Sunday, March 30, 2014

Better Off Friends

Title: Better Off Friends  
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg 
Publisher: Scholastic 
Publication Date: February 25th, 2014 
Genre/Format: Contemporary/Realistic Fiction/Novel 
GoodReads Summary: For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?
From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again — and one kiss away from true love? 
What I Think: I was so excited to booktalk Better Off Friends as soon as I finished it. Just last week, when I visited the classroom where I shared this book, a student came up to tell me how much she was enjoying it. She remarked that she likes how the beginning of every chapter starts off with Macallan and Levi talking back and forth. I couldn't agree more! It's super fun. It's such a unique way to let readers see the characters interjected in the story in a different way. Elizabeth does such a great job of building her characters and letting us see them come to life.
     I had a ton of fun reading this book because of so many of the midwest references. Whether readers are from the midwest or not, I think they'll love how Levi acclimates to living in the midwest and how Levi and Macallan's friendship builds. Another super sweet story from Elizabeth Eulberg.
Read Together: Grades 7 -9  
Read Alone: Grades 7 - 10 
Read With: The Lonely Hearts Club and others by Elizabeth Eulberg, Sean Griswold's Head and others by Lindsey Leavitt, What Happened to Goodbye and others by Sarah Dessen, Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, Peace Love and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle
Snatch of Text:  
     "Right before lunch on my first day, I went up to this group of guys, introduced myself, tried to be calm, cool and collected. But I'm pretty sure I stank of desperation. I was able to tell right away that Keith, this beast of a guy, was the alpha in our grade. He always had a group of three or four other guys around him, and they were all wearing some sort of Wisconsin team T-shirt. Keith had on a Badgers hoodie and jean shorts. He was close to five foot ten and he towered over everybody, including most of the teachers. He wasn't skinny and he wasn't fat; he was just big.
     He studied me as I approached him, and said, "What's your deal?" before I had a chance to introduce myself. I made some small talk and felt like I was on a job interview.
     Then I made a fatal error. I should've known better.
     I admitted to being a Chicago Bears fan." (p. 20)
Reading Strategies to Practice: Making Connections, Visualizing  
Writing Strategies to Practice: Dialogue, Characterization 
Writing Prompts: Write a scene where two characters from your story introduce the story they are in. How would they interact outside of the story? 
Topics Covered: Friendship, Love, Relationships, Family, Loyalty, Honor, Faithfulness 
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