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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Releases & Review - Any Boy But You (North Pole, Minnesota, #1) by Julie Hammerle

Image and blurb from Goodreads
Title: Any Boy But You
(North Pole, Minnesota #1)
Author: Julie Hammerle
Category/Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: February 13th, 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.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains swearing, snowball fights, and sexual tension that could melt the North Pole. Read at your own risk.

Buy Links: Amazon

3.5 “Snow, Pokémon Go & Mortal Enemies” Stars

ARC via NetGalley.

Thank you, Entangled Teen.

I love the concept here: a boy and a girl from two families that go way back and have hated each other for a long time fall in love without realizing who they’re falling for. It has all the key elements to make for a great forbidden romance, right?

Elena Chestnut and Oliver Prince have been taught to pretty much hate each other from moment one. Their grandparents started a business together decades ago, but ended up fighting and splitting the business into two rival winter sporting goods store. They have also split the loyalty of the people living in North Pole, Minnesota; a small town that breathes Christmas 365 days of the year. That means that Elena should never have anything to do with Oliver, and the same goes for him.

Except North Pole is a really small town, so staying away from each other proved much more difficult than they thought.

First, Oliver was in serious need of tutoring. He spent too much time being awesome at computer stuff and not enough getting good grades at school, which made his uptight mother really upset. Little pause here to say I did not like his mother at all. Not even a tiny bit. Sure she seemed to have the best intention at heart by forcing Oliver to step away from his comfortable zone, leave the computer behind and focus on living a real life, but the way she handled the situation was too pushy. Or maybe that’s the way she had to be because her husband was a pushover. As you can see, both of Oliver’s parents were not that great. Therefore, I wished we had spent less time involved in their drama and more time with Oliver and Elena, or other people their age. More on that soon.

Anyway, since Oliver needs help at school, Elena is the one hired as her tutor, both because she’s good at tutoring and also because she really needs the money. Her family’s business is doing well at all, especially now that Oliver came up with a great idea to make his family’s business thrive.

Oliver came up with a local version of Pókemon Go that had everyone in North Pole going crazy. The thing was fun to watch and showed me the author’s (and Oliver’s) really creative side. I loved the whole idea behind the game and how it moved things along with the main characters and the side characters. I kept picturing myself in North Pole, slipping on the ice because I was too busy staring at my phone to pay attention. So I say great job on creating this world and making the reader feel a part of it.

The game Oliver created was also responsible for the second form for Oliver and Elena to interact. Without revealing who they were, they started chatting using the app and became confidents. Things progressed to flirting and soon enough they were ready to see each other. There was a whole lot of cute going on with those two, and it was only made better by the fact that these two should definitely not be falling in love with each other.

But while I liked the rivalry and the hate-and-like relationship, I wished it had lasted a tiny bit less. In fact, I think the book could’ve benefited from being a little shorter. There were a few places where I thought it was dragging a bit, because of how drama-filled it was. I mean, there were many problems with Elena and her family, then Elena and her family’s business, then Oliver and his family, Oliver and Elena, Oliver’s parents and Elena’s parents… and I’m not even getting into the smaller arcs involving Elena’s friend and Oliver’s sister. As you can see, there was too much going on.

The mortal-enemies thing between Oliver and Elena was good in the beginning, but I wish they had moved past that sooner. I wanted them to see the good in each other before they realized they’d been talking to each other on the app. I wanted them to become friends or develop feelings for each other earlier than they did.

I also wished we’d seen less of Oliver and Elena’s parents. At times I felt like I was in the middle of a series that had started with adult protagonists, but had merged into YA later on. There was too much backstory, and sure some of it was needed to explain the rivalry, but had it been treated in a more distant way, I think I would’ve gotten more of the teenage love that was the focus of the book and less of the drama surrounding their parents. Besides, those adults were messy. I wanted to slap some sense into them half the time.

Going back to Oliver and Elena, despite my reservations as to how their relationship progressed, I still enjoyed seeing them go from enemies to two people in love. They had a younger vibe to them (which was odd because half the time they used words or structures that I associated with how older people talked), which made the romance lighter and sweeter than some other titles from Entangled Teen. Overall, it was a positive read. The story was definitely cute, the setting was vivid and there was a lot of creativity involved in this book. Plus, isn't that cover just super cute? 
*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

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