Published by Point on February 25th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY . . . for teens, from romantic comedy star Elizabeth Eulberg.
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?
As you might know, if you follow the blog, I’ve been searching eagerly for a good best friend romance book, so when I heard about Better Off Friends, it went on my must buy immediately list. I actually got it a few days before its release and read it the same day, in one sitting. At the end, while I’ll say that this is definitely cute, it could have been better.
I must say I liked the build up of the book, with the fact that it told their whole story: from meeting each other in 7th grade, through Junior year of high school. Too often with such romance-focused books, feelings will have already been there (or obviously hiding beneath the surface) while we get teleported in halfway through, and I’m left questioning why I should care and if it doesn’t feel forced. It definitely didn’t feel forced here. I loved seeing them get to know each other slowly throughout the years and get closer and closer. You can definitely see why they’re best friends, what with all the stuff they’ve helped each other through.
I definitely felt a bond with Macallan because I was also the kind of straight-laced student in school, who diligently did everything and kept herself busy in order to not dwell on less positive thoughts. I thought she was really endearing to me – especially when she showed her loyalty to Levi and her protectiveness towards Adam. (She’s feisty and fierce, dudes, seriously!) Levi I had less of a connection to, but I do want to give props because so often male POVs written by female authors either go towards wish fulfillment or make them look like distant jerk-faces. Not here. Levi actually felt real and genuine. I was definitely a fan of both characters.
Where my problem with the book mostly lies is that it strays way too much towards the drama llama, the “Will they? Won’t they? Will they? Won’t they?” marathon. I mean, it did paint a full picture of all the questions that naturally arise when you’re struggling with these kinds of feelings – sure. And it showed the entire relationship build up. But since it was such an extensive timeline, other things had to be cut. In between chapters, there are these dialogue sections where Macallan and Levi reflect on the story and I absolutely loved those. They may be my favorite part of the book because it was so bantery and hilarious. So where the downside is is that I feel like part of that dynamic, the fun times, got cut from the main storyline. There were just so many dramatic scenes to focus on, that if those dialogue sections in between were missing, I may not have cheered for the relationship as much. I’m glad they were there – because otherwise it would have been a marathon of drama.
I guess that it was a true to life kind of picture of the question, “What happens if you start to feel more for your best friend?” but I’m not sure it was the best representation. With so many dramatic moments when they shut each other out and stop communicating, I did have difficulty to continue to ship them throughout the whole book. I was cheering for them mostly, and I liked the ending, but I was missing some happy fluffy times. Also, View Spoiler »reflecting on it, the title is extremely contradictory, and that may upset some readers, to be honest. You might be attracting the wrong crowd. Just maybe. « Hide Spoiler