Just Friends by Monica Murphy
Release Date: September 13th, 2016
Genre: New Adult Romance
4 DRAMATIC CROWNS
After reading several of Monica Murphy’s books, I have come to love her writing. Her books are always filled with complex and flawed characters, generally searching for acceptance from themselves or others. And, although Just Friends is a YA novel, it, too, follows Olivia as she tries to make sense of who she and what she wants, as the relationships around her grow and change.
The characters in this book will make you want to strangle them, but this is mainly because you are an adult reading the book. Teenagers get caught up in the drama and angst of high school, where almost everything is the end of the world. They are prone to overreact and let emotions overtake sound judgment. These characters are exactly like that, and so Monica Murphy does an excellent job representing the people she has chosen for her YA book. While the author does provide the reader with an accurate representation of the characters, I found that I wasn’t drawn to any of the characters. I didn’t find myself loving someone, rooting for someone, or hating anyone. I am intrigued by them and the decisions they make, but I never fully became emotionally attached to one. This may completely be because the story isn’t over. It ended in a place that left me unsatisfied with the behavior and actions of the characters. The second book still leaves me time to become more invested in the characters, especially if there is more growth in the next book.
The plot of this story is DRAMA to the absolute extreme. There is backstabbing, lying, betrayal, lust, infatuation, and possibly love. It truly reads like one big soap opera, and, although this may not be what some readers like, the story line is what kept me engaged the whole way through the story. I wanted to know how the story was going to play out, who would end up with whom and so forth. The end of this story left me feeling conflicted. Olivia’s behavior at the end, while understanding that she is upset, still left me feeling disappointed. There are also so many questions that still need to be answered about Tuttle, Em, Fitch, Ryan, Amanda, and even Dustin. There seemed to be so much in this novel that Monica Murphy alluded to throughout the story, so I can’t wait to read the next installment to see how these stories will be fleshed out by her.
One final aspect of the novel that is done considerably well is the representation of high school students. Monica Murphy did an excellent job of showing the indecisiveness and uncertainty of teenagers in regards to their future. She shows how teens are resistant to change even though they want to change. She accurately depicts that partying that occurs in high school and the pressure to fit in by drinking or partaking in other sorts of activities. Of course, there is the discussion of sex and hooking-up. Overall, this aspect of the novel is done well, and it comes across to the reader as being truly authentic.
Monica Murphy has become one of my go-to writers. Her characters captivate me, the stories engage me, and her writing style is fantastic. I am truly excited to see how the story of this group of friends is going to play out with the next book.
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.
It’s the end of summer. Just before I start senior year with my two best friends in the whole world. Dustin and Emily are everything to me. We’ve been inseparable since middle school, and when we’re together, nothing can go wrong.
But things aren’t always what they seem. Em’s turned into a drunken mess who parties too much. Dustin and I have hooked up a few times―and now he’s ready to take our relationship to the next level. Yet I’m not sure I want things to change. I’m scared if I take it any further with Dustin, our friendship will be ruined forever. Then there’s Ryan. The new guy. He’s hot. He flirts way too much. And Em has totally set her sights on him.
So when my best friend betrays me in the worst possible way, guess who’s there to help me pick up the pieces of my broken heart? Ryan. But he’s so confusing. Annoying. Sweet. Sexy. I want to trust him, yet he makes it so hard. What I really want is for everything to go back to the way it was before.
Before I found out that best friends make the worst kind of enemies.
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About the Author:
Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and Harper Collins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance.
She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she’s not writing, she’s reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She’s a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.
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