Review: Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Better Off Friends by 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?

I received Better Off Friends from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Better Off Friends will be published on February 25, 2014.

Better Off Friends made me smile. Macallan and Levi are such great characters. Their journey starts at their first meeting, in seventh grade, when Levi is the new kid, a transplant from California to Wisconsin, and Macallan is assigned to show him around school. Macallan doesn’t take much notice of him until they bond over a shared love of an obscure BBC sitcom called Buggy and Floyd. Macallan’s still grieving over the recent loss of her mother and is being raised by her father, with the help of her developmentally disabled uncle, while Levi is struggling to fit in with his new classmates, particularly the boys, who are not as quick to accept him as the girls are. (He’s a cute boy; of course the girls are going to flock to him.)

One thing I really like is that even though Macallan and Levi are best friends, they both have other friends that they spend time with, as a group and separately. Levi plays sports and makes friends on his teams. Macallan’s favorite hobby (cooking) is more solitary, but she still has her friends from when she was young. Even when Levi dates her best girl friend and things go wrong, she still tries to be there for both of them for as long as she can.

I love that Levi and Macallan both have a large, strong support system. Along with their friends and Macallan’s father and uncle, Levi’s parents are involved in their lives as well. Their families spend time together, celebrating holidays and birthdays. While his father isn’t present in the book quite as much, Levi’s mother is. She’s even there on the day Macallan gets her first period, something Levi doesn’t realize happened until much later. It’s revealed in a funny way by their older voices.

Their older voices end each chapter with banter between the two. The chapters alternate between their points of view, with a silhouette from the cover signifying whose chapter is is. The cover is what initially attracted me to this book, and my only complaint about it is that I think Macallan’s hair is supposed to be darker.

Better Off Friends is set in Wisconsin (hello, 50 States of YA Challenge!), and while I don’t think I’ve ever been to Wisconsin (maybe driving through?), I appreciated the numerous Wisconsin references. No, I don’t expect that every Wisconsinite eats ButterBurgers, cheese curds, and brats while rooting on the Badgers and the Green Bay Packers, but they should. Live the stereotype, people of Wisconsin. Besides, ButterBurgers are delicious!

Although the ending wasn’t really the one I wanted, the rest of the story more than makes up for any issues I had with the ending. Better Off Friends is the first of Elizabeth Eulberg’s work that I’ve read, but it won’t be the last.

four and a half stars
addtogoodreads

Jenna

Comments

  1. I just read this one for myself today! I feel like the setting went straight over my head though because I’m doing the 50 states challenge LOL. Anyway, I agree, the characters are really awesome. My main issue was that I kind of wish the book went along with the synopsis and maybe they would have just stayed friends, thus showing that boys and girls are capable of being just that.

    Gosh, I LOVE Culver’s.
    Alise recently posted…Let’s Talk About that Vampire Academy MovieMy Profile

  2. I want to read this book so much right now! I already loved the cover and the resume, but it sounds like a really good contemporary novel to alternate between my fantasy/paranormal readings.
    ps.: I loved the name of your blog so much! It’s so true too <3
    Deyse recently posted…Gift, by Andrea J. BuchananMy Profile

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