(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Series: Friends #1
Published by EverAfter Romance on September 13th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Dating & Sex, Friendship, Love & Romance, Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction
It’s the end of summer. Just before I start senior year with my two best friends in the whole world. Dustin and Emily are everything to me. We’ve been inseparable since middle school, and when we’re together, nothing can go wrong.
But things aren’t always what they seem. Em’s turned into a drunken mess who parties too much. Dustin and I have hooked up a few times—and now he’s ready to take our relationship to the next level. Yet I’m not sure I want things to change. I’m scared if I take it any further with Dustin, our friendship will be ruined forever. Then there’s Ryan. The new guy. He’s hot. He flirts way too much. And Em has totally set her sights on him.
So when my best friend betrays me in the worst possible way, guess who’s there to help me pick up the pieces of my broken heart? Ryan. But he’s so confusing. Annoying. Sweet. Sexy. I want to trust him, yet he makes it so hard. What I really want is for everything to go back to the way it was before.
Before I found out that best friends make the worst kind of enemies.
I knew going into this book that I was in for a scandalous story. I just didn’t realize how much! I love drama. Gossip Girl? Watched it (didn’t really enjoy the first book—oh well). One Tree Hill? Still mourning the fact that it’s over. Pretty Little Liars? I used to be obsessed with those books. My point is, I eat drama for breakfast, so the premise of this book was like crème brulee on a crisp fall morning. I couldn’t wait to dive in and discover all of Olivia’s secrets and just what happened when she got back home.
Olivia got back from the summer with her dad (which she hated) excited to return to her friends-with-benefits relationship she had with her best friend since childhood, Dustin. I loved Dustin! He was sweet and smart, and with dark hair and tall frame, I wanted to wrap him up in the perfect packaging and give him to myself for Christmas. He was one of the reasons that I probably had such a problem with Olivia. She treated him like dirt, which kind of made me want to slap her. Dustin was adorable, and yes, he did something almost unforgiveable, but Olivia wasn’t innocent, either. She played games with him, pulling him in close and pushing him away just as fast. I reside quite comfortably on the #TeamDustin side of the story and must know what happens next.
Obviously since there are teams to be chosen, there was another guy: Ryan Bennett. After the initial, “OMG, he’s cute, and I like him” stage, he grossed me out. He had a crude sense of humor, thrived on sexual innuendos, and did not commit. However, toward the end I started to sort of liked him again. I’m interested to see how his and Olivia’s relationship progresses, and that cliffhanger infuriated me. I have so many questions about Ryan, some of the things he has people believe, and just how much of an experienced womanizer his really is. The boys in this book have me dying to read more.
While Olivia made me mad, and she had the propensity to whine, I did get her on some level. She’s in high school! I am the girl—still the girl; I’m still in my teens, people—that hits the ground running if a guy starts talking too seriously about forever. Yes, girls want forever, but that doesn’t mean all girls want a ring on their finger before they’ve graduated college. So, Olivia, I’ve got you, girl. I know—Dustin’s huge commitment would have terrified me, too. I can’t blame her for that, but she needed to make up her mind on what she really wanted (i.e. Dustin wanted commitment, so she would have had to embrace that and date exclusively, or Ryan’s lackadaisical dating style where trust was questionable). The moments that I liked her the most were when no guys were involved. Just Olivia, Amanda, and trying to make herself into a new person.
I loved Amanda. She came out of nowhere, and I instantly liked her. I hated Em from the beginning; her boisterous attitude and better-than-thou spirit rubbed me the wrong way. Amanda was like a breath of fresh air in this story. While I’m wondering if I’ll get to see Olivia’s drama unfold in grave detail, having the next book told in Amanda’s voice, at least partly, is sure to be a treat.
There was a lot of drinking and drug use in this book. Maybe I’m just out of the loop, but at times it seemed like too much. I would have liked that to have been toned a bit, and in that case, Just Friends belongs in an upper YA category.
Scandal, cute boys, and interesting friendships go hand-in-hand in Monica Murphy’s new YA novel. Just Friends is ten times the drama of her debut YA Daring the Bad Boy and will appeal to a whole new fan base. Plus, just look at that cover! It catches your eye, for sure! It makes me want to change my name to Ridley and buy all the cherry lollipops I can find.