“What Are Friends For?” by Sarah Sutton

5/5 stars

I have no words. I’m struggling to write this review because it’s so hard to put how much I love this book into words.

               First of all, I read this book in roughly 4 hours. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t stop. Here’s the funny thing: while I read a lot of YA and love romance, I never read YA romance. I often read YA fantasy that has romance in it, but I never just read YA romance. I often find it over-bearing, cringey, and, in some cases, inappropriate. At some point, I mostly gave up the genre as a whole and devoted myself to fantasy. Every once in a while, I’d pick up a contemporary romance or something like that, but not often. For reasons I still don’t understand, I wanted to read this book ASAP just from looking at the cover and description. I immediately bought it and here we are.

               Regardless of why I read this book, I loved it. It wasn’t what I was expecting—it was so much better! Right off the bat, we’re introduced to Remi and Elijah. They’re childhood best friends who basically do everything together. Unfortunately, their lives are kind of a mess. Elijah’s family has been a mess thanks to his brother making some poor decisions. Remi mostly lives with her mom, but she spends some weekends with her dad and stepmom as well. Then something happens to further throw everything out of whack. Due to a misunderstanding at a party, Remi and Elijah kiss accidentally. Elijah thinks the girl he kissed is his girlfriend, Savannah, but Remi discovers the truth. Horrified, she plays along with convincing Elijah he really did kiss Savannah. The problem: Remi can’t get that kiss out of her mind, and Savannah knows she didn’t kiss Elijah at the party. The whole situation is a mess in their already messy lives and Remi is determined to get through the whole thing with her friendship with Elijah, as well as the rest of her life, intact.

               A lot of YA romances, and romances in general, can be cringey and cliché. This book was not like that at all. Where other books are shallow, this book was so much deeper than that. Family and friendship dynamics play a huge role in this book. All the characters make mistakes and have to learn to deal with the consequences. And even though their lives are messy, they learn how to live and love despite their circumstances. As much as I was invested in Remi’s relationship with Elijah, I was just as invested in her relationships with her mom and her dad, stepmom, and little sister; I was also invested in Elijah’s family too. This book is relatable and realistic thanks to the family/friendship relationships. And as far as the romance goes, it was clean and cute and adorable. I loved every second of this book. The relationships, the romance, the message—it was wonderful. For any of my fellow YA readers, I’d highly recommend reading this book. Even after writing this whole review, I still feel as though I was not able to do this book justice. I honestly cannot wait to get my hands on Sarah’s new book that’s coming out soon.

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