ARC Review | Just Friends (Friends #1) by Monica Murphy

ARC Review | Just Friends (Friends #1) by Monica MurphyJust Friends by Monica Murphy
Series: Friends #1
Published by Everafter Romance on September 13th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 330
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon US

With friends like these...

It's the end of summer. Just before I start senior year with my two best friends in the whole world. Dustin and Emily are everything to me. We've been inseparable since middle school, and when we're together, nothing can go wrong.

But things aren't always what they seem. Em's turned into a drunken mess who parties too much. Dustin and I have hooked up a few times--and now he's ready to take our relationship to the next level. Yet I'm not sure I want things to change. I'm scared if I take it any further with Dustin, our friendship will be ruined forever. Then there's Ryan. The new guy. He's hot. He flirts way too much. And Em has totally set her sights on him.

So when my best friend betrays me in the worst possible way, guess who's there to help me pick up the pieces of my broken heart? Ryan. But he's so confusing. Annoying. Sweet. Sexy. I want to trust him, yet he makes it so hard. What I really want is for everything to go back to the way it was before.

Before I found out that best friends make the worst kind of enemies.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 18 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mature Content

“We’re all messing around with each other. And it’s a freaking disaster waiting to happen.”

Starting off this review by saying that despite the YA genre classification, this book is not for the younger audience. Lots of cheating, drugs, sex, and promiscuity in general. The characters reminded me of Gossip Girl and 90210, the people unlikable yet intriguing and their story hard to put down.

Summer’s almost over and Olivia is back from a two-month exile at her father’s place in Oregon. If things were boring and uneventful in Oregon, it’s the exact opposite now that she’s home. Em, one of her best friends, is suddenly hanging out with the popular group and is drinking and getting high more than usual. Dustin is still obviously into her, and after a few hook ups, he wants to take their friendship to the next level. Then there’s Ryan, the new guy.

Dustin is the safe bet. Being with him is comfortable. But Ryan is something else entirely. Olivia doesn’t know who to choose. That is until she finds out Em and Dustin have been hooking up when she was away. Their friendship crumbles, and everything else goes to shit.

Ryan is a conundrum. When he first showed up in the book, he’s this cocky guy who blatantly flirts with Liv despite the fact that he’s hooking up with Em. He’s obviously attracted to Liv, but no one really knows if he’s in it for the chase or if he’s genuinely interested in Liv. By the end of the first book, I still can’t fully paint his personality.

I don’t know what to think of Em. I know she needs help, and I don’t know if I should feel bad for her, but she’s done a lot of fucked up things. I wanted to smack her.

I don’t like Liv, but I can’t get enough of her. I wanted to drag her away from all the bad decisions she’s making, give her a talking to, and I don’t know, I don’t know! Her friends and everyone else tell her that something is bad, but she doesn’t believe them and pretty much makes decision using her vagina. Seriously. This girl is a perpetually horny child. She knows how fucked up it is to get it on with either Ryan or Dustin, but she still makes out with both of them.

I wanted to spritz most of the characters with cold water like people sometimes do when their dogs misbehave. Stop. Sit down and cool the fuck off. I try to refrain from swearing in my reviews for my younger audience, but damn it, these kids are all hot messes.

Amanda is probably the most decent of the bunch. She’s Liv’s new friend after the Liv-Dustin-Em fallout. She’s the one who tries to steer Liv clear of the questionable things Liv wants to do, although she’s not successful all the time. I’m happy the next book will be written in Amanda’s POV. I really want to know more about her and Tuttle.

Despite my dislike for some of the characters’ and their actions, I want to commend Monica Murphy for writing such real flawed teenagers. I’m more of an Amanda than a Liv and an Em, but I did know people like them. I’d like to say the drama was farfetched, but then I’d be lying.

Over all, reading Just Friends is like watching a car crash in the middle of a highway. You know it’s going to be a mess, but you just can’t look away.

The cliffhanger made me scream, and I’m itching to get my hands on the sequel! I want to know what happens next!!!

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