The Selective Collective reads BETTER OFF FRIENDS by ELIZABETH EULBERG!
The Selective Collective features BETTER OFF FRIENDS by ELIZABETH EULBERG provided to us by Scholastic for review and use in The Selective Collective feature!
For my part in this Selective Collective post, I had the fun freebie post and instantly, I knew I could relate to BETTER OFF FRIENDS! The story takes place in Wisconsin, not too far from Milwaukee and although I’m not from Wisconsin (I’m a Chicago suburbanite… probably much to Macallan’s dismay!), the Midwest charm of the book absolutely pulled me in and I could see little pieces of my own childhood and high school life in the book.
Before we jump in, here’s a little info on the book:
Publishing Info: February 25th 2014 by Point
Source: Physical ARC provided to us by Scholastic for review and use for the Selective Collective promotions
BETTER OFF FRIENDS: “BOY FRIEND” VS BOYFRIEND
Like Macallan, I had a male best friend growing up. It was my next door neighbor Steve which was pretty perfect that we were the same age because it was a great way to assimilate into the neighborhood when we moved there the summer before third (or was it fourth?) grade. I was pretty shy at first but before long, we were hanging out all the time, year round, sun, rain, or snow.
There were a lot of things that were cool about Steve. He knew all the guys in the neighborhood and it was the first time I really hung out with the boys. I went to a Catholic grade school so my class consisted of anywhere between 20-30 kids, usually hovering somewhere around 25 from pre-school all the way to eighth grade so getting to hang out with the public school kids was kind of a silly little thrill! I got to brag and said I knew kids from the public school (that was always something to be jealous of!) and we had a group of boys to hang around and bother when we wanted to be silly girls. But most importantly, Steve was my best friend.
There’s always that awkward best friend/more-than-friends zone. For us, it happened early on in our friendship (well, I guess as early as it can when you meet when you’re eight years old) and we started that awkward “I think we like each other” phase in sixth grade. We started “dating” when we were twelve and nothing much really changed except for the fact that we got little butterflies, held hands when we went on our walks around the block (and got teased by a random passer-by in the neighborhood), and Valentine’s Day became an actual event. (He got me a necklace with my birthstone which I actually still have today.) I even got to go to his Bar Mitzvah as his girlfriend which was a pretty awesome thing! (And again, hang out with the public school kids!) We even had “our song” that we danced to at the Bar Mitzvah. (It was “Back at One” by Brian McKnight in case you were wondering.)
We finally had our first kiss after months of dating. It was New Year’s Eve 1999 and probably sometime around 8pm. I came out in my pajama pants and we just hung out for a while outside (Yes, we often hung out outside in the winter. It was just what we did. As an adult, I don’t know how we could stand the cold!) and I think we had even talked about what was going to go down that night (In my head, I picture us texting which obviously isn’t right. We must have talked on the phone.) because I remember being so nervous going outside to meet him. We kissed on the side of his house very quickly, both of us extremely nervous and history was made. My first kiss!
The relationship lasted eleven months which seems like a really long time for a couple of twelve and thirteen-year-olds but I guess when your relationship consists of hand-holding and one kiss, there’s not much at risk! We broke up in seventh grade (which I think was my doing… oops) and it was really hard to be around each other for a while. I avoided him for probably a week and then eventually got over myself and we resumed our care-free friendship.
We hung out all the time and he was my sort of transition from Catholic school to public school when I started at the local public high school freshman year. I relied on him heavily and pretty much the only people I knew were kids from the neighborhood! It didn’t take long to make friends in high school but I always had Steve to hang out with and it was a special bonus when we had classes together. It was a relief to have him in my Honors English class freshman year so I already knew a friendly face and again when we had Geometry together sophomore year!
Like Macallan and Levi, we actually went to Homecoming together freshman year! We were both single and I barely knew anyone when we started high school so it was kind of perfect for us to go together. I really can’t remember how the dance went but I think I was a bad date! Half of the high school dances run together, but I think that was a time where I spent more time with my friends than my date.
We had a couple run-ins where the “feelings” started to come back which made for some awkward note-passing times in Geometry but I tried to pretend that didn’t happen because I loved my best friend but I didn’t have the “feelings” back! Ever since then, we still stayed friends. We’ve always had our own inside jokes, nicknames for each other, and hung out all the time — both at school and at home — so like Macallan and Levi, we also had those moments where people would say, “Why don’t you just date already?” The thing was in our situation, we could actually say, “Been there! Done that!” We were good friends all throughout high school although we drifted just a bit since we developed our own interests, had different extra curriculars and formed friend groups outside of our neighborhood gang. I even visited Steve a few times when we were both in college and we’re still friends today, although we don’t really talk as much. He’s in graduate school in West Virginia so we rarely talk anymore but we still hang out when he has the rare opportunity to come back home!
My story isn’t exactly like Macallan and Levi’s but I could surely relate and it was fun having that kind of connection to BETTER OFF FRIENDS! Do you have a “best boy friend”? Did that ever turn into a relationship or were you truly “better off friends?” I’d love to hear your own stories in the comments!!
And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of BETTER OFF FRIENDS so please go visit their take on the book as well!
|Tee @ YA Crush||Author Q&A and Giveaway!|
|Candice @ The Grown-Up YA||Review: Better Off Friends|
|Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks||Casting Call: Better Off Friends|
|Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan||Round Table: Better Off Friends|