Published by Harper Collins Australia on October 24th 2016
Source: Author Review Copy
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Book Depository | Publisher | Booktopia
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Emily has been friends with Adriana since Year One, way back when Adriana had a huge gap between her teeth and was super skinny. Emily wasn't any less awkward looking, and the girls are inseparable all through primary and into high school.
But when Adriana's mother dies during the autumn of Year Eight, everything changes. Adriana's father accepts a job in Borneo and suddenly, the two best friends, who’ve always been together, are almost ten thousand miles apart. Despite the distance, and a rubbish internet connection, the girls manage to stay in touch for the next 18 months.
And then Adriana announces that she’s coming home.
Emily can’t wait for things to go back to how they were – except one thing is undeniably different from the moment Adriana’s plane touches down at Jefferson airport. Adriana has gone from awkward to AMAZING. As in Victoria’s Secret model level of amazing – an utter goddess.
People stop her in the street to tell her she should model. Boys throw themselves at her everywhere she goes. The popular girls at school (aka The Tens), who made Adriana’s life hell once upon a time, are now following her on Insta and sending her pics on snapchat.
Thankfully, Adriana is no different on the inside. She's still the same best friend Emily knows and loves, and they're certainly not going to lose their friendship over the fact that Adriana has lucked out genetically.
Emily just wishes that one guy, any guy, would want to get to know her for some other reason besides being Adriana's best friend. In the meantime, she's committed to helping Adriana manage the throngs of potential suitors who are texting, emailing and adding Emily on Facebook in the hope of an introduction to 'the goddess', as Adriana is still pretty shy around boys and no-one's made her want to step out of her shell.
That is, until she sees the brand new and super cute guy in Emily's art class. The one called Theo, who makes Emily laugh so much she can barely focus on her own canvas. The only guy that Emily’s ever felt a real connection with – and the first one that doesn't seem all that affected by Adriana's appearance.
Two best friends crushing on one very cute guy ... someone's going to get their heart broken.
MY BEST FRIEND IS A GODDESS is about what happens to a friendship when two girls change - and not just on the outside.
Don’t let the lighthearted cover fool you – My Best Friend is a Goddess explores the friendship between Emily and Adriana, but it also touches upon grief, self-loathing, jealousy and bullying. There’s so many themes here that were tackled with just the right amount of depth, touching upon how best friends can form, impact the growth and development of one another and how they can sometimes be strained under pressure.
Adriana is only 16, but she’s been through so much. From being bullied by the mean girls in school, to being rejected by a guy who she thought felt the same, and losing her mother to an accident, there’s no doubt that she’s harbouring some deep seated feelings of anger and resentment. But when she returns to school looking like an absolute goddess, everyone starts treating her differently, which is something that soon gets to her head.
Emily on the other hand, has always acted as Adriana’s protector. When she is bullied in school, she’s quick to stand up to Adriana’s bullies and they form a fast and close knit friendship. But when her best friend steps off the plane looking like a Victoria’s Secret supermodel, Emily starts dealing with her own insecurities when it comes to her own looks. Although she’s fearless, vivacious and charismatic, this is something that doesn’t even match up to Adriana’s supermodel looks in Emily’s eyes. And everything changes when they both meet and fall for Theo, the Henry Cavill/Theo James lookalike who starts at their school.
Although there were some parts that were dramaticised, the strain between Emily and Adriana’s friendship felt really natural. While there is high school drama and the strain does start from a guy coming between them, there is so much more to the story. Emily is so focused on Adriana’s physical appearance that she fails to realise how much her friend has really changed. She slips into the protector mode, treating Adriana’s feelings with gloves and ignoring her own feelings for Theo.
I thought it was quite cheesy when Theo entered the picture, especially when he laments about how beautiful Adriana is and how he isn’t afraid to share his romanticised feelings about art and creativity to Emily. There were a few times where I rolled my eyes at the things that he said, and he felt a little too perfect in my eyes. Later in the book, I started to appreciate Theo especially when he started opening up about his own insecurities. He’s a guy who isn’t afraid to be sensitive or to show his emotions which I really appreciated.
I don’t want to admit it, but I’ve known things aren’t the same with us ever since the first day she came back. We’re growing up. It’s not always going to be the same dynamic we had at fourteen.
Not only does My Best Friend is a Goddess explore friendship in depth, but it also explores the glass ceiling of beauty. Attractive people getting what they want, succeeding over others, getting more opportunities and the power they have over others. Although this is unfair, it’s also the truth and it’s explored in such a stark and honest way.
For a contemporary, the book felt rather long at times, especially with so many heavy topics being explored. I thought some of the stories about Greek mythology and art history could have been left out or shortened. It feels very much like a Morgan Matson book, with the long length, the maturity of the characters and focus on friendship. On one hand, I was also frustrated with Adriana’s actions in the later half of the book to be selfish and cold. But it was also realistic because of all the pain she was internalising, which is a credit to Tara’s writing.
