Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:
Synopsis for Just Friends (from Goodreads):
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.
SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Author: Monica Murphy (aka Karen Erickson)
# of Books: 3 (Just Friends, More than Friends, Forever)
There is a prequel novella called One Night.
Book Order: Chronological
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: September 2016 – April 2017
Source & Format: YA Bound Book Tours–eARC
**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
I don’t like YA contemporary stories and I don’t like love triangles. So why on earth did I decide to read this one?
The simple answer: Monica Murphy.
She wrote one of the first (and one of my all time favourite) New Adult romance series, One Week Girlfriend. I adore that series. From the amazing characters to the fantastic plot twists, she knows how to write an addicting romance story. And her adult romance work as Karen Erickson is just as great.
So if anyone could sell me on a YA love triangle story, it’s her.
What I Liked:
–The Side Characters–
I love intricate stories and trying to figure out how everyone is linked together is what stole my attention here. I’m one of those readers who often gets caught up in the stories of the side characters and this story is no different.
When we met Amanda, I was immediately drawn into her story. Even Em’s character intrigued me with the little hints we get to see of her life. There are a lot of stories to uncover and I can’t wait to do that more.
–All the Drama–
While this novel mostly focused on Olivia’s romantic and friendship drama, we do get some other dramatics further on in the story. And I liked that a lot because it kept me interested. Most of it comes from the other characters we meet, but there are also some other developments in terms of Olivia’s life as well. It makes me eager to see what happens next.
What I Didn’t Like:
–The Objects of Affection–
You know that expression, “lesser of two evils”–that describes this love triangle to a T. I honestly don’t like either of Olivia’s prospects and that was apparent to me early on in the story. Which made it hard to watch Olivia fawn over these two at times because they were not catches at all.
However, I did start to lean more towards a certain someone as more secrets are revealed so I’m curious to see how it all ends.
–The Abrupt Ending–
I thought this story was going to focus on Olivia and the resolution of her love triangle–yeah, so not the case!
Which is totally fine, it just was unexpected and I wished I had prepared myself to be left on a bit of a cliffhanger.
Note on Olivia:
I was really worried that I was going to hate Olivia as a character but I was surprised that that wasn’t the case necessarily. While she won’t be getting any praise from me by being the best heroine ever, she grew on me a little as the story progressed.
But I know that lots of readers will probably not like her character. If you are like me and don’t enjoy angsty lead heroines who change their minds on a dime, you probably won’t empathize with Olivia at the start. She fits the mold perfectly of a teenage girl who finds herself thriving on attention but doesn’t know how to handle it.
However, I did find myself sympathizing with her once the secrets were initially revealed because I understood her hurt. And while I may not agree with how she handled herself after all the shit hits the fan, I didn’t mind her as much as I worried I would.
The Novella–One Night:
I read this after I finished Just Friends–mostly because I didn’t know it existed until I was halfway through.
I’m glad I did because I feel like it gives away some tiny spoilers about some side characters. I much preferred uncovering their secrets in Just Friends because it gave me something to focus on other than the love triangle.
In the same breath, I think I wouldn’t have liked Olivia as much if I read this first. I think I would have created a not so favourable impression of her and it would have taken me longer to warm up to her. However, I do know that it’s the opposite for other readers.
I think if you are hesitant about reading this series, reading the novella is a good taste of what to expect. And it really can be read before or after because it just gives you a better understanding of the characters you are going to meet.
My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:
It looks like we will be getting some more character POVs in the sequel…or at least I sure hope so! All the foundations have been laid down for a great sequel filled with some awesome plot twists and drama.
–December 22, 2016– Book #2: More Than Friends
**I was not provided a copy for this novel**
I’ve been dying to read the story of these two since I picked up Just Friends…and it was everything I wanted!
I’m a sucker for the story where the popular boy falls for the “nobody” girl and this is no exception!
Amanda is a character you can really root for (Olivia in Just Friends was hit or miss). She’s aware of everything going on around her and seems to know when her friends (Olivia) are acting like idiots. But she is also self-conscious and that humanizes her as well. Sure, she makes some mistakes but you gotta remember she’s just growing up.
And Jordan…swoon! He just stole my heart. It’s obvious to anyone how much he cares and respects Amanda. He says all the right things and acts the way you want a totally smitten boy to.
Can’t wait to see how their story will wrap up!
–March 18, 2017– Book #3: Forever
**I was provided a copy of this novel for an honest review**
This was easily one of my most anticipated sequels this year and I adored every moment of it!
These two are just the cutest; Tuttle especially. His crush/love just warms my heart. It’s been a long time since I’ve fallen in love with a male hero in a story. Swoon!
I was really torn on what rating to give this book. While I loved this story and the characters, I was a little let down in the plot.
The whole reason we get this book is because these two have some unresolved issues that they need to work out. I went into this book excited to learn more about Tuttle’s character and see how he would open up to let Amanda in. Unfortunately, this aspect fell flat for me here in this book. We don’t get to uncover more about Tuttle than we already know and this story just goes through the motions of everyday life. Which is fine because I love anything with these two together but I just wanted that touch of depth to take that story to the next level. These two develop as characters in other ways but I wanted to see Tuttle grow that little bit more.
But fans will be more than satisfied with this installment! It has all the drama and teenage angst a fan could want!
My Rating: 3.5/5
Just Friends 3.5/5 | More than Friends 5/5 | Forever 4/5
Normally, I avoid stories like this like the plague but I actually enjoyed this one! Every once and a while, a good angsty YA read is needed and this one meets that criteria without a doubt.
Read if You Like: teen angst, love triangles, YA contemporary
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance