By Will Walton
Available now from Push (Scholastic)
Will Walton's debut novel ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN is sweet, if rather uneventful. Tretch is closeted and deeply in love with his straight best friend, Matt. Lots of people joke about them being gay, since Matt has two dads, and Tretch is torn about the fact that he secretly wishes it were true.
ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN is a terrific character study. Tretch is a nice kid and it is heartening to see him grow confident in himself and open up to his family and friends (old and new). I can see ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN being cathartic for teens struggling with the same issues that plague Tretch. Do you tell someone you have a crush when you know they won't reciprocate? Will your religious parents accept you?
There's potential for conflict in ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. Beyond the issue of coming out (or not), Tretch has another secret: he loves to dance and choreographs dances to his favorite songs. There's also Matt's new girlfriend, who Tretch feels jealous of. Or there's the girl whose abrasiveness is hiding her crush on Tretch. But everything comes to a head in a soft, gentle manner. This is just a very soothing sort of book, the kind that tells you things will work out alright even when they seem dire at the time.
ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN is a pleasant read, with its optimistic realism. It is not for those who are looking for an eventful, plotty book, but it is not without its charms. Sometimes short and sweet gets the job done.