Better Off Friends

Elizabeth Eulberg. Scholastic/Point, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-545-55145-8
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.)
Reviewed on: 12/16/2013
Release date: 02/25/2014
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