Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review of Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Better off Friends  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?

(Summary from GoodReads)

The premises behind Elizabeth Eulberg’s books always sound fun to me, and Better Off Friends was no exception.  At one point I heard it pitched as When Harry Met Sally, which is always a solid bet because that’s one of my favorite movies.  Macallan and Levi’s story was definitely adorable, but it felt too long to me.

Better Off Friends is told from alternating perspectives.  Levi is a big fan of sports, and Macallan enjoys cooking, so be aware that if you pick up this book, it will make you hungry.  Even when Levi and Macallan first met they reminded me of an old married couple.

That said, I found the ending of Eulberg’s story predictable.  Levi and Maccallan go through a lot of rough patches and back and forth before their story ended, and it didn’t all feel necessary.  I read an ARC of this book and was thinking a few scenes could have been edited out.

I also wasn’t sold on the prose here.  At times it felt like there was more telling instead of showing.  I wish Eulberg had more faith in my ability to infer what was happening.

Eulberg’s latest was cute, but not entirely satisfactory for me.  Conceptually it was great, but parts of the execution needed polishing.  Levi and Macallan meet in middle school, so I feel like this will be a great read for teens in seventh through tenth grade. It just wasn’t a great fit for me.

Disclosure: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

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1 comment:

  1. "I wish Eulberg had more faith in my ability to infer what was happening."

    Totally this. Totally. Lonely Hearts Club is still my favorite of hers.



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