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Young Adult Fiction 182
Thought Provoking Thriller
Overall rating
Writing Style
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Friends Like These was a hard-hitting story with a plausible scenario and well-developed characters that gave me second-hand embarrassment as the disaster scenario unfolded. Jake and Jessica are the sweetest couple with a solid foundation and no fear that anything could break them apart. Tegan has the looks, money, and athleticism to be the “it” girl. However, with everything she has, the couple of things she lost along the way drive her crazy like her ex-best friend Jessica and her ex-boyfriend Jake. This resentment builds to a bet, winning at any cost, going viral on social media, a murder, arrests, and ending on a path no one ever could have expected.
The way Jake’s life implodes was faithfully portrayed to the point it was hard to read. His decisions were so bad and so embarrassing and were so ruinous to his life. I just kept imagining how he could come back from such a disaster to live in a small town after what happened. The author does a fantastic job putting you right there in his shoes. However, not everything is as it first appears. Jessica is not the innocent victim and Jake is not the cheating jerk that we think they are.
There were many twists and turns. Some I was correct in my guesses and some I never saw coming. As more things were revealed I could not put the book down. It helped my ability to keep reading when Jake was vindicated.
There should be a trigger warning about drug-assisted sexual assault. By having a trigger warning you can guess a few things that get revealed in the plot. However, due to the emotional impact this topic has on the characters I could see this being a difficult read if you didn’t know it was coming.
Overall, this fictional story hit all the right buttons on being fast-paced and engaging. I also hope the teens who read it can see it as a warning about underage pornography, drug-assisted sexual assault, and how males as well as females can be victims. I like that there is a takeaway message centered around an engaging story making this thought-provoking as well as a great read.
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