Hope knows there's only one thing coming between her and her longtime crush: his girlfriend, Parker. She has to sit on the sidelines and watch as the perfect girl gets the perfect boy . . . because that's how the universe works, even though it's so completely wrong. Parker doesn't feel perfect. She knows if everyone knew the truth about her, they'd never be able to get past it. So she keeps quiet. She focuses on making it through the day with her secret safe . . . even as this becomes harder and harder to do. And Hope isn't making it any easier. . . . In Just Another Girl, Elizabeth Eulberg astutely and affectingly shows us how battle lines get drawn between girls -- and how difficult it then becomes to see or understand the girl standing on the other side of the divide. You think you have an enemy. But she's just another girl.
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Realistic Dual Perspectives
'Just Another Girl' by Elizabeth Eulberg is a terrifically realistic read about how assumptions can undermine one's ability to really know another person. There are times when readers will truly feel for one of the girls - Hope or Parker - over the other as they explain their circumstances, desires, and perceptions of how life should be versus how life really is.
Hope, for her part, has been in love with her best guy friend, Brady, for as long as she can remember. All she wants it to be with him, but standing in her way is picture perfect Parker, or so she seems. Hope knows she can't compete with Parker based on how everything seems to go so smoothly for Brady's girlfriend. From the moment Parker came into the picture, at Hope's pre-high school party, no less, she has seemingly stolen his heart and kept him away from the relationship Hope feels she was supposed to have with him.
Then there's Parker. As Brady's girlfriend, she doesn't get along with Hope so well, and that's pretty much okay with both girls. What they each don't know about the other is how threatened they both feel by each other. Their relationships with Brady, while different, are more similar than they could ever know. It's not until author Elizabeth Eulberg brings Brady's perspective into the mix that we learn how he really feels about the love triangle he has gotten himself mixed up in over the years.
The way that Eulberg switched between Hope's and Parker's perspectives over the course of the novel was truly fascinating. People take it far too much for granted that what they see on the outside is truly indicative of the way someone is. Little do we know how these people may actually be having troubles all their own that we would never wish upon anyone. The truthful and surprisingly fragile nature of some people's lives can often become unraveled. Knowing who one's true friends are, even if they didn't seem to be friends before, can prove to be the one antidote that will not necessarily solve all of one's problems, but make them at least slightly more manageable.
One area that could have used more development, without giving too much away, is in the area of Parker's life and what happened with her and her sister, Hayley. It would have been nice to find out the results of her parents' issues to bring some resolution to that plot point.
However, 'Just Another Girl' remains a scintillating look into how perceptions - right or wrong - can govern one's life. Readers will enjoy the back and forth narrative, as Eulberg does a great job of showing how impressions matter - but sometimes it takes more than the first one to make a mark.