Thursday, August 6, 2015

Book Review: First There Was Forever by Juliana Romano

Pages: 400
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. 



8 comments:

  1. This is definitely a familiar plot in YA fiction! I don't think I'd like the characters enough to read it although I do like the setting. I think teens might be able to relate to the way friendships can change as people grow older. That is a painful lesson to learn sometimes and hopefully Lima broke away from Hailey who doesn't sound like a good friend to have anyway.

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    1. Yeah, the plot was a little derivative, but I think, like you said, many teenagers can relate to this story. I really enjoyed the setting of Malibu. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

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  2. YES! I was definitely thinking about The O.C. while I read your description, Christina! I never wanted that show to end - ha! This sounds like an easy, quick read; always nice to have some of those titles around.

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    1. Haha. I know, right?! I loved that show and this definitely reminded me of it. It was a fun read for the summertime. Thanks for visiting, Tara!

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  3. I have this one in my library stack. I'm still looking forward to it.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it, Linda! Let me know your thoughts. Thanks for visiting!

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  4. I kind of hated this book...I didn't even bother reviewing it because I didn't have a whole lot to say. I hated the friendship and it wasn't original. The romance wasn't even kind of swoon-y. The one thing it did have going for it, like you mentioned, was how quickly it read. If the chapters and story weren't so quickly paced, there is no way I would have finished it. Glad you liked it more than I did.

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    1. It definitely grew on me, butI found the short chapters to be sort of jarring...I got used to it though and was able to enjoy it overall! I'm sorry you weren't a fan, Natalie. Thanks for visiting!

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