With Elizabeth Eulberg’s recent release, Better off Friends, readers will follow Macallan Dietz and Levi Rodgers as the author asks the question, Can a guy and a girl be legitimately best friends and only friends without the complications of romance?

The novel begins when Macallan is just eleven years old and follows her through her senior year in high school.  With Macallan, who craves the discipline and distractions of school, loyalties run deep.  However, “beneath her sweet exterior is a snarky center with quick wit and even quicker rebounds” (116).  She staunchly supports her uncle Adam who was born with a birth defect which affects his speech.  She also wishes to salvage the two most important relationships in her life, that with girly-girl Emily, who helps her fret over fashion and friends, and that with Levi, who moved from California to Wisconsin and grew into not only her best friend but her confidante.

With Levi, Macallan shares nearly everything: her painful memories, her hopes and dreams, and her love for the British comedy pair, Buggy and Floyd.  Because she wishes for him to be happy, Macallan also cheers him on through his relationship with Emily.  They promise each other to be there for each other: “through good times, bad times, friend issues, boy issues, and teacher issues” (106).  Despite occasional cold feet and cold shoulders, the two weather most of the drama that makes life a pain in the rear.  For Levi, the drama king, life revolves around acceptance.  He wants to be part of the popular crowd and one of the top athletes.

Although they survive one another’s insecurities and unmet needs, they also learn that the painful memories are the hardest to forget: the death of a mother and a best friend’s betrayal.  In addition, they learn the meaning of home—which is not necessarily where you sleep at night—it is where you’re most comfortable, where you don’t have to pretend, and where you can be just you.

  • Posted by Donna


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