For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.
Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?
From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again — and one kiss away from true love?Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Four stars: An adorable, teen romance that mirrors When Harry Met Sally.
Macallan and Levi have been inseparable best friends since they met in the seventh grade. They have grown up together, and they've had each other's backs through thick and thin. Until the end of their junior year when things take a dramatic turn. Both are realizing that after years of listening to everyone claim that their is more to their friendship because girls and boys can't just be friends, that perhaps there is truth in those words. Even if they did have stronger feelings would it be worth sacrificing their friendship over, especially if it didn't work out? Can a girl and a boy really just be friends?
What I Liked:
- When Harry Met Sally is one of my all time favorite romantic movies, so when I saw this modern day, teenage version I had to have it. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed. This is a charming, feel good, pick me up read perfect for teens of all ages. It follows the relationship between Macallan and Levi over six years. It was fun to watch them grow and see their feelings change, and in the end, they also answer the question as to whether or not girls and boys can just be friends. Will they end up like Harry and Sally? You have to read the book to find out.
- I loved both Macallan and Levi. Macallan is a girl reeling from the death of her mother when Levi enters into the picture. She is quiet, kind, a bit shy, but don't mess with her because when provoked she isn't afraid to stand up for herself or others when confronted by bullies. I loved that she didn't hesitate to take on those who were being cruel. I admired her courage and strength as she learned to channel her grief. She is a beautiful, kind and caring young lady. Levi is the newcomer. He is uprooted from his life in California and transplanted to the Midwest. He is easy going, fun and sweet. I liked how he looked after Macallan. I also liked that both characters had plenty of flaws and there were numerous times throughout when they ended up at odds because of stubbornness or failure to communicate. Both characters felt genuine and realistic, and by the end, I wanted more of their story because they had become like old friends.
- The romance is absolutely charming. It is slow building and set on a solid friendship. It is everything you like in a best friend type romance, though it has lots of stumbles and falls along the way. At times, I wanted to pull my hair out as I watched them flounder about and suffer because of their inability to be honest, but on the other hand it was realistic. Both feared losing their friendship by allowing it to be something more. Yes, you know from the beginning how it is going to settle out so it is predictable, but the joy of the book is watching it get to that magical moment. This is the kind of romance you crave when you want something sweet and light. It will leave you with a big smile on your face when you are done.
- This story is told with both Macallan's and Levi's points of view. I am a huge fan of dual narratives as I enjoy getting into both character's heads and seeing how they feel about things. At the beginning of every chapter, Levi and Macallan do a back and forth discussion on events that occurred in the previous chapter as they are obviously looking back and telling their story. I thought the author did an excellent job with the narrative.
- Better Off Friends is a read you can hand to any teenager with confidence as there is nothing inappropriate. It is a clean, wholesome read perfect for any teenage girl.
And The Not So Much:
- It is apparent from the opening paragraph that Macallan and Levi are telling their story as they look back over the years and explain the development of their friendship. At first, I thought that they were telling their story a few years down the line, but at the end, it wasn't clear as to how much time had elapsed. I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't apparent how old they were while telling their story. Was it just a few months after the end or further? Even though I liked this fun dialogue, it made it obvious how the relationship was going to turn out so there were no surprises.
- While the author does an outstanding job with the main characters, Levi and Macallan, I thought the secondary characters were rather weak. The friends that come in and out of the picture feel like extras. For instance, Danielle, Macallan's best girl friend throughout pops in and out and I know practically nothing about her. Adam, Macallan's uncle, who is developmentally disabled is character that screamed for development. Yet, he just flits in and out. This was a missed opportunity in my opinion. Adam is so sweet and kind, and I wished the author had told us more about him and made us really fall in love with him. I did appreciate that both Macallan's father and Levi's mother played significant roles, no absentee parents. Throughout the book, Macallan and Levi have relationships with other people, and all the romantic interests feel like cardboard characters that are being swapped in and out, this I didn't mind so much because I knew that these characters were not going to have a long term bearing on the story. I am a reader who enjoys solid secondary characters, and in this book, they are all weak.
- After all the buildup, I thought the ending was a bit too fast and abrupt. Yes, everything ends on a sweet high note, but after all the drama and struggle, I wanted to know more. I wish that either there was an Epilogue or further discussion between the two on the state of their relationship. I wasn't ready to let go, and I wanted to spend a few more minutes savory the sweet goodness.
Better Off Friends is an adorable, teen romance perfect for readers of all ages. This is a book that follows two best friends through the years as they grow up, struggle and ultimately answer the question as to whether or not girls and boys can just be friends. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a best friend romance, and anyone who is looking for a delightful read that will leave you smiling.
"When you are comfortable with someone, you don't need to always fill the void with noise. I liked it when we would just be."
"Why do people say L-O-L----aren't they supposed to be laughing? Have we become that lazy of a society?"
"But in truth, home isn't necessarily where you sleep at night. It's where you feel like yourself. Where you're most comfortable. Where you don't have to pretend, where you can just be you."
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.