Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
Posted by Caitie F on February 20, 2014
Summary from pub:
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?
I am always so worried that I won’t like the new book by Elizabeth Eulberg since she is my favorite author writing contemporary YA. For the first chapter, I am on the edge of my seat worrying. And, like all the books before, I get so wrapped up in the amazingness of the story that all those worries go away and I adore it just as much as all of her others.
One really cool thing is that at the end of each chapter, there is a conversation about it from the characters as they are at the end of the book. It was a little jarring for the first couples times but I really loved it. It was insightful to see how they would react to the story being told years later and seeing their regrets. It helped the readers get to know the characters in a different way.
The characters are so awesome! I have no idea how she manages to write in the voice of a fifteen year old boy, but it was spot on. The chapters go back and forth between Macallan and Levi and both are fully fleshed out characters and feel so authentic. One of the best things is that who they are to their core never changes. Yes, people change, but there are some events that never leave you.
Macallan’s mom died shortly before the book opened and that never left her thoughts and her actions. The reader watches her grow and go through the stages of grief in the six years that the book takes place. It felt so genuine. I found myself crying at several points when she was talking about her mom and thinking about her mom. It wasn’t easy. The pain didn’t go away, but how she approached it changed. It added a level of realism to the book that will stick with me for a long time.
Macallan is just an absolutely wonderful character. I also loved Levi and his voice, but I connected more with Macallan, so I will stick to her a little more. There was so much I felt like I could relate to with her. Teen me needed this book and this character. She is strong, yet vulnerable at times. She is both confident and terrified. I know that is how I felt at that age so many times. There was even a situation with her friend Emily that was very close to what happened when I was that age. I am sure it happens to many teens. She and Levi are such rounded characters that I think most readers will be able to relate to one of them.
The other thing this book will do is it will make you hungry. Macallan cooks a lot and everything she makes sounds wonderful. My mouth was watering just reading about it. Just make sure you have a snack nearby or you will have to go get one. I know right now I am craving some homemade gnocchi with pesto sauce and baked alaska for dessert.
There are so many awesome thing about this book that I could go on and on, but I won’t. Just go get this book and wait eagerly with me for her next.