Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie

January 12, 2010

anyone but you Plot summary (with spoilers): Forty-year-old Nina Askew is looking for a change in her life. She’s been divorced and living on her own for a year, and though she loves the independence, she can’t help but feel that her apartment is too empty. She decides that what she wants most of all is a “perky” puppy to liven things up. Nina therefore takes a trip to the pound — and walks out with an overweight, smelly, lethargic Bassett hound that was scheduled for euthanasia that day. Fred was not quite what Nina had in mind, but she couldn’t bear the thought of the pound putting him down.

Since Nina has a full-time job at a small publishing house, she can’t be around to take care of Fred during the day. So she trains him to use the fire escape to go down to the alley from the third-floor apartment. Problem solved — until Fred accidentally wanders into the second-floor apartment after one of his bathroom breaks instead of going all the way up to 3. But this gives Nina a chance to meet Alex, the hot 30-year-old single doctor living right below her.

Nina and Alex hit it off as friends. They’re both classic movie buffs and dog lovers, so they spend a lot of time simply lounging around Nina’s apartment watching TV, eating Oreos, and playing with Fred. Nina is definitely attracted, but she doesn’t think a relationship would work because of the age difference. And besides, her body sags and droops in all the wrong places, so Alex would never be interested in her in that way.

But he is. He loves how down-to-earth and “real” she is. She might not have a closet full of Fendi bags and designer shoes, but he’s had his fill of women like that. But since Alex can’t work up the nerve to tell Nina how he feels, they interact with each other as friends for most of the novel, while each secretly longs for the other. Finally, they get to a point where they rip each other’s clothes off and give in to the passion that’s been consuming them.

Liked:

  • I liked both Nina and Alex, and enjoyed their pre-relationship banter. The dialogue and scenes were funny and entertaining, which was something I didn’t really expect here (this was my first Crusie novel).
  • This was a very quick read and the storyline didn’t get bogged down too often. I could have done with less angst about Alex choosing a specialty, but all in all the boring parts were kept to a minimum.
  • For a “chick lit” romance novel, the main relationship developed at a believable pace. At least it wasn’t the “everlasting love at first sight” crap that Nicholas Sparks spews out all the time!

Disliked:

  • I listened to the audiobook version downloaded from my public library, so I had no idea that this was a Harlequin title. As a result, I was a bit unprepared for the rather graphic descriptions of the sex scenes. I’m not a prude or anything, but for a book with relatively clean language all the way through, the sudden switch to the explicit sex scenes was pretty jarring.

Rating

I’d have to say I was pleasantly surprised by Jennifer Crusie’s Anyone But You. It wasn’t great literature or anything like that, but it was an entertaining read. The thing I hate most is finishing a book and feeling as though I just wasted my time. That didn’t happen here. I give it 3 stars out of 5.

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