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Frenemies    by Megan Crane order for
by Megan Crane
Order:  USA  Can
5 Spot, 2007 (2007)

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* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Augusta 'Gus' Curtis thinks her life is going fairly well. She has a good job and great friends, and has been dating Nate, a guy she has known since college, for two months. And things are wonderful - until she walks in on Nate and her friend Helen kissing each other. Reeling from the betrayal, Gus isn't sure how to handle herself and ends up making a series of poor choices (the first one involves large quantities of alcohol and a drunken confrontation). In the midst of her post-break-up hysteria, Gus hooks up with Henry - Nate's bad-boy roommate and someone Gus doesn't even like as a person, much less a boyfriend.

What is Gus supposed to do? Her friends seem to think she should just grow up and get over it. Helen is acting strangely too, one minute wanting to be Gus's best friend and the next trying to sabotage the last bits of Gus's friendship with Nate. Is there hope for Gus and Nate to rekindle their romance?

Frenemies starts slowly and is frustrating for a while. Approaching thirty, Gus should have developed some maturity. But she seems stalled in her college days and a college mentality through most of the book. Once she does begin to change, the pace improves and the plot begins to flow enjoyably. I think the main problem with my inability to summon up any sympathy for Gus's pining for Nate is that the reader is never given a first-hand look at Gus and Nate's relationship. We come onto the scene after everything has happened and find out about it through the narrative. Thus it takes time to warm up to Gus and to understand her motivations.

Gus's ongoing attempt at salvaging her relationship with Nate and with Helen adds drama and seems incredibly realistic. Helen especially could be considered the frenemy of the novel - the friend who becomes an enemy but acts like a friend. Many readers will find that they think they know Helen due to the Helen in their own lives. The last few chapters bring the story together cohesively and make reading the entire novel worthwhile. Frenemies is excellent chick lit that should appeal to a wide variety of women in all stages of life.

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