Book Review: Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

bestfriendsforeverTitle: Best Friends Forever
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Genre: Women’s fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from Shelf Awareness
First line: Dan Swansea came awake in the darkness, not knowing for a minute who he was or where.

Best Friends Forever is the first of Jennifer Weiner’s books I’ve read – and I can’t believe how much I was missing! I guess I have a preconceived notion about books that are categorized as “chick lit” – I expect them to have no substance. This book had substance, along with great humor and wonderful characters.

Addie Downs has lived in Pleasant Ridge, a suburb of Chicago, most of her life. When she was a girl, Valerie Adler moved in across the street, and the two became best friends. High school changed things, though: Valerie became a cheerleader; Addie gained weight. When a horrifying event takes place that tears the two girls apart, their friendship is broken, it seems, irrevocably.

Fifteen years later, Addie is still living in Pleasant Ridge, in the house she grew up in, which she inherited from her parents. She’s now thin and has a career she loves – but she’s still alone. When Valerie shows up on her doorstep the night of their 15th high school reunion, Addie doesn’t know what to think – especially when Valerie confesses that she thinks she may have killed the man who destroyed their friendship all those years ago.

I loved Addie. I could completely relate to her issues with food and self-esteem. She’s loyal – and her loyalty was what caused her senior year to become a complete nightmare. My heart ached for the bullying and persecution she was subjected to – and I had a hard time liking the character of Valerie very much at first, because of her part in the whole thing.

As the chapters alternate between the present time – and Valerie’s wild plan to fix whatever she might have done to Dan Swansea – and their growing-up years, I came to a better understanding of why Valerie became who she was, and why she needs Addie.

Even though this novel deals with some pretty heavy issues, it is filled with humor. I love books that can have me laughing out loud one minute and my eyes welling up the next. This is that kind of book. I don’t know if Ms. Weiner’s other novels are like that, but I plan to find out.

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18 Responses to Book Review: Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

  1. Missy says:

    Great review! I have been waiting to read this…its on my wish list but I think I need to just go ahead and buy it…it sounds too good. I haven’t read anything else by her, either.

  2. Kathy says:

    I’d like to give this one a try even though Jennifer Weiner’s books are hit or miss for me.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Books Bought =-.

  3. Amy Steele says:

    Nice review. I’m looking forward to reading this one. I’ve read all Jennifer Weiner’s books– I think this one is ready for me to p/u at the library. Good in Bed and In Her Shoes are really good ones . . .
    .-= Amy Steele´s last blog ..Sunshine Cleaning: DVD Review =-.

  4. Melody says:

    I’ve read several good reviews about this book. Guess I’ve to add it to my wishlist!!
    .-= Melody´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Melody – is yours as long as mine is? Mine goes on for pages and pages….

  5. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    It is totally a misconception that all books that look chick-lit-ish are vacuous novels about clothes and men. I would imagine many book have been passed over (I am guilty!) because their cover exudes female hormones. I should learn my lesson. This books sounds great. I’ve not read anything from this author I don’t think, but am willing to give it a try!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..The Castle in the Attic – Elizabeth Winthrop (audio) =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – I agree – I think I’ve probably missed out on some great reads because of that misconception.

  6. stacybuckeye says:

    I still haven’t read her, but I know I have at least one of her books around here somewhere, I guess I need to find one!
    .-= stacybuckeye´s last blog ..A Useful Affair, by Stella Cameron =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Stacy – I know the feeling of “I have that book around here somewhere….” 🙂

  7. S. Krishna
    Twitter: skrishna
    says:

    I enjoyed this one as well, though I didn’t really like Valerie. Nice review!
    .-= S. Krishna´s last blog ..Sunday Salon =-.

  8. Sheila says:

    I used to look down my nose at jennifer Weiner books. That was, until I read one! 🙂 I loved Goodnight Nobody and then read and loved her collection of short stories – The Buy Not Taken.

  9. Sheila says:

    I mean, the GUY not taken!
    .-= Sheila´s last blog ..First day of school! =-.

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