Saturday, February 22, 2014

Better Off Friends, by Elizabeth Eulberg

Macallan and Levi have been friends since seventh grade and just that.  As a boy and a girl, they've endlessly been subjected to questions about their "relationship." No, they aren't dating; they are just friends and that is all they ever intend to be!  But being boy-girl friends is complicated in adolescence and this novel traces how, over the years, their friendship is tested by all the other relationships in their lives.

It's a sentimental (and sometimes manipulative) journey through years of a friendship.  However, it is also a surprisingly intelligent romance that avoids stereotypes and the usual hallmarks of teen romance novels (since it is really about friendship).  Eulberg has done a remarkable job depicting both Macallan and Levi's take on adolescence and each other -- no small feat when most authors specialize in either boys or girls but not both!  By the end of this deceivingly simple story, you'll find yourself terribly invested in both of these young people and in the deep and meaningful relationship they have developed.  The result, in sum, is a humble teen "romance" with depth, pathos, and poignancy.

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