which I didn’t expect. This threw me off just a little , especially because there was no indication about this before I started the book, and it was released in May. Something about reading about snow and holiday cheer just before summer was slightly off-putting. I also disliked the fact that Ellie Goulding music played a pivotal role in certain scenes. Like, I’m as big of a Goulding fan as the next person, but references to specific songs are going to make this book very dated in a few years. Still, after reading the whole story, I can see why that choice was made.
But like I said before, I definitely think Anything Could Happen has a strong audience out there, which is why I bought it for my classroom. It’s got friendship, family, a little bit of romance, and a lot of heart, all of which is put together stunningly. I can’t think of a reason why a YA reader wouldn’t find something to love about this book, and I can’t wait for more of Will Walton’s work.
And to end on an exciting note – after writing this review, I reached out to Will Walton via email because I stumbled across it on his website, and he agreed to an interview! So that post will be forthcoming. He’s not only a great author but seems like a genuinely sweet person, and I can’t wait for you to hear what he has to say about both Anything Could Happen and the writing process. So keep an eye out for that tomorrow!
But to end, as always:
4 out of 5 stars.