Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Julie's Review: Best Friends Forever

Summary: Addie Downs and Valerie Adler will be best friends forever. That's what Addie believes after Valerie moves across the street when they're both nine years old. But in the wake of betrayal during their teenage years, Val is swept into the popular crowd, while mousy, sullen Addie becomes her school's scapegoat. Flash-forward fifteen years. Valerie Adler has found a measure of fame and fortune working as the weathergirl at the local TV station. Addie Downs lives alone in her parents' house in their small hometown of Pleasant Ridge, Illinois, caring for a troubled brother and trying to meet Prince Charming on the Internet. She's just returned from Bad Date #6 when she opens her door to find her long-gone best friend standing there, a terrified look on her face and blood on the sleeve of her coat. "Something horrible has happened," Val tells Addie, "and you're the only one who can help." Best Friends Forever is a grand, hilarious, edge-of-your-seat adventure; a story about betrayal and loyalty, family history and small-town secrets. It's about living through tragedy, finding love where you least expect it, and the ties that keep best friends together. ~amazon.com

Review: I love Jennifer Weiner. I love her books and her characters. Best Friends Forever is no different. From the first pages you can't help but be smitten with Addie. In one way or another, she's all of us rolled into one character. Addie has never really fit in, she's always been a bit of a misfit or outsider, but as soon as Val Adler moves in across the street, that changes. Addie has the one, true friend she's always wanted and needed. That being said you already know that this friendship is going to go in the toilet by the time high school rolls around. I didn't really ever get attached to Val, but I didn't dislike her either. To me the book was always about Addie. The book is funny and poignant, which is typically Jennifer Weiner and why I love her books. This book reminded me a bit of Goodnight Nobody, which was my least favorite of her books but had other aspects that made it more like In Her Shoes. I like the fact that we knew what happened was all a misunderstanding but that in the end the characters had to figure it out for themselves, with help from one local Police Chief.

As much as the book is about friendship, it's really about finding your way in life, figuring out who you are and who you want to be. I think all of the characters grew in this book, even Dan Swansea, which as readers is what I think we want to "see". Of course, living in the 'burbs of Chicago, I was thrilled to find out it was set in a 'burb of Chicago. I love how she describes Pleasant Ridge because really it could be where I grew up but that's the thing about suburbs they are pretty much all the same. The part that cracks me up is in the product description when they say that Val "has found a measure of fame and fortune working as the weathergirl at the local TV station". Um it's Chicago, which is the 3rd largest media market after NYC and LA and she is employed by FOX.

Ms. Weiner as always did a great job in her descriptions. My favorite were the ones of Addie's house and all the remodeling she did. I could close my eyes and picture the before and after of it.

Best Friends Forever isn't near the top of my list as a favorite of Ms. Weiner's (that's Little Earthquakes) but it isn't Goodnight Nobody either. It rests nicely in the middle.

Final Take: 4.25/5

3 comments :

infiniteshelf July 21, 2009 at 8:25 AM  

I'm so glad you liked it! I love Jennifer Weiner's work, and I can't wait to read this one, too. Hopefully it will be soon!

Anna July 21, 2009 at 10:06 AM  

I haven't read anything by Weiner yet, but my sister loaned me a couple of her earlier books. I hope to get to them soon. This one sounds good.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Carrie K. July 21, 2009 at 11:30 PM  

I just received a review copy of this in the mail Monday - can't wait to read it!

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