Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Better Off FriendsBetter Off Friends
Elizabeth Eulberg
Point
Release Date: February 28, 2014
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 9780545551458
Websites:
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Elizabeth Eulberg has done it again! Better Off Friends is another great contemporary from Elizabeth Eulberg that left me grinning from ear to ear. 
It’s hard to review a book you liked so much. I’m finding it difficult to start off this review. There is so much I want to say, but I’m having issues figuring out how to say it. 
I loved the structure of the story. Macallan and Levi were recounting the story of their relationship, starting from when they first met in 7th grade. Between each chapters, present day Macallan and Levi would provide commentary on their actions in the past. The chapters alternated point of view between Macallan and Levi, and it was great getting into each of their heads to see how they interpreted the same events. I loved that because the story started in 7th grade, you got to see the full progression of Macallan and Levi’s friendship. You got to relive their relationships’ ups and downs. I loved that their friendship wasn’t perfect, because no friendship ever is. 
I loved both Macallan and Levi. They were extremely well written; they felt like real people. While they sometimes made stupid decisions, I couldn’t help but like them because they felt real. Everyone makes mistakes, especially when it comes to relationships with friends, and it was great to see them tackle the ups and downs of their friendship. Levi and Macallan made the book. Macallan was such a strong character. I loved how protective she was of her family and of those she cared about. Levi was adorable, and it was great seeing him trying to adapt to his new home. 
Their friendship is what drives the story. I loved seeing their relationship develop, from friends to something more. They both care deeply for each other, despite the rough patches their friendship hits. It reminded me a lot of friendship’s I’ve actually had. Their relationship wasn’t perfect, but they managed to work through their arguments and road blocks. I loved how we got to see the relationship transform and grow. Levi and Macallan realize at different times that they feel something more than just friends, but something is always getting in the way of them getting together. 
This book was so cute. While the romance is important, it is really a book that focuses on their friendship. It was great to see such a strong and complex friendship between a guy and girl. While the book does have romance, I would have enjoyed it just as much without it. This story would still be great regardless of how their romantic relationships ended up. It was really a story about friends, family and were your heart feels at home. I think this beautiful quote sums up what this book really is about: “But in truth, home isn’t necessarily where you sleep at night. It’s where you feel like yourself. Where you’re most comfortable. Where don’t have to pretend where you can just be you.” 
Elizabeth Eulberg is an author I know I can turn to for a great contemporary YA novel. Her books never fail to put a smile on my face and improve my mood. The Lonely Hearts Club helped improve my rejection from my number one college, and Better Off Friends had the same effect. Elizabeth Eulberg’s book always lighten my mood; her books remind me of the why YA books are so great. For the few hours of reading Better Off Friends, you can escape from your troubles and just enjoy the story of Levi and Macallan. Their story will lift your heart and leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. I would highly recommend this book, along with Elizabeth Eulberg’s other books, to everyone and anyone as they are magical and have the power to leave you grinning from ear to ear. 

Perception by Kim Harrington

Perception

Kim Harrington
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Release Date: March 1, 2012
Series or Standalone: Clarity #2
ISBN: 9780545230537
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 288
Websites:
Kim Harrington – Website
Kim Harrington – Blog 
Kim Harrington – Twitter

Rating: 4 Stars

Reading Perception reminded me of how much I enjoyed Clarity. It was so great to be thrown back into Clare’s world in Eastport, MA.

Perception picks up after the events of Clarity. Clare and the Fern family are still dealing with the aftermath of what occurred over the summer, which means an increase in popularity for Clare and trouble for her brother Perry. Before long, trouble once again rears its head in Eastport with the disappearance of a local girl followed by Clare getting messages from a secret admirer making Clare want to use her gift to try to solve these mysterious

I really liked that Kim Harrington did not just dismiss the events of the prior book, but continued to build off what happened and continue to affect the characters. Clare wants to use her gift to help find this missing girl but her near brush with death in book one makes her mother prevent her from doing that. But Clare is still curious and manages to still try and help anyways.

I loved the mystery in this book. A simple, yet believable situation had Clare and the reader working to the end to uncover the culprit. I really liked how everything tied together in the end and how all the little mysteries popping up were all connected.

The battle of the boys, Gabriel and Jason, continues in this book more. In Clarity, I wasn’t sure who I liked more out of the two boys, but Perception allowed room for more growth with both these characters and Gabriel came out as my favorite of the two (I mean he plays hockey!). While the romance isn’t the main focus of the book, it was woven in with the main action and did not feel forced. And this was not a love triangle that was annoying either. Clare is genuinely confused about her feelings for these boys and wants both in her life, but not sure whom she would prefer to be more than friends with. In the end, I felt Clare definitely made the right choice with the guy she picked.

Perception allowed a lot of room for Clare to grow as a character. So much has happened to her between these two books and she had to have changed because of the events that occurred. Clare became a stronger person, not afraid to be who she was and let people into her life instead of staying on the fringes. She’s no longer just the freak with special powers, but an actual person and she is able to see how important she is too.

Perception is the perfect quick summer read. Kim Harrington’s style is funny and sarcastic and she knows how to write a great mystery. I really enjoyed this sequel and it reminded me why I loved the first one so much. I’m so glad I finally got around to read this. I can’t wait to see what Kim Harrington writes next!

And side-note: how perfect is this cover? I love it. Makes so much sense with the book too. And this Clare is much more how I pictured her then the one on the original Clarity cover.