Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: Just Friends by Dyan Sheldon

Book: Just Friends
Author: Dyan Sheldon
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: Feb 13, 2018
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 288
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | 
Book Depository | Goodreads |


Can chasing the wrong girl lead down the right path? Witty as ever, best-selling author Dyan Sheldon maps the agonizing distance between "like" and "love."

Josh has never really thought twice about girls before. He's usually too busy watching old movies with his friends Sal and Carver, petitioning for more vegetarian options in the school cafeteria, or flailing in yoga class with his best friend Ramona. But when new girl Jena Capistrano walks into school, Josh loses his heart faster than he's ever lost his balance on a double downward dog. Not that he has any real aspirations, of course: he knows Jena is completely out of his league. And then, against all odds -- they become friends. The closer they get, the more infatuated Josh becomes, and the more he wonders if just maybeJena might like him back. There's only one way to find out. But it's not exactly easy to put your heart on the line.


DYAN SHELDON is the author of many novels, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, which was made into a major motion picture. Her other books include The Crazy Things Girls Do For Love, One or Two Things I Learned About Love, and The Truth About My Success. Dyan Sheldon was born in Brooklyn, New York, and now lives in North London.


Just Friends is a realistic, coming-of-age story with a friend-zoned, hopeful romance driven plot. I liked the story, but it was a bit predictable. The book exudes major patience on the part of Josh, who has a crush on the new girl Jena, the typical gorgeous and popular high school student. He quickly becomes Jena's friend, which makes him happy to spend time with her, but does Jena see Josh as more than a friend? Or is Josh just a friend of convenience, rushing to Jena's aid whenever she needs him. This is what Josh has to figure out throughout the novel. He has to try to read her closely to figure this out, but at the same time, liking and dating girls is all very new to him, so he is unsure of how to do this. This all becomes a work in progress and a gradual learning process for him.

Josh also has to decide if he can eventually develop enough courage to finally let Jena know how he feels, but timing is key. Of course, there are some plot complications throw his way in this story, and figuring out how to navigate them all is what makes the story interesting. If Josh waits too long he might lose his chance, but if he does go for it, will he be rejected by Jena? Fear of rejection is definitely prominent in this book, but will Josh and the other characters muster enough courage to go after what they want and will they succeed? You'll have to read the book to find out. 

The experiences of the characters will definitely shape them and they will grow from them. They will learn some dating lessons along the way in the complicated teeter totter world of high school relationships and discover that there is a fine line between being friends and being more than friends. 

The strong friendships between Josh and his close friends Ramona, Sal, and Carver are also highlighted in the book. You get to see the true meaning of friendship and being there for one another, especially in times of much needed support. And you get to see the effects of those close bonds and the complications it brings when hormones start raging and crushes start developing.

The best part of the novel for me was the humor! Yes Josh is a likeable, charming guy, but what I liked most about him was that he was so funny! I can't begin to remember how many times I laughed out loud and smiled. So the book was definitely entertaining!

Even though the story was predictable, I did enjoy reading the book. I thought it was good, but the story reached its plateau early on and mainly stayed there for the majority of the story, with not a lot of plot movement. The ending was handled well and very realistic. I identified with some of the characters and I also felt empathy towards some of them at times. 


1 comment:

  1. Glad that there was a funny main character to make a predictable book more interesting!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.