ARC Review: Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

February 28, 2014 Review 60 ★★★½

ARC Review: Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Source: Publisher
Pages: 288
Release Date: February 25th, 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Love & Romance, Young Adult
three-half-starsthree-half-starsthree-half-starsthree-half-stars
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY . . . for teens, from romantic comedy star Elizabeth Eulberg. 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 received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

alise

YA contemporary romances are not hard to find, but ones containing depth and meaning are few and far between. BETTER OFF FRIENDS is a cute and fairly entertaining read but lacks that particular substance that makes it a five star favorite.

Told in both of their POVs, Macallan and Levi are the two “better off friends” duo that make up the novel. Macallan was easily my favorite character because she was so easy to relate to and always put others before her, a very admirable trait. Levi was a bit less tolerable because his personality was wishy-washy, the most important things in his life football and being popular, or the “Stud” and “the Man” as he likes to call himself.

 

I was expecting the moral of the story to be something like “boys and girls can be friends,” learning Levi and Macallan could be happy being Just Friends like the synopsis strongly suggested. I think that would have been a much more unique story that way. Because without that, the book is kind of a predictable, ordinary story.

BETTER OFF FRIENDS was not the novel I was expecting based off the synopsis, but it was still a good book. If you are a fan of contemporary YA, you will find yourself enjoying this one easily.

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Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Romance
Overall: 3.4

60 Responses to “ARC Review: Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg”

  1. Cait

    I’m still tossing up whether this is something I need or not. ;) I kind of love the concept, but I haven’t seen any raving reviews for it yet. (I do love that GIF, though. XD) Predictable, though? Ugh. I have a very hard time with being surprised in books already, so I have a feeling I’d be a wee bit bored here. (Oh, and PS at the top of your post in the info section, you’ve said under “series” that it’s book #3 of Shatter Me. ;) I’m thinking that’s just a little slip-up. XD)
    Cait recently posted…Here, Let Me Fix These Book Covers

    • Alise

      Baha thanks :D I’m the same way.

      Nope, I’m pretty sure this is the third book in the Shatter Me series…

      ;)

      Fixed that, thanks for letting me know :)

  2. tonyalee

    I am not a fan of predictable. This sounds too light for my taste, but I will keep it in the back of my mind, should I choose to read some fluff :)

    Great review

  3. Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Book Blog)

    Ughh I was hoping this would end up with the message that yes boys and girls CAN be just friends!! That’s not what happens?? Very disappointing! I was up in the air as to whether I wanted to read this book anyway bc this is the same author who wrote Lonely Hearts Club which I HATED!! So I was definitely scared to try something else of hers. I’m not say I won’t read this one… I’m still thinking about it… but I don’t like the sounds of the predictability :(
    Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Book Blog) recently posted…Solving for Ex by Leigh Ann Kopans Blog Tour Review

    • Alise

      Tell me about it! I was really confused and a little mad with that. Baha I haven’t read the Lonely Hearts Club but from your CAPS I will stay away from it xD

  4. Angel (Spare Reads)

    I don’t really read much contemporary to be honest. It seems to me that most of them are very romance centered and I’m a bit on the pickier side if there is no other themes in the story. I do love reading something about friendship though which this one sort of touches, but overall still sounds like it’s heavy on romance? I will have to wait to see more reviews about this one to decide :)
    Angel (Spare Reads) recently posted…Epic Recs Review: Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)

    • Alise

      I never used to either, it was always a genre I kind of ignored. It is, you are exactly right, mostly just romance. I think I am going to try and read less of it so I enjoy the books I do read in the genre.

  5. Kirsty-Marie

    Oh, joy. Though I am a sucker for the friend-turned-something-more, it would’ve been fun to read one that did end up the opposite, and that’s what I thought based on the title, too. Misleading. Still sounds cute though, but I do have to be in the mood for cute, and since you rated it a 3.4, it can’t be all bad, so I will eventually end up reading it. :)
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: Panic

    • Alise

      EXACTLY. *high fives* Yes! Misleading is the perfect way to describe this one. Oh, definitely, not a BAD book, per se. Cute, for sure :)

    • Alise

      I’m glad I’m not the only one. Friendships are so rare in YA, especially between the opposite sex and I would love to see more of them.

  6. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    I think there’s something weird with the book info at the beginning of the post… because this isn’t a dystopian nor part of the Shatter Me series, lol. Anyways, I’m a sucker for YA contemporary, too bad this one sounds like a typical contemporary. I agree that maybe if they stayed friends it would have made for an awesome story. Great review!
    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms recently posted…Fashion By The Book (3) The Awakening & Just One Day

    • Alise

      No, it’s the unknown secret version of Ignite Me ;)
      Haha thanks for pointing that out, fixed it!
      Right? Thanks!

    • Alise

      Yeah! It was cute and entertaining.

