The Selective Collective features BETTER OFF FRIENDS: “Boy Friend” vs Boyfriend

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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:

Better Off FriendsPublishing Info: February 25th 2014 by Point
Source: Physical ARC provided to us by Scholastic for review and use for the Selective Collective promotions

Book Synopsis: 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? — From Goodreads.com

BETTER OFF FRIENDS: “BOY FRIEND” VS BOYFRIEND

Freshman year Homecoming (2001)

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.)

High school graduation (2005)

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.

My 21st birthday

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

 

 

10 thoughts on “The Selective Collective features BETTER OFF FRIENDS: “Boy Friend” vs Boyfriend

  1. Sandie @TeenLitRocks

    I LOVE this story. It’s adorable, and I kinda wonder if he knows about this post, lol! I went to my *junior* homecoming with my best guy friend, so I can relate, except in my case (because we were older), feelings did get in the way, and the night confused me and eventually led to a lot of hurt the summer between 11th and 12th grade. My guy is still one of my close friends (he was even in my wedding), but man did it hurt at the time.

  2. Amanda

    Awww! Thank you for sharing your story! I love how you tied your story into the review. I actually ended up dating my best male friend from college…six years later and he’s still my best friend – and my boyfriend. 😉

  3. Diana@TeenLitRocks

    I absolutely love your story! It’s like Kevin and Winnie Cooper in The Wonder Years.

    My story is not as epic as yours, but one of my best friends in college was a guy. It didn’t start out that way though. My freshman year in college, I got involved in a Christian college group and was amazed by all the smart, funny, good looking guys who were actually serious about their faith. I didn’t want to have a boyfriend, I just wanted the chance to get to know these different guys, so when one of them asked me out I said yes. He was very nice, but there were no sparks for me. I thought of it as a fun, friendly dinner. Then I found out he had a thing for me and had to give the old let’s just be friends talk. So we were friends.

    Then about junior year, I started having feelings for him. We were hanging out more and more because we were both single then. Sadly, it was his turn to give the old “just friends” routine to me. In the end, we never really got together, but our friendship was awesome. We’re still friends despite the fact that he now lives in another country. We keep vowing to one day see each other again and meet each others families.

  4. TEe

    Um, have I ever told you that you are the cutest girl EVER? I love this story and I love that it was so personal for you. 🙂

  5. Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Book Blog)

    Love your story!! I have a best guy friend, but we didn’t really become friends until late high school. Every other guy friend I had always seemed to want to try to become something more and it just ruined everything. I’m so glad me and Adam were just able to stay friends and I’ve even hooked him up with several of my girlfriends which was really fun while it lasted. Now I’m married and he’s getting married next month and we still talk all the time. Guy friends are awesome bc there’s so much less drama. And they have a completely different view of thing when you need advice. I wouldn’t give mine up for anything.

  6. Kim @ The Nomadic Book Hoarder

    Aw, what a cute story. I loved reading it 🙂 I have a best boy friend story too, although it hasn’t ended as well as for you and Steve, because we didn’t stay friends after dating. Although we were a little older when we were dating, so maybe that was part of it. We dated the summer before college, and we broke up just before we both left to our colleges. It was kind of a bad break up and we didn’t remain friends.

  7. Alexa S.

    I love that you shared this story, Brittany! It’s fun to hear about a real life experience that mirrors so close to what the book seems to be about, and I like that you guys are still friends even after having been through all that together 🙂

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