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Thalia @ Pictures in the Words

I'm Thalia! I run a book blog called Pictures in the Words and I hope to be an editor for YA fiction. I'm a GoodReads refugee!

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Better Off Friends (Review)

Better Off Friends - Elizabeth Eulberg

Holy crap! This book sucked me in from the very first chapter. Everything about it pulled me in and practically forced me to love it—it went by incredibly quickly on a plane ride (and the following nights of attempting to adjust to a three hour time difference), and I just…ugh. I hate writing five star reviews, because I never not sound like a total fangirl. But honestly, I loved the writing style, I loved the characters, I loved the story itself—I actually loved pretty much everything. Sometimes I felt like the plot progressed at a somewhat awkward pace, but that was really my only complaint. This is a great fun, lighthearted-but-still-pull-at-your-heartstrings kind of story, and I would definitely recommend it!

 

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

 

What I Liked: Spoilers!

  • I’m such a girly girl sometimes. The whole time I was reading the book, I was biting my nails wondering if the title would prove true in the end. I wanted Levi and Macallan to be together like nobody’s business. I wanted so badly for them to decide they wouldn’t be better off friends, and honestly, the title scared me! Maybe I was supposed to read this and agree that yes, guys and girls can be friends without falling in love (and they definitely can—but you know, I’m terribly glad that it didn’t end up being that way with this book), but I just…didn’t want that to happen here. I loved this book because it evoked emotion in me—I was worried, I cared about what was going to happen, and every time something popped up to deter them, I got angry and sad. I felt like I was invested in Levi and Macallan’s story, and that is honestly one of the most important things to me when I’m reading a book. I need to care, or there really isn’t any point in me reading.

 

  • I loved the way this was written. Levi and Macallan weren’t an epic couple. They didn’t have a dramatic storyline. They became friends in the seventh grade because of a shared interested in a television show (almost exactly the way the friendship with my best friend started), and eventually grew much closer despite their differing interests. (I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to have a lot of things in common in order to be friends, and I liked that this book seemed to help prove that.) They dated other people, had fallouts, fought, and just generally had a friendship. It actually covered their progression. And, okay, I’m a total sucker for romantic books written in a dual narration—and a sucker for things in general written from a guy’s point of view. And the little snippets of dialogue between Levi and Macallan outside the actual story at the end of each chapter were just perfect. Especially because those snippets never told you or gave away whether they got together in the end. I just loved the whole style and approach.

 

What I Didn’t Like:

  • On the flip side of watching their whole progression from seventh grade to junior year, there were some obvious gaps in the storyline. I wish we had seen more of their development as friends—it sort of jumped from their being unsteady friends to besties for life. Any book that covers several years won’t be able to show everything you would be able to know in real life if you actually were watching a friendship grow. It was a little shaky in development there, but it still didn’t deter me from loving this book.

 

Overall: Generally speaking, I really did love this book. The style and approach were absolutely perfect for this kind of story and I really enjoyed watching their feelings for each other change and grow—the big moments that really changed things, letting them speak to each other about what was on their minds, and just being friends. It was so easy to see how they could fall in love with each other when you got to see everything that made them friends. I would definitely recommend this, and it makes me really excited to read more of Eulberg’s work in the future!