Author: Melissa Kantor
Published: January 4, 2011
Genre: YA, Contemporary Fiction
Jane, Victoria, and Natalya. Together, they are the Darlings. Best friends forever. They have matching necklaces, their own table at Ga Ga Noodle, and even a shared motto: May you always do what you’re afraid of doing.
When the friends begin freshman year at three different high schools in distant corners of New York City, they promise to live by their motto and stay as close as ever. The Darlings know they can get through anything as long as they have each other. But doing scary new things is a lot easier with your friends beside you. And now that the girls aren’t spending all their time together, everything they took for granted about their friendship starts to feel less certain. They can’t help but wonder, will they really be the Darlings forever?
Jane, Victoria and Natalya are best friends – always have been, always will be. They’ve been inseparable since kindergarten, but the time has finally come for the three girls to separate when they entered high school. One is in school for performing arts, one is desperate to stay under the radar while her father runs for Senate, and the third is attending a prestigious private school on scholarship. Three best friends now have three separate paths and must find the time to remain the best of friends or go their separate ways and grow apart.
When I received this book for review, it was described as a cross between The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Sex & the City for the younger lot. First of all, let me say how much I loathe people saying this book is the “next something,” or “this book for the younger lot.” It implies too much, and it takes something away from the originality of the story for me, making it feel a bit lackluster and unappealing. I tend to look for things that break the mold. All that aside though, The Darlings are Forever is a sweet and sassy tale of three friends growing up and learning to stay the best of friends through both thick and thin. Melissa Kantor has a definitive writing voice that’s simple but accessible, and masters multiple points of view with ease.
The Darlings of Forever is, perhaps, not the most original story, but it’s definitely well-written and appealing despite not necessarily thinking outside of the contemporary fiction box. The three girls, Jane, Victoria and Natalya were each well-rounded and individual, they had their own voices and story lines, and the plot delicately wove these three stories into a single, sweeping arc about growing up and the value of friendship overpowering differences. The Darlings are Forever manages to balance three separate viewpoints and still hold individual voices for each, which is tricky, so I definitely appreciated that. I also thought the individual love interests were sweet and simple – not overdone or cliché – just nice and sweet, going with the theme of the book.
We all know I’m not the biggest fan of contemps, so when a book defies the odds and exceeds my expectations, you better believe I’m going to sing its praises. The Darlings are Forever is sweet and refreshing, and perhaps the most realistic portrayal of young girls growing up and being friends because, hey, not all teens are into drugs/sex/partying. I give it a very strong 4.5 out of 5, and I’d recommend this to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy a good chick-lit and contemporary fiction.
I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.