‘Dating My Best Friend’ by Michelle MacQueen and Ann Maree Craven delves deeply into themes that range from loss and grief to loneliness, heartbreak, kindness, truth, introspection, and more. Peyton Callahan and Cameron Tucker are the main characters who find themselves thrown into an unfathomable situation when one night changes everything. Peyton’s brother Cooper is killed in a devastating accident that hits not only her family and friends, but the whole town harder than anyone could have imagined. Their lives turn upside down and their relationships seem permanently fractured. It doesn’t seem like there is an out to the topsy turvy world their lives have become, so Peyton eventually gives up on finding solace in her the arms of her best friend (who also happens to be her crush). Cam isn’t returning her emails and doesn’t seem interested in seeing her, so why should she bother anymore?
When Cam returns to school, life finds a way to continue to throw curve balls. Despite his return, he feels the same loss he did eighteen months ago when Cooper was killed in the accident. His parents don’t seem to understand him as he hopes they might, and the one person he has always felt most comfortable talking to doesn’t seem to want to have anything to do with him. Peyton doesn’t want to let things be that simple. She wants to get back to what they had, but she doesn’t know how she can ignore eighteen months of him not wanting to see or talk to her. The pain is still too fresh for both of them.
All the while, Peyton focuses on a new app she created called No Body Shame, which she calls No BS. She knows how much it is helping others in her high school to cope with their own issues, and even though she is good at dishing out advice and helping others find their own ways to cope, she realizes she isn’t quite capable of this herself. Cam’s return has thrown her for a loop, and with mean girls getting in the way of what she wishes could just be a happy relationship with him, along with fights among the people she used to call her friends, it doesn’t seem like anything is fixable. But, though cliche, love always finds a way, and so it does in this story, in more ways than one.
MacQueen and Craven each have their own series of books that are well-written and engaging, but their joint work in this young adult contemporary novel is a testament to their ability to cross genres and truly inhabit the minds of their characters. Readers will feel as though they are in the thick of the action, dealing with the trials and tribulations of Peyton, Cam, and their friends and parents. It is a story of devastation and redemption, and will bring both laughter and tears for readers.
You can find ‘Dating My Best Friend’ by Michelle MacQueen and Ann Maree Craven here.
*Review originally posted at YABooksCentral.com*