Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: April 14, 2015
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "Lima and Hailey have always been best friends: Lima shy and sensitive, Hailey funny and free-spirited. But Hailey abandons Lima to party with the popular kids and pursue Nate, her disinterested crush. As their friendship falters, Lima and Nate begin spending more time together. And before Lima knows what she’s feeling, she and Nate do something irreversible. Something that would hurt Hailey....if she knew it happened. Lima thinks she’s saving her friendship by lying, but she’s only buying time. As the secrets stack up, Lima is forced to make a choice: between her best friend forever, and the boy who wasn’t meant to be hers."Sophomores Hailey and Lima have always been best friends. Hailey is a big larger than life and Lima has always been in her shadow. But as they get older, things get more complicated. Hailey is obsessed with one of their schoolmates, Nate, and Hailey has started gravitating towards the popular group. So in turn, Lima has started hanging out with an older crowd that her parents don't necessarily approve of and guess who shows up? Nate. Well, they hit it off, but there's one problem: Hailey. How can she tell her the truth about Nate? Lima is afraid it would break her heart as well as their friendship. Juliana Romano's debut, First There Was Forever, is accurate portrayal of the ups and downs of a long-time friendship and ultimately, a coming of age story.
We have all seen this before.....two best friends where one outshines the other and their relationship is almost a bit unhealthy. As both girls start to branch out more, changes start coming. I felt like Hailey was kind of horrible. She wanted Lima when it was convenient for her, which happens a lot in high school and of course, Lima made herself available. Other times, Hailey would treat Lima horribly. It's not like Lima was perfect either. I wanted her to be honest with Hailey about Nate, but she kept putting it off, which we all know only makes things more complicated.
Despite my issues with the girls, First There Was Forever seemed to fly by. The chapters are very short, which in turn makes it a quick read, but at the same time, I sort of wanted to dive deeper into Lima and find out who she truly was and that's hard when the chapters are so choppy.
The setting of California was my favorite aspect of First There Was Forever. I liked the references to Malibu, the Pacific Coast Highway and Beverly Hills. These kids aren't your average middle class family; they obviously are wealthy and sometimes this book felt like a mash-up of the TV shows Laguna Beach and The OC.
If you like coming-of-age stories that focus on female friendships, then you should check out this debut. It wasn't my favorite book of the year by any means, but I found it entertaining despite its flaws.