Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

Title:  Best Friends Forever
Author:  Jennifer Weiner
Release date:  July 13, 2009
Publisher:  Atria
Pages:  368
Genre:  Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Source:  Publisher

Addie and Val have been best friends since they were in elementary school.  Now, the two are in their thirties, and Addie lives alone in her parents’ old house in their hometown, while Val is the weathergirl at a Chicago TV station, and not only do they have nothing in common anymore, but they really don’t speak with one another at all.  On the night of their high school reunion, Addie is home recovering from a terrible date when Val suddenly shows up at her front door, scared out of her mind, and tells her that something awful has happened and Addie is the only one who can help.  The two then take a trip cross-country as they slowly, but surely, rekindle their long-lost friendship.

I have read and loved most of Jennifer Weiner’s books, so I obviously assumed that Best Friends Forever would be no exception.  Perhaps my hopes were a little too high for this one because at the end of the day, I thought the book was just okay.  I don’t know… I liked it, it just wasn’t what I was really expecting.  Let me explain.

First of all, there were really two main plots in the book.  There was the main story, which was Val and Addie together, getting to know each other again and becoming friends again.  Their story was told from Addie’s point of view, and it alternated between the present and flashbacks from the past, giving the reader a complete picture of their friendship over time.  And then there was the second story, about the detective that was trying to solve the mystery of what happened that night when Val came to Addie’s house and asked for help.  And the storyline with the detective, Jordan, I just plain did not like.  For me, it distracted from Addie and Val and their friendship.  That was what I really wanted to read about.  So every time the book would switch to Jordan and his search, I would just get annoyed.  I mean, I understand how that was a part of the entire novel, and important to the development of the characters, but honestly I just did not enjoy that aspect of the book whatsoever.

I also felt that Weiner could have gone deeper with these characters.  Perhaps if the whole Jordan thing wasn’t in the book, there would have been more time devoted to developing Addie and Val, I don’t know.  But many aspects of their personalities just seemed very stereotypical and it’s not like Weiner to stereotype her characters.  They are usually complex and full… Addie and Val were decent characters, I just think they could have been better.

Best Friends Forever definitely isn’t all bad.  I finished the book, didn’t I?  Weiner’s smart and sassy writing, which I have come to expect from her as an author, was in full force throughout the novel.  She’s great at dialogue, both between characters and inside the main character’s head.  I felt like I really was able to get inside Addie’s brain and get to know her through her speaking in first person to the reader.  I felt like she did a great job at showing us, slowly, how the relationship between Addie and Val developed when they were kids and then how it unraveled in their high school years.  There was a good build up of suspense for me, waiting to figure out what happened to cause their falling-out in their teens.

I also have to admit that I really liked how the book ended.  I can’t deny my love of a happy ending, and Best Friends Forever definitely delivered on that front.  It didn’t really surprise me, but then again I wasn’t looking for a surprise, so that was okay.  I was just looking for things to work out for these ladies and for the most part, I got what I wanted with the ending.  Jennifer Weiner definitely knows how to tie up loose ends, something I appreciate in a feel-good novel like this one.

So, overall, Best Friends Forever wasn’t my favorite read, but it was okay.  I’m not sure I’d fully recommend the book, but I will say that if you’re looking to try Jennifer Weiner, I’d start with Good in Bed or In Her Shoes – those two are much more representative of the awesomeness that is Jennifer Weiner. 🙂


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