Thursday 22 July 2010
Review: Best Friends Forever - Jennifer Weiner
Addie Downs and Valerie Alder will be best friends forever. At least that's what nine-year-old Addie believes when Val moves into the house across the street. 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.
Fifteen years on, Val has found a measure of fame and fortune as the local weather girl. Addie, meanwhile, lives alone in her parents' house, looking after her troubled brother and trying to meet Prince Charming on the internet. She's just returned from Bad Date No. 6, when she hears a knock at her door. There, on the step, is her long-gone best friend, blood on the sleeve of her coat. 'Something terrible has happened,' Val tells Addie. 'Can you help me?'
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Addie and Val became friends when they were 9 years old and promised to be best friends forever. That was until their senior year at school when Val became part of the popular crowd and left Addie behind. Addie was bullied mercilessly by Val and her friends and has never got over it. Now Addie lives alone in her parent's old house, working from home and having no friends she looks out for her disabled brother. After returning home from yet another disastrous date fifteen years later Addie is shocked when Val turns up covered in blood and in desperate need of help.
When I first read the description of Best Friends Forever I thought it would be a fun read and having liked some of Jennifer Weiner's previous books I was looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately I was disappointed and although I thought the book was OK there were just too many things that were completely unrealistic and stopped me truly loving the story.
Although I found myself quite liking Addie I couldn't believe the trouble Val managed to get her into. If your best friend ruined your life I don't think you'd be quite so quick to welcome her back into your life with open arms and you certainly wouldn't be willing to go along with her crazy plans! Val wasn't a very likable character, yes you get to find out what a difficult life she has had but that doesn't really excuse the way she treats Addie now or how she expects to walk through life getting away with anything just with a little flirting.
The narration jumps from present to past and is told mainly by Addie but with some chapters written from the point of view of police chief Jordan and the occasional section by their childhood tormentor Dan. At first I found the constant jumping around a little confusing but I did find I got used to this eventually. I think the sections I enjoyed most were told from Addie's point of view and I particularly liked the flashbacks to their time at school. The things going on in the present were so ridiculous that I found myself wanting to skip pages just to get through them. Dan is a horrible character & very unlikeable, although I think that was the whole point but I didn't even find myself liking Jordan (the main love interest) very much and I didn't really feel the relationship between him and Addie was believable.
Overall I'd say this definitely isn't a book I'd read again but if you're a fan of Jennifer Weiner it might be worth giving it a try. If you're new to her work this probably isn't the best one to start with but I would definitely recommend her book Good In Bed.
Source: Thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending me this review copy
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