      It’s a standalone, sorry for the confusion! The information was entered wrong.

      • Wendy Darling

        Oh good, I thought I was spectacularly unobservant in not noticing that before, hah. No worries at all, this means I don’t have to wait and read anything else before trying out this one. ;)
        Wendy Darling recently posted…Murder of Crows: review

    • Alise

      I thought about that too, the reminiscing parts were a humorous addition but a little confusing. Definitely a cute read.

    • Alise

      Haaaaa funny thing, it’s not. It’s a standalone contemporary xD I accidentally filled out the information wrong. Whoops :)

    • Alise

      It is very sweet! I usually love watching that relationship development but I was in the mindset of “they are going to stay friends” the entire book so I was a little disappointment when they.. didn’t. Thanks!

  7. Tanja

    That’s the biggest problem I have with contemporary reads. They are all sweet and lovely but the deepness is mostly what they don’t have. I’m so sorry to hear that this one is like that as well. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. Great review :)
    Tanja recently posted…ARC Review: Til Death by Kate Evangelista

    • Alise

      Completely agree. There are a few jems out there but unfortunately they are just not that common. Thanks!

  8. Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

    I’m not usually a huge fan of contemporary romances, but I think I’ll try this one out! It definitely sounds like it’s been written more for the entertainment aspect than the depth aspect, so I think I can forgive the predictability you’ve mentioned – although it will probably bother me a tad. Anywho, thanks for sharing Alise, and, as always, fabulous review! :D
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…Uninvited

    • Alise

      I think that’s exactly it-entertainment! If you do read it, let me know! I’d really like to read your thoughts on it. Thanks :D

  9. Rashika

    Okay so admittedly the fact that they do not end up as friends is going to be what makes me read this novel. I absolutely love the friends to lovers trope so that was what first attracted me to this book but I wasn’t completely sold because I wanted to make sure they didn’t end up as friends. Yes sometimes I am incredibly shallow.

    I am sorry you didn’t enjoy it more though :(

    Great Review, Alise! :)
    Rashika recently posted…Arclight by Josin L. McQuein

    • Alise

      Haha, no worries! Some people will definitely like this one because of that. I might have if the synopsis had been written a little differently.

      Thank you :)

  10. Allie @ Little Birdie

    Even with the title of this one, I actually still expect them to end up together. I don’t know why. So I guess it is kind of predictable in that respect! Still though, it sounds like such a cute, quirky contemporary and I need one of these. Plus I like the idea of exploring whether or not guys and girls can be friends. Have you read Sam Cruz’s Infallible guide? That’s a great one for the topic :D
    Allie @ Little Birdie recently posted…Recapping February: What This Month Had To Offer

    • Alise

      I think it was the all the “They are platonic and happy that way.” stuff that made me think otherwise. It’s pretty cute and I totally agree-I wonder if there is any psychology behind that aspect! No, I haven’t!

  11. Andreea

    Hmm, I don’t like predictable stories either, so I think I’ll skip this one even though many people seem to like this book.

    Thanks for your honest review!

  12. Amir

    I’ve been in the mood for fluffy Contemporaries lately and my last YA contemporary was a total dud. I totally agree that although there are a lot of books in this genre, really good ones are hard to find. I will keep this book in mind if I want something light and easy to read that doesn’t really need much thinking from my side. Sometimes, you just have to read those type of books.Therapeutic lol. Great review Alise!
    Amir recently posted…Review: Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid

  13. Monique

    I like the concept of this book, but I think you kind of told me the ending with this review. Either way, I think the characters will be interesting enough to entertain me. lol! Especially if Levi calls himself “The man” like you said in this review. Haha! Still cracking up over that one.
    Monique recently posted…Winter Teasers

    • Alise

      Eh, you can kind of put two and two together. I’m just saying it’s not at all what the synopsis said. The Stud thing from Levi actually kind of bothered me but it’s cool to know that it appeals to some people!

  14. Celine

    I really thought that this one would promote the whole concept of “girls and boys can be just friends”, but apparently it doesn’t? That surprised me a bit, to be honest. Hadn’t expected that!

    Great review <3
    Celine recently posted…Midnight Madness Newsletter (41)

  15. Katy

    Bummer, I would like to read some actual just friends stories. Or at least one! It still sounds enjoyable, but kind of an expected YA contemp enjoyable, not anything to wow you. Thanks for the review, now I know what to expect if I pick this one up!
    Katy recently posted…Hello March, Goodbye February

    • Alise

      SAME. Yeah, it’s kind of the norm in the YA contemporary genre, nothing extremely special. Sure! :)

  16. Wattle

    Haha your use of the Toy Story .gif had me chuckling ;) One day a book is going to come along about platonic girl/boy friendships and it’s going to be awesome. I’m just waiting for it, since this doesn’t sound like it’s it :( *continues to wait*
    Wattle recently posted…State of the Whimsy #1

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