Title: Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
Published by: Point
Release date: February 25, 2014
Source: ARC from ALA-MW
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age group: Young adult
Grade rating: A+
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?
How good was this book? It was so good that I read it in one sitting. You might think that that’s nothing extraordinary, but when you have three kids, this is quite a feat! I couldn’t put it down, Better off Friends was AMAZING!
The layout of the book is different. Each chapter starts with a conversation between Macallan and Levi, then the story is told in the first POV from each of our main characters. We know who is talking because each of their “voices” have a different font associated with them.
Macallan is recovering from her mom’s death and starting a new school year when she meets Levi, who just moved from California. They find that they are both fans of a British TV show called Buggy and Floyd, and that’s all it takes to make these fast friends. They grow up together, so to speak, and each family adopts each other as well. Macallan is so strong. She stands up to bullies to defend those that she loves and all the injustice in the world. She is really smart, loyal, and has a strong belief of what’s right and wrong. Oh, and she’s a great cook, which can’t hurt any relationship, right?
Levi is funny, handsome, and eager to be accepted and to be popular. In Macallan he finds a loyal friend that he just ‘gets’. The banter between these two is SO good and comical. It’s like they think like one person and finish each other sentences. Their moments and dialogue together are like little treasures. Everyone thinks they are a couple because the chemistry between the two is incredible. When their feelings from each other start changing, their relationship and friendship is put to the test. It must be excruciating to have to see someone you love with someone else. It takes a lot of hurt and heart ache to bring these to together and figure out if they are really better off friends.
It is nice to see that both Macallan and Levi’s family were very involved in their lives. This is not a tale of drugs, underage drinking, abandonment or abuse. To me, it is more realistic because these teenagers have supervision, and people in their lives that care. Macallan’s dad and uncle and Levi’s mom are really family to them all. Other characters are well defined and had an individual voice.
The writing is funny, descriptive, and easy to read. Ms. Eulgerg really has a gift for storytelling. The plot is simple, but unpredictable. I just love Macallan and Levi, I felt invested in them as characters and I couldn’t wait to see if they ended of together (thus the reason I couldn’t stop reading!)
Finally, to quote the words of the master: Blimey, that was brilliant!
Here are some quotes for you:
“I’d never seen Macallan so mad. I knew she had very little tolerance for crap, but I’d had no idea how much it would set her off. You’re right,” I told her “And I’m proud of you. I also know to never make you angry. That was something else.”
A smile started to warm her face. “Sorry. I can’t help myself.”
No, I’m serious. That was awesome. I never saw you as the confronting type. Lesson learned.”
“Silence fell between us. This was a common occurrence whenever we’re alone. When you’re comfortable with someone, you don’t need to always fill the void with noise. I like it when we would just be.”
“… Listen, nothing will change with us. I promise you rith here, right now, that I’ll be there for you through good times, bad times, friend issues, boy issues, teacher issues, whatever issues. And you’ll always have a date to any social event that requires a male companion. I hear I clean up nicely.”
About the cover: The cover has Levi and Macallan in their favorite hangout, Riverside Park, sitting on the swings. Lovely.