Anybody But Him

Claire Baxter
Anybody But Him
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Random House Australia
Release Date
July 2013
Romantic Comedy

A deliciously funny rom com from Random Romance. What happens when you fall in love with the man you hate?

Nicola Doyle's dating record is a disaster, and it doesn't improve when she returns to Redgum Valley, after an absence of twelve years, to look after her increasingly eccentric parents. There, she's thrown into regular contact with Blair Morrissey – the very reason she couldn't wait to leave town in the first place.

The decade-old scars are still raw from that humiliating day in high school – when Blair went from the boy she loved to the boy she hated.

Except Blair doesn't seem to be a ‘bad boy' any more – in fact, he's charming, infuriatingly helpful and extremely attractive.

If only Nicola could forgive and forget . . .

Book Review by Victoria Lane (reviewer)
Sep 08, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
134 people found the following review helpful
ANYBODY BUT HIM by Claire Baxter is a short, sweet, and comforting contemporary romance about not judging a book by its cover, or in this case, its high school history. I give it four stars for its humor, realism, and relatability.

In ANYBODY BUT HIM, Nicola Doyle returns to her hometown after several years living in Sydney, Australia, in order to "take her turn" in supervising her aging parents, switching places (and houses) with her sister Una for the summer. Nicola immediately runs into her high school crush, the ever-so cool and gorgeous Blair Morrissey. Only now, Blair is much more gentlemanly and interested in "Nicki". Nicola battles her supreme irritation with Blair while she settles into a new, albeit temporary, job, looks in on her parents, reconnects with her best friend, and navigates the local dating scene.

As the summer goes on, Blair becomes something more than an annoyance, and for a while, Nicola isn't sure what, exactly. A slip and fall at home causes Nicola to reach out for help, and Nicola's perspective begins to change.

I really enjoyed ANYBODY BUT HIM. It was funny and sad, but completely realistic. Most often it is a high school reunion that throws former crushes back together. Here, it is the health and well-being of aging parents that brings Nicola and Blair face to face with each other and with the painful truths about their high school histories.

I loved how the characters' relationship changes incrementally. Yes, the "I love you's" at the end seemed a bit hasty, but that is most likely due to the length of the novella, rather than the length of their acquaintance in the book. The romantic relationship was slow and based on multiple interactions, not just one or two incidents, and the heat level is sweet (1 out of 5). Aside from the mature themes mentioned above and the name of Blair's dog, this book is appropriate for all ages.

The pacing and length of the novella provide readers with a break after work for a few days, or a relaxing Saturday, if you have nothing else planned. Readers should take note that there are many phrases and words which are taken from UK or Aussie English, which provides the novella with an authentic feel (set in Australia, sounds like Australia) and the added bonus of expanding the reader's cultural knowledge.

I highly recommend ANYBODY BUT HIM for any reader's enjoyment.
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