The Darlings Are Forever [NOOK Book]


Jane, Victoria, and Natalya. Together, they are the Darlings. Best friends forever. They have matching necklaces, their own table at Ga Ga Noodle, and even a shared motto: May you always do what you're afraid of doing.

When the friends begin freshman year at three different high schools in distant corners of New York City, they promise to live by their motto and stay as close as ever. The Darlings know they can get through anything as long as they have each other. But doing ...

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The Darlings Are Forever

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Jane, Victoria, and Natalya. Together, they are the Darlings. Best friends forever. They have matching necklaces, their own table at Ga Ga Noodle, and even a shared motto: May you always do what you're afraid of doing.

When the friends begin freshman year at three different high schools in distant corners of New York City, they promise to live by their motto and stay as close as ever. The Darlings know they can get through anything as long as they have each other. But doing scary new things is a lot easier with your friends beside you. And now that the girls aren't spending all their time together, everything they took for granted about their friendship starts to feel less certain. They can't help but wonder, will they really be the Darlings forever?

The first book in an exciting new series by bestselling author Melissa Kantor, The Darlings Are Forever will speak to any girl who has ever had a best friend.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Kantor (Girlfriend Material) offers a satisfying entry to the best-friends-until-high-school-separates-us genre, a good read for those who enjoy girlfriend stories told from alternating points of view. An adept exploration of friendship problems set against the backdrop of various New York City neighborhoods, it will appeal both to young New Yorkers and to readers who know the city only vicariously. Kantor's trio--aspiring actress Jane of Greenwich Village; brilliant Russian Natalya of Brighton Beach; and beautiful Victoria of the Upper West Side, daughter of a suddenly famous politician--have been schoolmates since kindergarten. Now attending different high schools, they face the challenge of preserving their closeness while navigating tricky adjustments to new schools and the delicate art of making new friends. Hovering over them like a fairy godmother is the spirit of Jane's late grandmother, who "talked to them like the grown-ups they would someday be," and gave them their mantra: "May you always do what you're afraid of doing." The problems and crises that arise are credible and not always predictable, the dialogue rings true, and the girls are well-developed characters that avoid stereotype. Ages 11–up. (Jan.)
VOYA - Alicia Abdul
Kantor's sixth novel proves a suitable companion to others in her collection, with an overabundance of benign, estrogen-fueled drama. The bonds of friendship are tested as the lives of three best friends, Jane, Natalya, and Victoria, are upended by one significant event: their acceptance into separate high schools in New York City for the start of their freshman year. Victoria must follow in her sister's footsteps, while Jane sings and dances her way into a theater arts school, and Natalya makes nice with the popular girls at hers. All is not well, though, after Victoria is caught at a party in the midst of her father's run for office, and secrets begin stacking up when Jane flirts with her drama instructor and Natalya learns that her status in school is directly related to her friendship with Victoria. As their pride is tested, they discover that their motto—"May you always do what you're afraid of doing"—can be problematic, especially when it distances them. The plot is simplistic, and their personal conflicts are shallow, while their interconnectedness is lost in translation, overshadowed by the presumptuousness that fifteen-year-old girls have reserved tables at restaurants and drink virgin cocktails. Yet the tame chatter and diverse situations keep it easily accessible for middle school girls who enjoy Lisi Harrison's Clique (Little, Brown, 2004) and Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars (HarperTeen, 2006) series. Reviewer: Alicia Abdul
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
Jane, Victoria and Natalya are best friends forever—or are they? They have been together throughout elementary and middle school, but now they are headed to different high schools far removed from each other in New York City. After school get-togethers are going to be rare. They will be meeting new people. They will not be sharing daily experiences. Will their friendship be enough to hold them together? That is what each of the girls wonders as the latest installment of the "Darlings'" series adventures begins. Jane develops a crush on the director of her school play and wrestles with her next step. Victoria deals with the harsh glare of the spotlight, as the media tries to capitalize on her every misstep during her father's unexpected campaign for Congress. Natalya yearns to fit in at her upper-class prep school and struggles with the sacrifices required to be part of the popular crowd. The girls miss the guidance of Jane's grandmother, Nana, who always called them "darlings" and advised them to "always do what you're afraid of doing." Teen girls are likely to enjoy this book. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
Gr 8–10—Actress Jane, brainy Natalya, and perpetual good-girl, Victoria, best friends for years, are now about to start their freshman year at different New York City schools. It's going to be an odd year: not only are they about to have experiences apart, but it's also the first year without Jane's beloved grandmother, who took them all over the city and advised them to "always do what you're afraid of doing." The Darlings—as Nana called them—take her advice to heart and challenge themselves: Jane auditions for the main stage production at her performing-arts high school despite the fact that roles almost never go to freshmen; Natalya falls in with the rich queen bees at her exclusive private school in spite of her doubts about their sincerity; Victoria struggles to break out of the shadow her older sister left at her prep school. Overcoming their fears might push them to be their best selves—but not listening to them can lead to trouble, even among best friends. More than their individual situations, Kantor's focus is on their friendship, and on the sometimes-painful process of growing apart while trying to deny that anything has changed. The shifting dynamic among the three is believable, given that they've never been without one another before. The girls are easy to care about, and the message—that true friendships can change and grow and still be maintained—will appeal to fans of Ann Brashares's "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" series (Delacorte).—Brandy Danner, Wilmington Memorial Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews

