Skip to main content

Better Off Friends

The descriptor for Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg is: Harry Met Sally for Teens. This is a perfect description exactly. I love a good friends to love story and enjoyed reading this one immensely. 

(This is a review of an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.)

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?

Better Off Friends is a short quick read. The story spans quite a time period though, beginning when Macallan and Levi first meet in 7th grade and moving through two thirds of their junior year. It is told in first person alternating perspectives. At the close of each chapter there is a short conversation between the two (from sometime after the story takes place) where they comment on the story and their younger selves. This aspect was a tad annoying for me personally, as I didn't really see the need for it and didn't feel it helped move the story much. The dual perspectives, not something that always works for me, did work well for the purposes of the story being told. It was fun getting thoughts and details from both Macallan and Levi, and Eulberg did a good job with both their individual voices. I appreciated how realistically young both of them sounded and how they grew up quite a bit, but not entirely, by the end. It fit the time period covered in the story perfectly. Macallan is a quiet, serious girl who enjoys school and loves to cook. Levi is more laid back about school and being part of a sport's team. They bond over an obscure British TV show they both know and love, and soon they share more with each other than they thought possible at first. 

While I enjoyed the alternating perspectives, the past tense explanatory format didn't always work as well. The past tense was essential, but there was a lot of rehashing and sometimes some major info dumps. I can see why that was necessary given the nature of the story, but it caused me to not be drawn into it as fully as I otherwise might have been. I did thoroughly enjoy the  plot itself though. As I said, I enjoy best friend to love stories and this is a lovely one. There were some scenarios that could have been avoided if they had talked more, but it was all so very realistic. Most teens wouldn't do much better navigating these scenarios, and there was no over-dramatic ridiculously eye-roll inducing scenarios.

This is a book I wouldn't hesitate to give to any of my teen readers. There is some kissing, but nothing more than that so it will also work for older MG readers looking for a little bit more romance in their books.

I read an ARC received from the publisher, Scholastic, at ALA Midwinter. Better Off Friends is available now. 


Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Favorite Kissing Scenes

When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!) The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts. The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day . - The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner Turner doesn't write the

Jinx's Fire

I have been a big fan of Jinx and company from the very first book, which felt like such a perfect Brandy book. The conclusion of Sage Blackwood's trilogy, Jinx's Fire , finished the story beautifully and is definitely my favorite of the three. Spoilers for first two books abound. Read those first: Jinx Jinx's Magic The Urwald is in danger from more than one direction and has no hope of defending itself if there is not unity amongst the people. Jinx, Sophie, Elfwyn, Wendell, and a dedicated group of others are working to make this happen as quickly as they can. Time is running out. At the same time, they are still dealing with the threat of the Bonemaster from within, and the Urwald's magic is fading. Where is it going? Can it be restored? And where has the Bonemaster put Simon? Jinx is the only one who can find the answers to these questions, and harnass the Urwald's power to save them all, but only if he is willing. Jinx has some serious attitude in this


Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein