Making the Grade / Better Off Friends

Hi!

Making the GradeI haven’t posted a review in quite a while, so I figured it would be best to do another “Making the Grade!” Today, I am excited to share my thoughts on Elizabeth Eulberg’s most recent novel, Better Off Friends. I love Eulberg’s writing, and you’ll soon see that this book definitely reflected that…

Better Off FriendsSummary: 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? {Goodreads}

Main Character Development {A}: First off, I have to say that Eulberg’s main characters have consistently been one of the strongest aspects of her books, and it was no exception here with Macallan and Levi. I loved watching them grow over the course of the book; they made mistakes, they made {and lost} friends, they dated, but most importantly, they always felt like genuine teenagers. Their witty banter and inside jokes with one another also added layers of personality that separated them out from the main characters of other contemporaries I’ve read. Furthermore, reading from a boy’s perspective {even if it did read a little forced at times} is always appreciated in YA, yes?!

Supporting Character Development {B+}: While there were a handful of supporting characters that were appropriately fleshed out and developed, there were just as many that were not. In particular, I was frustrated that the friends of Macallan and Levi were just “there,” making it difficult for the reader to understand their motives. On the plus side, however, I always take note when family is emphasized in this genre, because more often than not, the parents are just out of the picture.

Engaging and Well-Paced Plot {A}: Realistic fiction is my favorite genre by far, so my reading experience will obviously differ from someone who occasionally picks up a contemporary, but I couldn’t put this down once I started reading. It is a fluffy read {no dark themes woven into the picture}, but at the time, that’s all I needed. I was concerned that the story might flow weirdly, as it spans over five years, but I was surprisingly okay with the pace.

Interesting and Consistent Voice {A}: As I hinted at above, the story is narrated by both Macallan and Levi. I honestly had to get used to the different fonts representing each character at first, but once I did, it was an easy read from there. Both voices remained fairly consistent throughout the book. I should mention that some of Levi’s lines did read a bit too “girly” for me, but then again, what do I know? :)

Vivid Writing and Language {A-}: Nothing outstanding or impressive, but I’ve also come to know what to expect from Eulberg’s books. It is a light read, so if that is not your thing, I would not go for this one!

Memorability/Lasting Impact {A}: Overall, I’m really glad I was so pleased after finishing this one. After the disappointment of Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality, I feared that my Elizabeth Eulberg love fest had sadly come to an end. Thankfully, this one was adorable and oh-so fun to read! {There’s news of a sequel too – how exciting!}

Final Grade: A-

Have a lovely evening!
Bella

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