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Anyone but You: A Novel in Two Voices    by Lara M. Zeises order for
Anyone but You
by Lara M. Zeises
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

A heat wave, a broken air conditioner, and no summer jobs due to their upcoming Loser Kid classes at summer school have kept Sea and Critter too broke and too hot to do much of anything except hang out on their front stoop trying to catch a breeze.

Bored and feeling guilty that they aren't working to help out at home, Sea suggests checking out the private pool in a ritzy condo on the other side of town. Sea is sure Critter can charm one of the pretty lifeguards into letting them in to swim. Almost before they hit the water, Sea knows her great idea was a miserable mistake. Critter chatting up the pretty lifeguard and actually falling for her has Sea foaming at the mouth.

She shouldn't care. Critter is practically a brother to her. When her dad ran off on Layla, Critter's mother, Sea was only nine. He left Sea, but took the last of Layla's savings causing her to lose the house they lived in to pay off charges he'd make on her credit cards. Sea knew she was lucky that her dad, such a jerk in every other way, had picked someone as wonderful as Layla. How many other women would continue to care for a kid after being dumped and robbed by her dad?

Critter's pursuit of Miss Perfect the Lifeguard, a new guy in Sea's life, and her dad showing up after six years expecting to be forgiven, all cause extreme changes in Sea's life. Just when she needs him the most, the relationship between Sea and Critter becomes distant and vulnerable. Alternating Sea's voice with Critter's, Lara Zeises gives her characters a touching authenticity. Their behavior is sometimes extreme and often selfish, but they want to do the right thing, and mature even in the short timeline of the novel.

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