Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg is a ridiculously cute YA novel that tells the story of main characters Macallan and Levi. Yes, Macallan is a girl, and Levi is a guy. But this isn’t your average romance book. This book tackles the age old question: Can a boy and girl really just be friends?
Most people compare the book to When Harry Met Sally for teenagers, but after watching the movie, I’d have to say that Better off Friends really painted an ultimate picture of a boy-girl friendship, even better than When Harry Met Sally.
This book takes place over the course of five years, from when they first meet in seventh grade, to when the story ends five years later in high school, allowing the reader to watch the growth of both characters and their friendship over the years.
Macallan and Levi share inside jokes, favorite TV shows, and others things that grow two people close together. Everyone from the outside seems to see that they belong together, but both are blind to the very fact that they could possibly be made for each other. And throughout the book, people, places, and feelings start to get in the way of their friendship. But with promises made to each other and life experiences they go through together, each feels that they really don’t know what they would do without each other—even just as friends.
This book is told in first person from the point of view of both Macallan and Levi. Every other chapter they switch off telling the story, so we always get both Macallan and Levi’s take as to what’s happening. And not only do they take turns talking, but at the end of every chapter, there is this awesome banter conversation between the two of them—banter between Macallan’s and Levi’s older selves as they look back on the telling of their story. The banter alone makes this book stand out from all the other YA romances.
Being this book is classified as a romance YA novel, I found it to be just about 100% clean. There was only one swear word, a few very, very small sexual references related to normal human development, and nothing besides “making out” or “sucking face” occurred more than once. It was a very clean book with very pure characters.
The author’s writing style is fun, smooth, and witty. Better off Friends was a great change of pace in the midst of reading more serious-toned books such as what most YA offers right now. This book had subtle but impactful messages sprinkled throughout. Though it was mostly fun, there was depth to the characters who were facing real life situations and in the end, learned real life lessons. And in the whirlwind of middle to high school friendships, the ultimate friendship Macallan and Levi have in each other is something that we all long for.
Stephanie is a 21-year old with a passion to see believers grow and become passionate in their relationship with the Lord. She is a lover of sweat tea, sunshine, and the freedom that comes from Christ. In her free time, she can be found singing, playing guitar, writing or jamming out to Hawk Nelson, Phil Wickham, and worship music. Her dreams are to become a worship leader and a published author, while living a life full of fun and joy that comes from the Lord.