Elixir by Hilary Duff, Elise Allen

Sarah likes Ryan. Has for years. Ryan is dating Brianna, Sarah’s best friend. Sarah avoids Ryan, hides her feelings, and wallows in her guilt for desiring him. Then one night he drives her home alone, and they kiss. Now she is torn between wanting to be with Ryan and not wanting to hurt Brianna. Scott has written a fabulously authentic voice in Sarah. Every girl who has been torn by betraying the unwritten rule in friendship will hear her own thoughts echoed in Sarah’s. In a meandering path, Scott brings the readers back and forth in time from eighth grade, when Sarah first begins liking Ryan, to their senior year throughout Brianna and Ryan’s relationship, to the current dilemma of Sarah and Ryan wanting to be with one another without hurting Brianna. The love-triangle characters are well developed: Sarah is mousey with loving parents, Brianna is the tragically unloved teen who mimics her mother’s behaviors in all of her relationships, and Ryan is the boy who will tear them apart. The ending, while tidy, is realistic. This is a thoroughly enjoyable chick lit title that will appeal to readers of Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti. Reviewer: Kristin Fletcher-Spear

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