Review: Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

02 Aug

Best Friends Forever: A Novel My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

When I started this book, I loved it. Unfortunately, that didn’t carry through to the end. I didn’t dislike it, but the characters’ actions confused me.

From the Simon & Schuster website:

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.”

I loved the childhood sections, seeing these two very different girls with very different lives, who became such close friends. I liked how each of them was quirky in a different way, and that brought them even closer together.

Even when the book was dealing with the pain of their high school years, the book rang true to me. I liked how this storyline unfolded, and pieces were filled in for us about what really happened.

At the beginning of the book, I liked Addie’s story. I found her Internet dating story hilarious. Seeing her relationship with her brother, hearing about her parents, learning about her business– all of these built her up into a character I found interesting and wanted to know more about.

Then adult Valerie appeared on the scene. I could understand her desire for revenge, but that’s about all. Perhaps I’m taking this book too seriously, but I don’t understand how she thought she’d get away with any of her actions. I really don’t understand how she’d have the nerve to turn to Addie. I really, really don’t understand why Addie was willing to go along with Valerie.

Valerie didn’t seem to be taking responsibility for her actions, in the present or in the past. She made one disastrous decision after another. She seemed to be living a normal, responsible life, but that didn’t show in her actions. Addie had taken control of her life, but was relinquishing that for this weekend, going along with Valerie since Valerie had once been her friend.

The love interest in the didn’t quite work for me, although it was a near miss. I did like the character, and enjoyed the rest of his role in the story.

The end of the book came together for me somewhat. I quite liked the beginning. I found the middle interesting, even as I didn’t understand the characters’ behavior. But maybe that’s more about me than the book.

This book was sent to me for review. Thank you Atria Books


Posted by on August 2, 2009 in books, reviews, Uncategorized


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3 responses to “Review: Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

  1. Literary Feline

    August 2, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    I keep meaning to read something by Jennifer Weiner. She doesn’t write the kinds of books I typically read, but I’ve heard such great things about her books that I can’t help but want to give them a try. I am sorry this one didn’t live up to the beginning. At least you did get something out of it and enjoyed it, even if you didn’t love it. Thanks for the great review!

  2. Sue

    August 3, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Interesting review. I haven’t read this one, but I read In Her Shoes. I know Jennifer Weiner is a very popular writer, but I just didn’t love the book. I never really connected with the characters. Oddly enough, I loved the movie version!

    I keep wondering if I should try another of her books – thanks for the review!


  3. Belle

    August 3, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Great review. I always love your honesty, and the way you say what you liked and didn’t like. This one is supposed to be in the mail headed my way.


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