Author: K.C. Wells
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 5th 2018
Page Count: 189
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
I’m about to do something huge, and it could change… everything.
I met Matt in second grade, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. We went to the same schools, studied at the same college. When we both got jobs in the same town, we shared an apartment. And when my life took an unexpected turn, Matt was there for me. Every milestone in my life, he was there to share it. And what’s really amazing? After all these years, we’re still the best of friends.
Which brings me to this fragile, heart-stopping moment: I want to tell him I love him, really love him, but I’m scared to death of what he’ll say. If I’ve got this all wrong, I’ll lose him—forever
BFF begins with David and Matty’s meeting in second grade, and we get numerous vignettes of their friendship throughout grade school, Matty’s first girlfriend, graduation, college years, David’s less-than-successful attempts at dating, job searches, vacations, finding their first apartment, etc. After 18 years of great friendship and counting, David becomes very ill and almost dies. Funny how staring death in the face has a way of making one reevaluate their life and for David that means accepting that he is in love with his best friend:
… a tiny voice in my head quietly pointed out that I loved him.
Not a “he’s my brother and I love him” kinda love.
No, this was something different. This was a “I think I’ve fallen in love with Matt” kinda love.
For family and friends, their relationship is a foregone conclusion: “… we weren’t confronted with exclamations of surprise or shock, but joy, sheer joy that we’d finally gotten onto the same page.” There is no on-page sex in the book, and the ending is very low-key as Matty and David continue their lives together, with the added layer of their loving relationship.
As sweet as this story premise is, several things in the book just did not work for me. One of my pet peeves is children in books who don’t sound like children, i.e. Matty and David may be second-graders but they talk like this:
My mom wouldn’t mind if you came to the house. She’d probably be really happy about it, come to think of it.”
I waved a hand in the air. “Oh, she’s always asking why I never bring friends home from school, or why I never hang out with them.” I grinned. “I can’t really tell her most of the kids in my class would be happy talking about playing in the sand pit.”
Second, we never really get a good sense of what any characters looks like, what their voices sound like, their mannerisms, the full range of their interests and abilities, etc. There is little in-depth character development, with a heavy emphasis on “tell” not “show.” At the end of the book, these characters do not live in my heart because I don’t really know them.
Third, David has little interest in women and never had a successful heterosexual relationship:
I was starting to think that I wasn’t cut out for sexual adventures. […] I’m not even sure what I thought she should make me feel. I just knew it wasn’t there.
Yet after he and Matt finally realize they are in love, David ponders how his coworkers will think Oh wow. He’s bi? Wait, what? David reads as perhaps demi-sexual, but definitely not bisexual, in my opinion.
I like the premise of BFF, but feel that 80% of the book is way too long to explore their shared childhood and college years, with not enough time to really show an on-page sizzle or sense of wonder and excitement about their unexpected love.