January 16, 2018

Just Friends by Dyan Sheldon

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
I love a good, cute contemporary, which is why Just Friends by Dyan Sheldon caught my attention. Sheldon is the author of Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, which turned into the widely-popular Lindsay Lohan movie, and since I really enjoyed that book I couldn't wait to give this one a try. Just Friends follows Josh Shine, an underdog known for things like attempting to blow up the science lab, as he falls for new girl Jena Capistrano. 

Unfortunately, Jena immediately joins the popular crowd, those that don't give Josh and his friends a second glance. But when Josh ends up in a tree in Jena's front yard, a friendship blossoms that gives Josh hope for something more. Every time he builds up the courage to tell Jena how he feels, something happens to dissuade him, and eventually he thinks he missed his shot when Jena falls head over heels for another guy.

While this was a cute read, I definitely had a few issues with it, but these may be things that I'm only identifying because I'm an adult and this book is geared more towards a younger audience. First, I don't think it teaches the right lessons to those embarking on a first romance. Josh consistently blows off his friends at the drop of a hat when Jena comes calling, which while may be understandable with young infatuation is not the way to develop a healthy relationship. She was using him as a backup, or a stand in, and playing with his emotions in the process. In addition, Jena keeps going back to a boyfriend who is controlling and has anger issues. Even if she didn't fall for Josh, I think it would have been better to see an empowered female character who realized she was being mistreated and left the situation rather than one who just kept running back time after time.

If you're into contemporary reads, looking for something short and fun, and don't overanalyze things as much as I do, then this would be a great read for you! 

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

A big thanks to Candlewick Press for sending me a copy for review! While this was originally released a few years ago, it is being re-released in hardback on February 13th!

9 comments:

Nicole Ojakian said...

Sounded like it could have been a cute read, don’t you hate when you want to change parts of the story! 😬

ashten said...

I loved this review. This story seems like it could be a fast and easy read. I will be adding this to for my February reading.

Bewitched Reader Book Blog said...

I added this book to my TBR last week, because I was curious about it. I didn't realize the author is the same author of Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. I definitely overvwatched that movie when it came out. Now I definitely have to give this book a chance, haha!

DJ Sakata said...

I understand the frustration when characters' poor choices disappoint

Whispering Stories said...

I remember those teenage years (many years ago) when friends would do the same think - drop everything and everyone for their boy/girlfriend. I didn't like it then and I tell my kids they are not to do it now.

Agree it sounds like it might be interesting for a YA reader.

Jennifer Garey said...

Although it's frustrating to read as an adult, it does happen. I lost a lot of friends to guys when they started dating. But I guess that's why some books are strictly for YA readers. Great review!

Terri said...

I really this "First, I don't think it teaches the right lessons to those embarking on a first romance" has more to do with what the YA audience wants. I don't think they want books that teach lessons.

Book Ink Reviews said...

It sounds like a cute contemporary for a new adult. But since the focus is on young love, I agree that it isn't the healthiest lessons YA could be taught.

Megan @ Ginger Mom and the Kindle Quest said...

I can see how those would be some issues with this one. But it does still sound like a cute read. Great review :)