Anything Could Happen, the debut novel from Will Walton, is an aching and sweet story of high schooler Tretch Farm’s journey to coming out to his family and friends. Tretch has known that he’s gay for a while, but everything changes when he realizes that, for the first time, he’s in love – with his best friend Matt. Since Matt is the proud son of two dads, Tretch isn’t worried that Matt will be weirded out by his feelings, but it’s still painful for Tretch to watch Matt fall for the beautiful Amy Sinks.
Anything Could Happen is a coming-out story for an age when gay marriage is legal in the United States – Tretch doesn’t have to fear being shunned by his friends or family (although a few bullies at school might give him a little trouble), but he does have to cope with the growing pains of getting older and realizing that he’s not the person the world expects him to be. Even though those he cares about will love him just the same after they find out, it’s still hard to find the right way to tell them.
I was really charmed by Anything Could Happen—it rang true to my experiences in high school trying to be a supportive friend to those who were going through the same thing. I loved Tretch, a gentle soul who loves dancing, his family, and Taylor Swift. I loved his family, which is the type that leaves cute little notes out for each other and whose grandparents have a dedicated Christmas room all year round (I even fell in love a little bit with Tretch’s older brother Joe). I love Matt and his kindness and floppy high school boy hair. I even love Amy Sinks and Lana Kramer, the girl who unknowingly has a crush on Tretch. It’s a joy to be in their world and watch them live their lives, if only for a little while.
The only thing that bothered me about Anything Could Happen was that Tretch’s eventual confrontation with Bobby Handel, his sometime tormenter at school, feels too easy and almost an unnecessary addition to the story. But it didn’t bother me enough to really take away from how much I loved this book. Anything Could Happen is a great book for those currently navigating the weird world of high school and for those of us who remember that it wasn’t all bad as long as you had the right people by your side.