The themes of loss and change are explored throughout this tale of three best friends. Victoria, Jane and Natalya have grown up in the secluded world of their aptly named private school, One Room. On the eve of entering ninth grade at separate schools, this tight-knit trio makes a vow: that nothing will change among them. Soon, however, all three must face new challenges on their own. An aspiring actress, Jane is eager to prove her star quality at her performing-arts high school but gets sidelined by an inappropriate crush. Victoria is stunned to discover her actions will become fodder for the press when her father decides to run for the U.S. Senate. Meanwhile, as the child of Russian immigrants, Natalya finds herself struggling to fit in with her wealthy peers as the scholarship student at her elite school. Should she use the reflected fame of Victoria's father to garner new friendships? The third-person narration shifts from girl to girl as it sensitively explores their experiences. Kantor deftly handles the weighty topic of choice and personal responsibility in this thought-provokingtale. (Fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423146483
  • Publisher: Disney Book Group
  • Publication date: 12/6/2011
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 653,807
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Melissa Kantor is the author of the best-selling Confessions of a Not It Girl, a Booklist Best Romance Novel for Youth; If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince?, a YALSA Teens Top Ten Pick; The Breakup Bible, a YALSA Best Books for Young Adults nominee; and Girlfriend Material, a Junior Library Guild selection. Melissa is a teacher in Brooklyn, New York, where she lives with her husband, the poet Benjamin Gantcher, and their three children.
Visit her online at
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2011

    Love it!

    Victorias my favorite totally reeminds me of me

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2014

    The Darling are, indeed, forever.

    Three girls. One life... until now.

    For Natalya, Victoria, and Jane, high school marks both the beginning of a new life and the end of an era. Before, the trio has always been the Darlings, a name given to them by Jane's late grandmother, Nana. They have their own relatable motto, a favorite table at a restaurant by their old school, and matching pearl necklaces. But now, for the first time ever, the girls are attending three different schools spread out over New York. The realize that they will have to face life without each other's constant support. They can't say for sure what'll happen, but the Darlings are forever.... right?

    Natalya: Kind of a genius. Won a scholarship to the prestigious and ritzy Gainsford Academy, located in the Upper East Side. She tries really hard to fit in with the posh girls whose families literally own New York, and is thrilled when the three most popular girls befriend her. They end up using her to get to Victoria, and Natalya soon learns the true meaning of a real friend.

    Jane: Drama Queen. Was accepted into The Academy for the Performing Arts because of her outstanding acting. She gains a role in one of the major mainstage productions, something a freshman has only done once before. Instead of concentrating on her acting, however, she ends up falling for her young and handsome drama teacher. He handles the situation perfectly however, and Jane soon realizes how childish she was to imagine the relationship and what it has cost her.

    Victoria: Hopeless Romatic. Vicks is definitely my favorite, for sure. She's the sweetest out of the trio, loves to bake, and has a hard time saying "no". Ever since her dad has had a chance at becoming Senator, she's been in the public eye, not to mention how overshadowed she feels by her outstanding older sister, Emily,who she feels is perfect and that she could never compare. Victoria is unsure of who she is and who to trust, thanks to some very unfortunate friend issues in which girls use her because of who her father is. She meets a boy named Jack, and starts to gain confidence and courage. In the end, she finds out who she truly is and starts standing up for herself.

    I really loved this book, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a book for younger teens. I'd recommend it to ages 12-15, due to some very minor language, and some junior high-style romance (nothing bad at all, though).

    I liked the girls had problems that led to other problems, and weren't easily fixed with a wave of a wand. The fact that they stayed best friends despite their seperation made it feel a lot truer. And the one time they fought, they didn't just figure it out right away, they talked it out and grew to trust each other again. I think Jack could've started liking Victoria a little more into the book. I mean, a non-picture and a few words wouldn't create a relationship in real life. Other than that, it was divinity! A must-read for every girl.

