Friends Like These
reviewed by Matt Hayden
Friends Like These by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez is a clever play on the well-known line, “With friends like these who needs enemies.” This a prelude to what you need to try and keep in mind throughout the book rather than getting swayed by what each character says, does or what happens to them.
What I look for in a novel it was long, had more twists than a country road and as a whole set up the conclusion in a way that makes more sense thinking backwards rather than it being revealed to you throughout the novel. But, I had a chat with younger family members about the book, explaining to them the way in which the story progresses (Without spoilers of course!), and they immediately let me know this is something that they can’t wait for to release as it mirrors the lives they want to be involved in for interest and intrigue. When I think back on my younger years, I am inclined to agree.
This is Jennifer’s second mystery thriller novel after her success at writing middle-grade fantasy stories, so the target audience of the book makes much more sense now and I am looking forward to what happens when Jennifer begins to work on stories for the older reader as she really has nailed down what the younger reader seeks in their novels. We have betrayal, adultery, murder, back-stories for characters and as a whole, a guide throughout the whole town of Crystal Cove. We got to see the way in which the characters live their lives before we got to meet them, where they are hoping to go in their lives and the impact that the subsequent video and the body have on the families that inhabit this small town. We come to appreciate the differences between our characters and the way that they react to life-altering situations. As a whole the book is enjoyable, but definitely something that throughout really did feel aimed at the younger audience. But that does not stop me from being comfortable to recommend to any readers of that age looking for something different!