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Readers Advisory: Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Point, $17.99 hardcover, ISBN-10 0545551455, February 2014

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?

If you’ve seen When Harry Met Sally, you already know exactly what’s going to happen here. As a woman who has had plenty of friendships with men that never swung anywhere close to romance, I have issues with When Harry Met Sally, which seems to exist to reinforce the idea that opposite sex friendships must always mask secret desires. Gag.

Anyway, Better Off Friends didn’t offend nearly as much as When Harry Met Sally. Macallan and Levi have an instant attraction, but neither reads the other correctly, so they wind up just friends, then best friends. Of course, as years pass (yup, years) their friendship complicates their other relationships. Not only is creating acceptable boundaries that will keep their significant others comfortable a stretch, each must deal with the problems that arise when their same-sex friends want to date their opposite-sex selves. Or something. I don’t know, something terrible happened to that sentence. I hope it forgives me for what I did to it. Anyway! While the ultimate resolution drags out a bit too long when we know the happily ever after is coming, this cute, clean romance delivers quite a few smiles and possibly even a happy sigh.

BUT GUYS AND GIRLS CAN BE JUST FRIENDS. SERIOUSLY, PEOPLE.

Recommend to: Romance fans

To buy or not to buy: This fun contemporary romance will fit right in on any YA shelf.

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