I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Swoon Reads on August 1, 2017
Genres: Romance, YA
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Jenny meets Chance for the very first time when she is assigned as his partner in their Junior Oral Communications class. But after they rescue a doomed assignment with one clever lie, the whole school is suddenly convinced that Little-Miss-Really-Likes-Having-A’s and the most scandalous heartbreaker in school have been best friends forever. It’s amazing how quickly a lie can grow―especially when you really, really want it to be the truth.
With Jenny, Chance can live the normal life he’s always kind of wanted. And with Chance, Jenny can have the exciting teen experiences that TV shows and movies have always promised. Through it all, they hold on to the fact that they are “just friends.” But that might be the biggest lie of all.
I spotted this novel several months ago and I knew I needed to read it! Being a fan of romance novels, a good YA romance is definitely my jam. Plus with such a great cover I know this will be a popular one with my students come Fall. Here are some of my thoughts on Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock.
What I Liked
It starts with a lie, which is one of the more interesting ways to structure a teen romance. Jenny and Chance do not know each other going in. Chance has a bit of a reputation as a player in his High School but deals with issues privately that do not mesh with his “hot boy” persona. Jenny is like more or less like a lot of the generic YA heroines. A quiet, unassuming nerd type she didn’t have much of a personality at the start but slowly warms up as her relationship with Chance develops.
What I Didn’t Like
The POV of this novel did bug me quite a bit. It was a lot of telling, not showing and while you did get internal dialogue it was framed in the context of an outside narrator. In my opinion, creating individual perspectives, possibly using the alternating chapters between the characters, would have made the narrative and the development of these characters stronger overall.
The various dramas between Chance, Jenny and their friends wasn’t quite believable at times. Much of the conflict between the two main characters stems from assumptions and lack of self-esteem which is understandble but I found Jenny’s relationship with Drake incredibly forced at times and his reactions to her odd at points. I would have liked to see a little more development from their plot point other than straight jealousy and petty dysfunction.
The narrative could have been shortened significantly. I found that what was keeping these two apart was muddled in translation and could have been resolved much faster. Maybe this could have been helped by further developing plot points and characters, especially between their friend group. This novel certainly provided a nice framework but need more fleshing out to work at its current page count. Regardless though, with a romance like this teens will most likely eat this up.
While I have a lot of problems with this book, my issues were minor overall and I would still recommend to anyone in need of a cute, YA romance with a little dose of teenage drama. Like I said, teens will more than likely gobble this one up. I will definitely be purchasing a copy of my library and recommending to the teens I work with for sure!
If you would like more information about Tiffany, Just Friends or its publisher, Swoon Reads please follow the links below:
Tiffany Pitcock’s Social Media Links
Swoon Reads Website