Author: Megan Crane
Release Date: June 20, 2007
Challenge: RYOB 2009, A to Z Challenge
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the back cover:
Gus Curtis approaches the big three-o with a plan to painlessly usher herself into adulthood. Then she walks in on her practically perfect boyfriend Nate lip-locked with her supposed friend Helen (completely breaking the girlfriend cardinal rule), and her world starts to seem more like a teen drama than a mature, grown up life. To make matters worse, her two best friends are acting awfully strange – is everyone having a quarter-life crisis?
Trying to distract herself with tequila, Janis Joplin, and an extremely inadvisable hook-up, Gus begins to fear that her lofty goals are just fantasies. And as she searches for how all her plans went wrong, she’ll discover that sometimes you have to lose your friends to find them…and that your worst enemy – and best bud – might be yourself.
I’ve heard really good things about Megan Crane’s Frenemies, so I decided to finally take the time to read it (it’s been sitting on my shelf for at least a year). I also recently read and really enjoyed Crane’s latest novel Names My Sisters Call Me [review], so I was really looking forward to this book I’ve heard so much about.
Frenemies is about the hardships of growing up. Not those difficult adolescent years, but that transformation people eventually go through into an adult. Leaving college days behind is difficult for a lot of people; there is that desire to continue behaving as a rowdy, drunken student rather than become a fully realized adult. It’s hard to put the past behind you, whether good or bad; that’s what this book is all about. (Incidentally, I have to add that it wasn’t difficult for me to put college behind me because I didn’t really enjoy my college experience. Plus I never acted like a typical college student – books instead of frat parties, that sort of thing. So in that respect, I couldn’t relate to the main character.)
I have to say, for the first half of Frenemies, I wasn’t sure what to think. The book was a classic example of what I don’t like in chick lit: ridiculously embarassing and unrealistic scenes that make the reader cringe and want to stop reading. On the other hand, I found myself emotionally invested in the storyline, despite these occurences. I found myself getting angry at characters and seriously wondering what I would do if treated that way. So I kept reading. And it all became clear.
In this case, the embarassing scenes are actually a necessary plot device to make the main character, Gus, realize flaws within herself. They are a way for her to see the problems within her life. The fact that she often brings these embarassing moments on herself adds to the character development. It’s all about letting go of the craziness from younger days. It’s simply no longer appropriate in an adult’s life, and it takes Gus some time to realize that.
I also really enjoyed reading about the twisted, manipulative Helen. This girl seriously made my blood boil. There were times when I wanted to reach through the page in order to punch her. And I have to say, that takes talent. Writing a character that readers have such a strong emotional response to is hard work, and Crane accomplishes the task exceptionally well.
Frenemies is a very enjoyable book that any chick lit fan would enjoy. If you pick it up and find yourself turned off by it, hang in there; it all comes together in the last half of the book!