Monday, February 14, 2011

Book Review: The Darlings Are Forever by Melissa Kantor

Pages: 336
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: January 4, 2011
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Jane, Victoria, and Natalya. Together, they are the Darlings. Best friends forever. They have matching necklaces, their own table at Ga Ga Noodle, and even a shared motto: May you always do what you’re afraid of doing. When the friends begin freshman year at three different high schools in distant corners of New York City, they promise to live by their motto and stay as close as ever. The Darlings know they can get through anything as long as they have each other. But doing scary new things is a lot easier with your friends beside you. And now that the girls aren’t spending all their time together, everything they took for granted about their friendship starts to feel less certain. They can’t help but wonder, will they really be the Darlings forever?"

Three best friends, Jane, Victoria, and Natalya, all are starting high school, but will be attending three different schools in New York City.  Jane is attending a school to pursue acting, Victoria is attending a private school, but feels like she can never live up to her sister's greatness, and finally, Natalya is attending a prestigious school, but it's filled with wealthy girls and Natalya definitely isn't wealthy as she is there on scholarship.  All three girls are nervous to branch out and start new chapters in their lives, but they know that they have each other; after all, they are the Darlings.  Melissa Kantor's The Darlings Are Forever is a start to a new contemporary series that promises a lot of fun for three best friends in New York City.

I think most teenage girls can find a little bit of themselves in at least one of these characters.  It was interesting to follow each girl and although they encounter many different problems that inevitably occur in high school, it was nice to see such strong friendships through it all. I probably haven't encountered this since reading The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, which I adored.  Jane is truly a drama queen and is gutsy, which I liked.  Victoria comes from an ambitious family; her father is in politics, her mother is successful and her sister attends Princeton.  Victoria often feels "not as important" in her family as she would rather bake something than watch CNN and discuss politics.  Natalya is a sweet girl that is trying to adjust to attending school with a bunch of rich "mean" girls.  She is super-smart and has a love connection with a "nerd," who was such a cutie and I was a big fan of him! All three girls are very different, but Kantor does a great job of making them relatable.

I like the message for girls in this book.  The main theme of the novel and the motto the girls refer to is "may you always do what you are afraid of doing." I think this is a good message for girls at the middle school and high school level. Oftentimes fear holds many girls back, but all three girls really branched out and grew. They supported each other and didn't hold each other back, like many friends at this age do; in fact, they challenged each other to "go for it" and I thought it was powerful.

I will definitely be putting this one in my classroom library and I haven't been able to say that lately. I think my middle school girls will really enjoy this book and will be able to relate quite easily to all three characters.  Granted some parts of this story were slow and predictable, but overall, it was an entertaining read.  I look forward to seeing what else Kantor has up her sleeve for these three lovely young ladies in the sequel, The Darlings in Love.  

*Thanks to Deborah at Disney Publishing for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!


  1. This sounds like a fun read about friendships and coming-of-age. I've read quite a few positive reviews. I'll check it out! :)

  2. Love it when a book speaks to readers as a whole. It makes the story more "personal" when you can relate to them, and finding yourself in one of the characters is a great way to achieve that connection. Sounds like a great read for girls of any ages as that message never really gets old. Thanks for sharing the great review....and happy reading!

  3. Fantastic review Christina, this sounds like a great book. I like that the girls aren't petty and shallow like so many YA girls are, it seems like they all have solid friendships:)

  4. This sounds rather adorable. I don't tend to like the writing style of Ann Brashares so I'm not so enthused by your Travelling Pants reference but otherwise I think it sounds brill!

  5. Awesome review and what a really really cool message.

    I need to remember that for me.

  6. Thanks for visiting my review, girls! I appreciate it. I hope you can get your hands on a copy of this one; it is definitely a feel-good read!


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