Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My Best Friend, Maybe Review

My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 320
Keywords: summer, vacation, friendship, weddings
Format Read: eARC via NetGalley (thank you!)
Goodreads | IndieBound
Colette has been bored and lonely ever since her best friend, Sadie, dumped her the summer before they stared high school. She tries to be perfect for everyone left in her life: her parents, her younger brothers, her church youth group, even her boyfriend, Mark. But Colette is restless. And she misses Sadie.
When Sadie tells Colette that she needs her old friend to join her on a family vacation to the Greek Islands, one that leaves in only a few days, Colette is shocked to hear their old magic word: need. And she finds herself agreeing.
Colette tries to relax and enjoy her Grecian surroundings but it’s not easy to go on vacation with the person who hurt you most in the world. When the reason for the trip finally surfaces, Colette finds out this is not only a fun vacation. Sadie has kept an enormous secret from Colette for years...forever. It’s a summer full of surprises, but that might be what Colette needs.
   THE COVER
I feel kind of neutral about this cover. I don't totally love the typeface used, but I think the image is really great for the book.

   WHY I LIKED IT
The stand-out quality of this book is its relationships. The characters are insanely complicated and complex, and that's what I loved. Everything about the dynamics between characters was realistic and layered. Nothing was black and white between the two friends, especially. They had a falling out earlier in their lives, but Colette still felt tied to her former best friend. So when she asks for help, Colette is compelled to travel with her, even though they had issues in the past.
The book is full of second-guessing and confusion, and it rang true to how friendships work in real life. They are complicated and confusing, especially in high school when you are figuring out who you are and what you want.
I also liked Colette's background — she was from an extremely religious family that dictated her every move, and it was strange and disconcerting to read about that kind of lifestyle. That's not something I grew up knowing, and I feel fortunate my parents are so loving and kind to all. But there are so many people in different environments raised to have opinions, and the characters worked hard to change that mindset. It was difficult to read, but important since it resonates with a lot of people right now and things they might be learning from home.

   THE SHOCK VALUE
I have to say, I pretty much knew where this story was going from the beginning. That didn't make me like it any less, but the big reveal that was supposed to happen didn't shock me because I knew what was going on.

   RESERVATIONS?
I think the only thing that truly bothered me was the beginning of this story and how unreal Colette's relationship with Mark seemed. They didn't really talk to each other, they didn't communicate, and both of them seemed unhappy. Yet, she seemed devastated when events happened and the story moved along. It didn't seem like a relationship that would cause turmoil because there didn't seem to be feelings in the first place.

   FINAL THOUGHTS
This was a solid book about the complicated nature of relationships — romantic, friendships, and family. All are featured prominently in the book, and no interaction is black and white. It's all in the middle, and the characters seem more realistic because of that.

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