Better off Friends

First Lines: I was probably the first kid ever excited for summer to be over.  There was too much free time that summer, which can lead to too much thinking, especially for a loss-striken eleven-year-old.  I couldn’t wait for seventh grade to start.

This is the first of the library realistic fiction run I made recently.  Apparently, I’m just not feeling the paranormal this month…and I have an idea why (which I will share next Tuesday!).  And since I’m a fan of Elizabeth Eulberg, I was excited to see what this book might bring.

Guys and girls can totally be just friends.  Just ask Macallan and Levi.  Since the seventh grade, they have been friends–best friends.  They share jokes, their families are close, and they can date each other’s friends with no issue.  They’re happy that way.  But they seem to keep getting in the way of romance for each other.  Guys think Macallan is dating Levi and avoid asking her out, and Levi pays more attention to Macallan than his dates.  And the more it happens, the more they begin to wonder…are they really just friends?  Or will a relationship ruin everything they have?

This fit the romantic comedy genre to a T.  I mean, from the premise alone, it had me thinking of When Harry Met Sally (the clean, teen version of it, anyway).  And I wasn’t wrong.  Eulberg even thanks Nora Ephron (the When Harry Met Sally writer) in the acknowledgements.  To me, that signaled a definite link.  And honestly, this book plays out almost exactly how the movie does.

And I was ok with that.  See, that’s one of my favorite movies ever.  So I was fine with it being so similar.  I understand that some people are not.  If predictability bothers you, then this isn’t the book for you.  But if you like interesting characters and lots of sarcastic snark, keep reading.

I really thought these characters had great chemistry.  A lot of characters just have the passion/lust thing going and that’s it.  But these two…they’re best friends.  They get along swimmingly and they interact with each other so well.  It was great to see Macallan, who is witty and straight-laced, matched up with Levi, who is funny yet self-conscious.  And this story allows us to watch them grow from 7th grade to senior year.

And the humor in this was magnificent.  I loved it.  My family slings sarcasm like a diner slings bacon for breakfast.  It’s a staple.  And to read about two characters who use it in the same way my family does was so nice.  I felt like I immediately fit in.  I understood them better because of that.  (See, sarcasm isn’t always used as a put-down, but a way of showing that we care about someone enough to tease them.  That actually doesn’t sound as convincing as it did in my head.)

One thing that was really interesting about this too was the narration.  Sure, every chapter flips between Levi and Macallan.  Nothing new there.  But before every chapter, there’s almost an interview with the characters from “the present”.  They know everything that’s about to happen and they comment on it.  That was where a lot of the sarcasm came from, and it was really funny and cute.  I liked that a lot.

So overall, it’s really nothing new.  Before you even read the book, you know how it’s going to end.  It doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel.  But it’s still really cute, funny, and contains a great cast of characters.  It was a nice, easy read to get me through a summer day.

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