It’s the same with any beautiful person. It’s like they’re a magnet and the rest of us are shards of metal – we can’t help being drawn in.
Boys can come and go but friends can last forever which is surprisingly, something that we rarely see explored in books. Friendship is such an important aspect of our lives and I love it when books focus on friendships before anything else. The story of a friendship gone wrong is something that is close to my heart, and My Best Friend is a Goddess captures this in an honest and relatable way. Dealing with multiple issues that we’ve no doubt faced in some point in our lives, this is an important story for all.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Thanks Tara Englington for sending me a copy of the book!
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Yesss I really enjoyed it Melissa!
Yeah….the cover isn't the best here but I was so surprised by how much I liked the story! Yess, it definitely reminded me a lot of Morgan Matson!
Want to read this! The title (and the cover) are not my favorites, but I love a good female friendship book!
Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics
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Yeah, I'm not a fan because it seems a bit more juvenile than it was, because everything was explored in depth. Thank you lovely!
I don't know if I can get past this cover honestly. So cheesy O_O But it does sound really cute and I've liked Tara Eglington's books in the past.
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Yeah, the cover really doesn’t do it justice, it makes it look a bit childish too. But I promise the book is good!
Ooh I remember this one because I thought the title was so cute! It's good to hear that the book deals with a huge range of issues. It sounds like the kind of contemporary I'd actually enjoy. Definitely going to add it to my TBR! Great review, Jean!
Yesss I wasn't keen on reading it because of the cover but I'm so glad I did! It was sooo good. I hope you enjoy it Lauren!
Yeah, that's why I hadn't really added it to my TBR because I thought it was gonna be one of those light summer-y reads (which is fine, but not my cup of tea!).
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I have this book on my tbr-list, but I didn’t pick it up. I really like the premise, but I was weary of over-the-top high school drama. Glad to hear that the author managed to write this story in an honest and relatable way. I think I’ll read it. Thanks for your helpful review, Jeann!
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So was I actually, especially with that cover and the whole two best friends fighting over one guy. But it turned out it wasn\’t like that at all. No problems lovely!
Oh I was definitely thinking it was a cute summery read. It's awesome that this book still explores some tougher issues and is honest and relatable. Friendships gone is something anyone can experience.
Great review, Jeann!
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Thank you Cyn, I was surprised by how much deeper it went!
The friendship angle is good and I'm guessing the Greek Myth is an analogy of sorts? It sounds like this is packed with social issues, which can drag. I think it pulled it off not too shabbily from your rating.
have a good week!
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I'm not too sure about the Greek myth part? I think it was done really well! I hope you have a lovely one ahead too, Braine.
I don't read a ton of contemporary YA but this sounds pretty engaging.
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This seems like a really engaging contemporary! I'm glad Theo had insecurities as well and wasn't just your unnecessary love conflict/interest. The exploration of friendship and loyalties sound really well-done in this high school environment. I'm not a big fan of the cover though… like yikes haha. And the fact that it's two friends fighting over one boy makes this a "goodbye" for me. Sorry, but I got fantasy reads waiting for me! Lool.
Yeah, it was done so well Aila and it felt like it was done pretty naturally. I thought there would be more high school drama especially with the liking the same boy, but there wasn't because they were pretty mature about it you know? Lol yep I hear you about the fantasy though XD
I read my first book by this author a couple of months ago and I absolutely loved it, Jeann. I loved that she was able to make the book both light, but also tackled tough issues, which seems to be the case here too.
I really really love the sound of the characters, and also Theo sounds charming too. I'll have to pick up a copy if it become available here!
Wonderful review! 🙂
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Ohhh, was that How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You? I have it on my shelf but I haven't read it yet. I hope you get the chance to pick this one up! And thank you for always supporting Aussie YA too!
I don't read loads of contemporary but this one sounds like an interesting option to read, if the focus on friendship is more than on the romance!
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Yesss, I love books that focus on friendships and this one was great!
I just finished this lovely book today – speeding through 3/4 of the book in one sitting which hasn't happened in yonks! I adore Tara's writing, and it same can be said about My Best Friend is a Goddess. While lighthearted at first, the book explores a range of different themes that are truly important for readers of all ages.
I really loved Emily as a character, and Adriana as well to a lesser extent. It really annoyed me the way she acted towards the end of the book, because it was very selfish and self-centred…but the fact that I understood her is a great testament to Tara's writing…in creating a character that you can sympathise with despite her actions.
Lovely review! Glad you enjoyed it Jeann x
Oh yesss, I'm so glad you enjoyed it Joy! Yeah, I found it explored so many important concepts, like a friendship gone awry and the lack of community and everything. How selfish was she towards the end of the book? But I could see why she just wanted to leave her old self behind. It was done so well!