Saturday, September 23, 2017

Book Review: Just Friends by Billy Taylor

What's "worse" than being in love with your best friend (who more than likely has no clue about it) and being spoiled with apartments and cars? Probably being stuck as being "just friends".

I was curious about how good Just Friends is due to its popularity on Twitter, but after finishing it just now, I'm only giving it 2.3 stars (★).

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Synopsis from Goodreads: August and Ethan have been bestfriends since the day they met at Ethan’s seventh birthday party. And now, twelve years on, their friendship continues to grow. But after magic, fame, money and an unexplainable miracle in a car accident, August realises maybe she wants to be more than just friends.
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So here's another one added to the never ending list of friends-to-lovers fictions. Honestly, I have no problem with this genre, because they're mostly cute (and sometimes extremely cringe-worthy) and relatable for people who have close relationship with a friend of different gender. Due to Just Friends' popularity and hype on Twitter, I was quite eager to read it, because if it was hyped this much, of course it's gonna turn out amazing, right? But bummer, I was disappointed by the outcome.


In my opinion, the plot fell rather flat. Instead of reading a story line, it felt like I was reading journal entries of a girl (and the dates made it seem more that way). Sure, there are parts that were good enough, but I couldn't pinpoint where the actual climax is. It was like the story was divided into several chunks, making the supposedly climax part drown in them.

The time line was quite a mess too, one time the character will be acting in the film set and suddenly in the next paragraph, she's already inside a restaurant having her lunch with someone. It's a bit... annoying to me, if I should say. The parts are supposed to be separated, even a small divider or any small sign signalling that we're entering a different scene would suffice. I find myself being confused most of the time trying to figure out where the hell is the scene happening.

I was hoping that I can relate to the characters of the story, but the moment August Bishop suddenly landed a main role in a movie and Ethan Knight bringing home millions of bucks that he got from the roulette, I knew that this one will not be relatable. The fame August received, and the money rolling into Ethan's pocket rather easily were unbelievable. Sure, it probably can happen, but the it would have been a lot better to add August struggling to handle the sudden fame and Ethan trying not to spend too much money. All they did was splurge, to the point that it was insane. Suddenly buying two cars and a huge apartment, I felt like it was all too much. 

Now that I'm here, why were Ethan's nightmares never explained?


I am not very fond of the language used, it is extremely simple and there are quite a number of grammar errors detected. I mean, if an amateur reader like me can even notice the errors, doesn't that mean something went wrong during the prepublication time? Was the book not proofread first? And like I mentioned before, because of how it was written, it felt more like a journal instead of a story, one of the reasons why I did not enjoy it as much as I hoped to.


I know that August Bishop is the main character of the story, but can we start with Ethan Knight first? Oh Ethan, just as his last name suggested, he is most likely a good example of a knight in a shining armour. His constant use of "my dear" towards August... how can one not fall in love with someone as gentle as him? Though I don't have a long-time boy best friend like August, I have enough experience to understand how it had been for August. Ethan was sweet to everyone, and protective towards the ones that he loved. What an amazing guy.

I can go on-and-on about Ethan, but I might end up spoiling the goodness and sweetness that he presented in the story. So let's talk about August Bishop.

August... Well, firstly, I love her name. It's quite cute to have a month name as your name, and I think Ethan would agree with me. From the start, I was okay with her character, but it gets to a point where I'm a bit annoyed with her way of thinking. To me, she's just a plain girl that fell in love with her long-time best friend, nothing else. Nothing special. I was disappointed that I could not see the "specialty" of her, seeing how fast her fame grew (even though it was only her first appearance in the big screen).

I have no problems with Max, he's a good friend and useful but sometimes can be quite unreliable. But he was there when August needed him, so that's good enough. And then there's Eleanor. Is it just me or she's a literary example of Taylor Swift? She goes on and off relationships with a lot of men, and though she can be sweet, sometimes I don't think I liked her that much.


The whole story is rather cute, despite the things that I'm not satisfied with. It's still a wonder for me on how August was able to remember all the ties she gave to Ethan on his birthdays and Christmas, yet it took her twelve years to realise her feelings for him. I appreciate that Billy Taylor wrote about friendship, love, cheating (only a little), magic, fame and wealth, though I admit that the story will be a lot better with major changes.

This story will suit new English book readers, because the language is simple and the story is not heavy. It's a shame for me to say this, but I don't think I'll be reading anything else from the same author.

It's the way he looks at you.
Every girl dreams of being looked at the way he looks at you.
Even me when I was with him. You just never catch him when he does.

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira

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