Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Review: Anyone But You

Title: Anyone But You
Author: Jennifer Crusie
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: Harlequin/July 1996

Reissue: November 2006
Source: Library

From the author’s website ~

For Nina Askew, turning forty means freedom—from the ex-husband whose career always came first, from their stuffy suburban home. Freedom to have her own apartment in the city, freedom to focus on what she wants for a change. And what she wants is something her ex always vetoed—a puppy. A bouncy puppy to cheer her up. Instead she gets…Fred.

Overweight, smelly and obviously suffering from some kind of doggy depression, Fred is light years from perky. But for all his faults, he does manage to put Nina face-to-face with Alex Moore, her gorgeous, younger downstairs neighbor.

Alex looks great on paper—a sexy, seemingly sane, surprisingly single E.R. doctor who shares Fred’s abiding love for Oreos—but a ten-year difference in age, despite his devastating smile, is too wide a gap for Nina to handle. Ignoring her insistent best friend, some interfering do-gooders and the ubiquitous Fred—not to mention her suddenly raging hormones—Nina thinks anyone but Alex would be a better bet for a relationship. But with every silver-haired stiff she dates, the more she suspects it’s the young dog-loving doctor she wants to sit and stay!

Fun, fun, fun! That's what comes to mind when I think of Crusie's Anyone But You. It was funny and sweet and sexy as hell. It's sort of a friends to lovers story, which is one of my favorite tropes. I say sort of since they are both attracted to each other right from the start. Usually a friends to lovers scenario might have one of the characters attracted to the other with the other oblivious to the attraction. This time around they tried to ignore that attraction with Nina thinking she's too old for Alex and Alex thinks Nina isn't interested in him because he isn't mature enough.

Nina Askew just turned 40. A big milestone and one she celebrates by getting a dog. Not just any dog but Fred. Little did Nina know, but Fred is cupid in disguise. He's an adorable character who's personality shines through. With her divorce final and her house sold, Nina has settled into an apartment and a new job. She started working as a secretary for a small publishing company and has since been promoted to editor. There's an interesting subplot regarding Nina's friend Charity and a book Nina encourages her to write about her past love life. Charity's life is full of men but Nina isn't looking for a man, she's enjoying living on her own and doing what she pleases. When she first meets Alex she notices how good looking he is but he looks, and acts, way too young for her. He's just her sexy, too young neighbor that she really shouldn't be fantasizing about. :)

Alex comes from a family of doctors, specialist. Alex isn't a specialist, he's an Emergency Room doctor and loves it. His family doesn't and are always trying to get him to choose a specialty. When Alex meets Nina he finds her attractive and likable. She's fun to hang out with, easy to talk to and he enjoys just being with her. The only problem is that he's attracted to her and she doesn't seem to think of him in that way. So he sets out to change her mind. What I liked about Alex was that he was this sweet, wonderful guy that cared a great deal about Nina and didn't give up on her and their relationship.

The relationship Nina and Alex create starts with friendship and evolves from there. They get to know each other, their likes and dislikes, quirks and habits. What they don't realize is the attraction each has for the other. They both assume that their not each other's type; Nina thinks Alex wants young, beautiful women with bodies equally young and beautiful. Alex thinks Nina wants someone who can give her a wealthy lifestyle of an expensive home filled with equally expensive things. What takes them a while to conceive is that they are perfect for each other. That their friendship was only the beginning and was meant to be more.

I really liked the fact that Alex was younger than Nina and still saw Nina as a very attractive woman. He didn't let the age difference come into play when it came to being sexually attracted to her. The age hang up was all Nina's. She couldn't believe that a young, sexy and sweet guy like Alex could possibly be attracted to her. The way Crusie showed Nina's thought process and how she came around to thinking that Alex enjoyed her company in and out of bed was like another freedom that Nina gave herself.

The secondary characters are a very eclectic group of friends and family that give Nina and Alex different perspectives on their lives and relationship. The interactions with Fred were cute and funny and at times I got the feeling that Fred might be the smartest one in the room.

I will say that Alex was acting like an idiot towards the end when he tries changing careers to please Nina. Everything got sorted out and Nina and Alex realized they were happy together, regardless of the age difference or Alex's income. This was a fun, quick story with colorful characters and an interesting twist on a common plot. A very enjoyable read!

Jenny Crusie and her books can be found here.

Rating: A-


  1. Great review, Leslie! It almost makes me want to set aside my unexplainable dislike for Crusie's books and read it, LOL!

  2. Lori, you don't like Crusie? I thought everyone did. LOL

    I just started reading her and so far like what I've read. Fun and light reading.

  3. While I love Jennifer Crusie, I have to say this was not one of my favorite. It was just okay for me... however, it's was a nice change... and you know, I can understand Alex' reaction at the end. It's not really idiotic. It's must like insecurity.

  4. nath ~ the problem I had was that Alex was trying to be the type of man that Nina left. It just didn't make sense to me why he would do it. But insecurity does make sense.

  5. I think it originally had to do with the printhouse that her publisher used. Her type in books always came off all over my hands (far more than any other books). And that annoyed me no end. LOL. How petty can I be? But it just goes to show you that presentation matters, no? I wonder if my reactions would have been as bad if I'd read them in ebook first?

  6. This is a book I thought I had read years ago, but much to my delight - I discovered I hadn't so last year was the first time I read it. And I really enjoyed it too!

  7. Lori ~ I can see how that would be a turn off. At least it's someting you don't have to worry about in ebooks.

    Kristie ~ I love when that happens! I've still got a bunch of Linda Howard's back list to read. :)

  8. Great review, Leslie. I don't know what it is about Cruise's books, but they have never pulled me enough to read them for some reason. I usually just pass them by. :(

  9. Hils ~ I put off reading her for a long time but was in the mood for a funny contemp and Anyone But You filled the need. :)

  10. I read this book over the summer after I found it on the used bookshelf at my library for $2 or something and thought it was a great way to try out Jennifer Crusie's writing. I enjoyed it as much as you did, even though I also thought it was a bit much that Alex thought he needed to be like Nina's ex to make her happy. Also, I can't tell you how refreshing it was to read about a heroine in her 40s!!