Saturday, 9 March 2019

Book Review: Just Friends (Friends #1) by Monica Murphy

I don't read much straight-up romance because, as you know, I prefer my love... bitey. After the disappointment of Just Friends, I don't see me rushing to change that any time soon.

The writing is decent but the novel is dotted with minor typos & grammatical errors and the tenses get muddled in places. There's also the whole text message thing, which isn't formatted very well so can be difficult to decipher. Oh, and Just Friends is in the obligatory YA first-person.

I can ignore a lot of these faults if the story is good. It isn't. Just Friends goes around in circles so much I found myself wishing for a Dramamine. And, after all that, it stops without ever reaching a resolution. The ending is abrupt and leaves readers unsatisfied.

All these things aside, Just Friends is a seriously problematic novel. The messages it sends impressionable young people are flawed and dangerous. Here are a few things Just Friends suggests are real/okay that absolutely are not:

1. She belongs to him/he belongs to me. 
Nope. No one belongs to anyone. People are not property to be owned.

2. He's... persistent, but that's okay. I'm glad he wouldn't let me leave.
No means no! Don't teach girls to think they are supposed to like it when boys force them to do things.

3. He fingered me and I instantly got off. 
I'm sorry... what? Honey, no teenage virgin climaxes every fucking time a clumsy teenage boy touches her special place. That shit's not realistic in the slightest.

Just Friends seems to quietly condone (if not glorify) being in unhealthy and/or abusive relationships. Worse, the main character, Olivia, just doesn't learn. People treat her like shit and she just keeps coming back for more. That's not the kind of hero I'd want my daughters idolizing.

Here's the thing... a YA book that deals maturely with sex and sexual topics is NOT THE SAME as a YA book that's ONLY about sex - a lesson the author of Just Friends does not appear to have learned. The only good thing I have to say about this one is that the language does, at least, sound realistic.

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