Dear Best Friend,
I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.
Ava Helmer (that brunette who won’t leave you alone)
We’re still in the same room, you weirdo.
So begins a series of texts and emails sent between two best friends, Ava and Gen, as they head off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. From first loves to weird roommates, heartbreak, self-discovery, coming out and mental health, the two best friends will document every moment to each other. But as each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship be able to survive the distance?
I saw this book in a shop and thought the cover was really cute and the blurb made it seem like a fun read, which is why I decided to pick this up and I’m so glad that I did because it was a great read.
The story follows two best friends, Gen and Ava, through their first semester of college in different parts of the country. They both are on their own adventures – figuring out how to survive college without each other and discovering who they truly are. I think I enjoyed this book even more because I am currently in my first semester of college in a different country so I know how it feels to have your best friends not be accessible to you at all times.
I went into the book not knowing anything about the story or the authors but I just found out that they are actually friends and the characters Gen and Ava are loosely based on them, which makes all the more special.
The format of the story is entirely in text messages and emails from one to another. I love stories with cool formats so it was a nice change of pace from a typical novel. The added knowledge of the authors actually being friends makes a lot of sense because the emails and texts they sent to each other were very believable and felt like I was genuinely reading conversations between friends.
Gen and Ava were both great characters and despite the format of the book, the story managed to portray both their personalities very well and gave them unique, distinct voices. They were so different but they got along so well, as with many, many real friendships. They did argue and they were times didn’t talk to each other but it was always based on something genuine. Their friendship felt so real and so believable, which I’m sure is partly because it was written by two best friends.
The story also touches on some very relevant themes for young adults like polyamory, depression, anxiety, drinking, sexuality, standing up for oneself and so much more. It does all of this without being preachy and manages to maintain a light tone even while talking about deeper and more serious issues.
I love that the book was so funny, believable and easy to relate to as a college student. There were several times that I laughed out loud (and my roommate gave me weird looks) and by the end of the book I felt so connected to the characters.
The only thing that bothered me a little bit was that the book could have stretched over the whole freshman year of college and talked about more issues in their lives instead of focusing on only a few of the things that happened in the first semester. At times, I did skim a little bit because a lot of time was spent on the same issue.
Other than that, this is a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA and likes reading about strong female friendships.
PS- You might not enjoy this as much if you’re not very into young adult books.