Better off Friends
Better off Friends
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Annotation: Macallan and Levi are best friends from the first day they meet in seventh grade, but over the years their close friendship keeps interfering with their dating life because everyone else regards them as a couple.
Genre: Love stories
Catalog Number: #5506473
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition Date: 2014
Pages: 276 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-545-55145-5
ISBN 13: 978-0-545-55145-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2013019024
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Can guys and girls really be just friends? Levi and Macallan met in seventh grade and bonded over their shared love of a British TV show. Throughout the years, they've seen themselves as buddies and nothing more, even if everyone else has seen them as a couple. Sure, Levi might spend more time with Macallan than his girlfriend, and, yes, Macallan might share more jokes with Levi than her boyfriend t they're better off this way, right? Or is there something more that they just don't see? While the ending may be predictable, the journey here allows for a pitch-perfect rom-com. With a nod to When Harry Met Sally, rising YA romance writer Eulberg (Prom & Prejudice, 2011) situates relatable characters in realistic situations. There's depth, too, as Macallan grieves over the loss of her mother and Levi struggles to remain "one of the guys." A humorous and cozy story about friendships and relationships, and the oh-so-fine line between them.
Horn Book
Guy Levi and girl Macallan have been best friends since seventh grade. As they grow up and start high school, boyfriends, girlfriends, and peer pressure provide a near-constant threat to their friendship, and they start examining their place in each other's lives. Not all of the abundant dialogue rings true in this bubbly, readable rom-com, though the alternating-perspective narration is engaging.
Kirkus Reviews
Best friends Levi and Macallan struggle with their close relationship in this lighthearted and at times too sweet romantic comedy. When they meet as new seventh graders, Macallan is grieving her mother's recent death and finds support in Levi and his loving mother, who've just moved to Wisconsin from California due to his father's job. In dialogue-driven vignettes, the two swap turns as first-person protagonist over the next five years as they date various others, declare themselves just friends and discover they have romantic feelings for one another—but seemingly never at the same time. Punctuating the narrative are short, present-day conversations in which they playfully rib each other about their past missteps. While it's not revealed until the end whether or not they do so as a couple or just as friends, it's clear that whatever the outcome, they are still a pair in some form, which somewhat lessens the dramatic tension. Some readers will appreciate the lack of swearing throughout, though others may find it unrealistic for a teen among friends to use a phrase like "[a] pain in the rear." Secondary characters in Macallan's family, including grandparents who live in Ireland and an uncle who is developmentally disabled, add dimension but are not especially developed. A fun if lightweight read that will appeal widely to romance fans. (Fiction. 12-18)
Publishers Weekly
Reminiscent of When Harry Met Sally, Eulberg-s (Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality) account of an evolving relationship offers witty banter interspersed with pangs of unrequited love. It all begins when seventh-grader Levi, a California native, moves to Wisconsin with hopes of fitting in with Midwestern -dudes- and maybe joining a sports team. Instead he finds Macallan, the pretty girl assigned to show him around school. After the two discover a common passion for British comedy, the camaraderie between them-and their families-is sealed. Macallan-s sharp tongue and quick temper humorously complement Levi-s mellowness, but their platonic friendship isn-t always smooth sailing. As the years pass, petty arguments, traumas, and incidents of deceit test their loyalties, all of which are complicated by their mutual attraction. Neither wants to ruin a good thing by initiating romance, but jealousy rears its head as Levi and Macallan date other people. Flirty present-day exchanges between chapters leave little doubt that the two will eventually drop the pretenses, but their roller-coaster relationship provides plenty of entertainment and romantic thrills along the way. Ages 12-up. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Mar.)

School Library Journal
Gr 6&11;10&12; Levi and Macallan meet the first day of seventh grade and quickly become devoted friends. Told in chapters that alternate between their voices, this contemporary novel follows the teens for five years. During that time, Macallan grieves over her mother's recent death, Levi strives to fit in with the athletes, and they both struggle to figure out romantic relationships while keeping their friendship intact. The protagonists are interesting characters, facing the usual barrage of middle- and high-school challenges in inventive ways, as when Macallan teaches herself to be an expert chef. When Macallan and Levi begin to realize they are in love, the awareness triggers one misunderstanding and romantic misfire after another&12; which becomes repetitious; the pacing suffers as a result. The book does, however, have some compelling moments, as when Macallan deals singlehandedly with a bully's taunts. With the premise of friends becoming something more, the innocence of the romance, and the age of the protagonists over the course of the narrative, this will be appeal to younger teen readers.&12; Martha Baden, Prescott Public Library, AZ
Voice of Youth Advocates
When Levi moves from Los Angeles to a small town in Wisconsin, he is in for more than culture shock. He is promptly dubbed an outcast. On his first day at the new school, Macallan, his appointed tour guide, gives him the cold shoulder and quickly ditches him at the door of his first class. Who knew a British television show, a weekly engagement thrust upon them, and a conversation with the dead would permanently cement them into best friends? Things get interesting when Levi starts dating one of Macallan's closest friends. At first, friends look on in disbelief, but soon both Macallan and Levi have significant others. No problem, right? Of course not.In Better Off Friends, Eulberg demonstrates once again that she knows her audience, and she plays to them well. Macallan's deep struggle with the death of her mother is believable and will produce sympathy from teens who share life with someone going through similar experiences. Readers will easily slip into Eulberg's world of middle- and high-school drama, sports, proms, hormones, boyfriends, girlfriends, and exes. Finally, Eulberg settles the question on everyone's mind: Guys and girls can be platonic best friends . . . right?Kimberly Bower.
Word Count: 60,878
Reading Level: 4.3
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.3 / points: 9.0 / quiz: 164858 / grade: Middle Grades+
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.3 / points:14.0 / quiz:Q62266
Lexile: 590L
Guided Reading Level: U

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?

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