February 18, 2014

Latest Read: Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Here are the basics ...
Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
Publication date: Feb. 25, 2014
Publisher: Point
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received from publisher via Netgalley (Thanks!)

Summary: 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? (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: One of my best friends recently said that she doesn't think men and women can be 100% platonic unless they are childhood friends who have known each other forever. She didn't know at the time I needed to write this review and her words gave me something to think about. Can guys and girls ever really just be friends? I don't know if there's a clear black & white answer. I think at some point each person will wonder if there could be more. I think there will be random moments of attraction. And I do think that the older you get, the harder it is to be completely platonic with a member of the opposite sex but I want to believe it's possible.  Better Off Friends is about Macallan and Levi, two friends who met in middle school, and find themselves pondering this very same question all throughout high school. But in their case - I thought they were better off being more.

Macallan and Levi are typical, relatable teenagers. They make mistakes, over-analyze, impulsively react. You don't need to be in your teens to relate to those feelings and I could easily see a bit of myself and people I've known in each of them. The book alternates between Macallan and Levi's point-of-view and each chapter began with their funny commentary, as if they were personally telling us their story. It was a nice touch which gave readers a great way to see each person's side and the unique dynamic they shared.

The more I read about them, the more I wished I had a relationship like theirs when I was in high school. They just get each other and the development of their friendship felt natural and real. Every conversation, whether it was about their favorite TV show or revealing something personal, had me convinced they should be a couple. But I think it's always easier to see that romantic spark when you're on the outside looking in. I enjoyed watching them navigate through these questions of - are they platonic, do they want more, are they willing to take a leap? But the book also explores their other friendships, who they date, their families (who play a big role!) and dealing with high school in general. All these things are explored in a way that made me laugh, relate and most of all, reminisce about the boys I've been friends with.

(No) reservations: None!

Do I recommend?: I do! This might be my favorite Elizabeth Eulberg book now or at least, very closely tied with The Lonely Hearts Club. It's a classic tale but she writes it in such a cute, feel good way. And at the same time, it will make you think and want to talk about that age-old question - can guys and girls be friends?

Happy reading!

3 comments:

  1. Wonderful review!! Honestly, I don't think men and women could be completely platonic, I'm really excited for this book,sounds like a book I would love. Up until now I've liked all the books by Eulberg, I'm definitely getting on my hands on this book.

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  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! I thought it was SUPER cute and very relatable. I think a lot of us have been in that position and wondered if guys and girls can actually just be platonic friends!

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  3. I can't wait to read BETTER OFF FRIENDS. It sounds super cute, and I do love that it sounds like there's a strong family aspect AND friendship in it. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it, and that it made you think about that always interesting conundrum of whether a guy and a girl can actually be just friends.

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