Anything Could Happen
by Will Walton
Expected Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Length: 288 pages
Obtained Via: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
View at the Traffic light:
Maybe a sitcom about my life. About a kid growing up in a small town, figuring out he’s got a crush on his best guy friend, figuring it out while he’s in church, no less. I wonder if that would even make it on TV. Wonder if anyone would want to know about a story like that. It would be sad but not any more than it had to be. I mean, my life isn’t sad. My life is good, with some sad, hard things scattered around it.
Anything Could Happen is a sweet little book about Tretch Farm and his unrequited crush on his best friend. When I started reading this book, I was immediately enamored with the characters in Tretch’s world. The story takes place mostly over winter break during Tretch’s freshman year of high school. It’s definitely on the younger side of YA, which is not something I usually enjoy reading, but I thought it worked well for this story. There was something so charming about it all, from the small town bookstore Tretch frequents to his grandparent’s farm to his family, even when the story itself was bittersweet.
Tretch himself is definitely a charming and loveable main character. I think most readers can relate to the feeling of an unrequited crush and remember the pain of it, even when you might be further along in your life and have more perspective to go with that type of heartbreak. What I love about Tretch, though, was that he was endearing while still being painfully awkward at times. He has difficulty navigating his relationships with his friends at times in small, subtle ways, which I thought was so on-point. Sometimes in life relationships of any kind blow up in our faces, but it’s more likely the mistakes we make when interacting with others are small and things we might not think about in five years, but in the moment they feel so huge and important.
I also thought Anything Could Happen with great secondary characters. I understood why Tretch had a crush on Matt, and I liked that while Matt overall was a great character, he wasn’t held up on a pedestal as is so often the case when characters in YA books have crushes. Matt is often kind, but he’s just as often thoughtless. He’s still learning how to navigate life as well. I very much enjoyed the additions of Amy, a girl Matt had a crush on, and Lana, a girl who had a crush on Tretch. Despite the intermingling various crushes between the four of the characters, it never felt too dramatic or intense. It just felt real. The families were also great, and totally included more of the types of families I’d love to see more of in YA. They weren’t super prevalent, but I enjoyed the additions of Matt’s dads and Tretch’s grandparents.
Anything Could Happen is a character-driven novel if there ever was one, meaning there’s not a whole lot of plot development so to speak. It works, because the book is so short, but more than anything, this is a glimpse into a short period of time in one boy’s life and his feelings at the time. It’s often a little bittersweet, but it’s mostly hopeful. It deals with an unrequited crush, but it’s not angst-filled at all. It’s the kind of book you finish and you just have the sense that the characters you’ve grown to love are going to be better than fine.
Anything Could Happen is a sweet character-driven book. It’s hopefully while being honest and I enjoyed spending a few hours getting to know the characters. 4/5 cupcakes.