Book Three in the Twisted Lit series
By Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
Available now from Merit Press (F+W Media)
Read my reviews of Tempestuous and Exposure
Read my interview with the authors
First off: don't worry about the fact that this is the third book in a series. All that connects the books is the authors and the fact that they're all based on Shakespearean plays. You can read them in any order.
ANYONE BUT YOU is Kim Askew and Amy Helmes' take on Romeo and Juliet. In this case, Roman and Gigi are the heirs to competing Italian restaurants. The book switches back in forth through time, telling the story of Gigi and Roman's romance as well as the history of their families' feud, which started with two boys (Nick and Benny) and a girl (Stella).
Honestly, Romeo and Juliet is not my favorite play by any stretch of the imagination. And I was never fully into the romance. There's nothing wrong with Gigi and Roman, but they meet, find each other cute, start dating. It doesn't span that much more time than the original either.
On the other hand, I love love loved the flashback story. You've got the World's Fair, two best friends sticking by each other no matter what, ambition, love, jealousy, war . . . I'd have happily read an entire book just about Nick, Benny, and Stella. I particularly liked how my sympathies shifted throughout as more became clear about the characters and their actions. It was also so tense since the future parts were there and thus it clearly has to go terribly awry at some point. (And, oh, how it did.)
ANYONE BUT YOU doesn't reinvent the forbidden-romance wheel, but it does keep it rolling along nicely. While I am enjoying the Twisted Lit series, the past parts do bode well for when Askew and Helmes venture out into other projects.