Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

By 8:06 AM , , , , ,

Better off Friends
   by: Elizabeth Eulberg

Publication Date: Feb. 25, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Genre: Contemporary
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: e-ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 288 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4/5 stars

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?

I am such a sucker for the whole best friends falling for one another trope. It's definitely one of my favorites and I love reading about it in a young adult setting. This novel in particular was especially fun, as it is set over time. Levi and Mac first meet each other in 7th grade and the novel shows the different sides of their friendship until their senior year of high school. One of my favorite things about Levi and Mac's friendship is that it's real. It's far from perfect and strained at times, as they are trying to figure it out and factor in if it can withstand all the changes that come with growing up.
I love how Eulberg ends the chapters with present day Levi and Mac reminiscing about their friendship together. Their banter is witty and fun and you can't help but chuckle as they relive the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful together.
When Levi and Macallan first meet in the 7th grade, Mac isn't really interested in befriending him. It's her job to show the new kid around the school and she plans to do that and that alone. However, after seeing him sit alone at lunch that same day, she ends up feeling bad for the new kid and invites him to sit with her and her best friends. The two end up bonding over a British tv show and that is what started their friendship. At first it was a bit awkward- Levi's mom ends up intervening and telling Mac's uncle that she is happy to have Mac over Wednesday afternoons, as her dad can't pick her up until later. Mac is very studious and is still dealing with the aftermath of losing her mom. Levi's mom is such a great role model to her and she ends up bonding with her, which is what Mac really needs. Levi's mom is there for her at a really awkward time in a girl's life and really takes Mac under her wing.
Soon, Mac and Levi's friendship grows into much more. They trust one another, care for one another, and are bound together by their love for that tv show. However, it's silly to think things can stay exactly as they are. Mac and Levi are growing up individually and if they want their friendship to survive, it will have to grow with them as well. They have gotten to an age where boyfriends and girlfriends come into the picture and at times, it's definitely been a challenge for them.
Levi starts dating Emily, Mac's best friend, and Mac is put in the middle after finding out some information that could really hurt Levi. She is torn between loyalties and doesn't know how to handle it. She doesn't want to lose either friendship, but ultimately, it's not right that she's carrying secrets and she will have to make a choice between the two.
This is really the first test of Levi and Mac's friendship and really shows the readers just how much Levi and Mac care for each other and would go to bat for one another. Their friendship will continue to be tested as they grow older, as the two have that connection that most people only long for. When they are together they are completely at ease, have inside jokes, and just know each other better than anyone else could. It really complicates things when they both are dating another person.
Levi loves Mac, but he really longs for guy friends as well. He is struggling to find his place in high school, trying out different sports, simply wanting to be accepted as 'one of the guys'. He finds himself struggling to balance his friendship with Mac, his friendship with the guys, and a relationship and finds he cannot do it all. I understand he's trying to find his place, but he does not do a good job balancing and of course something's got to give.
"All I wanted out of my high school life was to be with the guys, have girlfriend, be on a team. I didn't feel complete. And that's because I'm not complete without you."
The biggest question this book poses is: Can two people who have a connection like Mac and Levi really just be friends? They fight their attraction for one another and both are afraid of the unknown. It just never seems to be their time and I found myself pulling out my hair in frustration because you could tell they both felt more for one another and I hated seeing the other hurting. I can't imagine how hard it must be to love your best friend from a distance and have to watch them as they spend time with another. They try to distance themselves from it and not put themselves in situations where they'll have to endure it.
As I said before, Levi and Mac's friendship is far from perfect. But Levi and Mac themselves are hardly perfect either. Both of them make mistakes that cause the other pain, but they are both trying to find their place and grow as individuals. Sometimes that brings them closer together and sometimes it drives them further apart.
Better off Friends was such a great story and I loved every minute of it. I cannot recommend this book enough, as it really proves that a true friendship can withstand any obstacle, and sometimes can lead to something more.

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  1. This sounds absolutely adorable and I NEED to check it out. I love the best friends falling for eachother trope as well. Great review!

    1. Thanks Teresa! I really loved this one so much! I finished it in a few hours time!

  2. I love when the characters feel real and their relationships feel real too! I I love the sound of this and I have come to the realization that I need to read more books with the friends turned couples books!

    Great review!!

    1. Yes! That is one of my favorite storylines! And this is too cute for words!

  3. I love the friends to lovers trope! Excellent Review Jess! This one sounds so good with the realistic characters, sexy banter, and a deep corp connection between the main characters! Thanks for sharing!

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

    1. Thanks Lindy! Those are all elements I love to have in my books and Eulberg delivered perfectly!

  4. OMGGGGG. Right after I read your review I added this one on Goodreads. I think I stumbled upon it before but I never really thought much of it. But I too loooooooove best friends falling for each other trope. It's just the cutest thing in life, really. I love that this one goes back to the past of how their friendship formed and endured along the years until the present day. I get the frustration too! Haha. I'm excited to get my hands on this one! Amazing review Jessica! I love how detailed you get while still not spoiling anything at all! xoxo

    1. Yay! Definitely check it out girl! And thank you! I always am afraid of giving too much away and then have people mad at me.

  5. Oh it sounds FABULOUS! Adorable, even! I can't believe I passed on the opportunity to read and review this book. I don't usually enjoy stories when two best friends become more than friends, but I think I would enjoy this one - understanding their friendship and their attraction - and which is the more important of the two. Great!

    Terrific review, Jess!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. Aww! I really liked this one and I'm glad I decided to pick it up, even though I had too many others for review. LOL.

  6. This book sounds so cute and I'm deffo going to check it out. I love that we follow them from 7th grade onwards, it sounds adorable!!


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