    Five stars, easily.

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  • Posted October 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I've found that in many YA books, I tend to have major issues wi

    I've found that in many YA books, I tend to have major issues with characters who have unrealistic problems. The Darlings Are Forever is a book which deals with realistic issues, and strong teen characters. Jane, Natalya, and Victoria are all headed to separate high schools, and this strains their friendship. They each have their own individual issues, and those build up until things reach a breaking point in their friendship. Fights/arguments in YA always risk the possibility of seeming silly. Sometimes characters fight for no apparent reason, or the topic of the argument is really minor compared to the drama unleashed. So, it felt refreshing to read a book where an argument between friends was the natural next step in the book.

    I think that I would have connected more with the characters had I read this somewhere between eighth grade and senior year of high school. The book felt like it was on the younger side of YA, and while I would definitely suggest the book to girls at that age, I think this may have prevented me from connecting more with the problems of the characters.

    I thought this was a cute read, and a nice start to a series. The subject matter isn't dark, and it shows a realistic view of girls determined to maintain their friendship despite their lives moving in different directions.

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  • Posted March 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Darlings are awesome

    The backdrop is New York City, but its not all Gossip Girl style drama, its about three friends who start freshman year in high school apart for the first time because they all go to different schools in the city. While they may have been strong back in middle school because they had each other to lean on during the day, all three girls have to now learn to trust themselves and become their own "darling" as one girls grandmother used to call them. The romance between Victoria and Jack is sweet and I really like Natalya and Collin, if there was only more of their story. I thought Jane's story was nice, but hers dealt with a lot of subjects that were pretty heavy for a young reader.
    Overall this book is really great for someone just getting into high school, or even still in school. It teaches a lot about trust, and being your own person and trying your best. I can't wait to get The Darlings In Love!

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  • Posted January 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    3.5 stars

    Jane, Victoria, and Natalya have know each other forever, but this is the year the trio of BFFs is broken up. Not because of a fight but because they will soon be attending separate high schools in New York City. Jane's recently deceased grandmother named the girls "The Darlings" and that's what they continue to call themselves. The story is told from the perspective of each of the girls. There is the usual teen drama, romance, tears, and fears. It seems a bit unrealistic that middle schoolers would have their own table at a restaurant but so it is in this story. Teen alcohol consumption and almost-there sexual situations may be a problem for younger teens. The sequel, "The Darlings in Love" was published two weeks ago. Suggested for grades 8-12.

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  • Posted April 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo

    Jane, Victoria, and Natalya have all gone to the same school their whole lives. High school is starting and they will each be on their own. Each is not sure how she'll survive without her BFFs. Jane's attending The Academy for Performing Arts, where she'll concentrate on her acting. Victoria is attending the same school where her almost-perfect sister just barely graduated. Natalya is attending Gainsford Academy for uber-smart students like herself. Separately, they must navigate the halls of high school on their own. Their motto, "may you always do what you're afraid of doing," might get them into hot water. Jane auditions for a production on the main stage, where almost no freshman gain admittance. Victoria tries to deal with her father's new career choice in politics and how it changes her life, especially her love life. Natalya struggles to fit into a crowd, maybe even the popular crowd if they will have her. THE DARLINGS ARE FOREVER is a wonderful read of three best friends forced to search outside of each other for their high school experience. Each girl branches out and blooms in spite of being on her own. Their growth from their struggles apart impacts their friendship as they change. They deal with love, new friends, loyalty, finding and staying true to yourself, betrayal, and no fear. I'm already looking forward to THE DARLINGS IN LOVE.

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  • Posted March 7, 2011

    Love it! Kept me reading!

    If you like some romance, some drama, and some fantasy, this book is for you. You read about 3 girls lives. All different, all have new friends, new struggles, and new guys!!

    I couldn't put the book down... literally. I read it in 2 days.


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  • Posted February 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The darlings are forever

    The Darlings are forever follows three friends in their process of growing up and finding themselves. It is not the most original but I was caught up in their stories. The blend of interests, nationalities, and personalities really made the story.
    I can't wait to read more about the girls, because all of the plots were not wrapped up the way I would have wanted. But its in a good way, wanting more!
    Victoria's crush on Jack is sweet, and it is refreshing not to have a love at first sight.
    Jane's story deals with important issue that is not really talked about very much.
    Natalya's discovery of what true friends are about is really intriguing to watch, but I def wanted more about Collin.
    This is a cute contemp and I'd recommend it if you want a feel good book that will make you laugh some, and feel a lot.

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  • Posted February 2, 2011


    May you always do what you are afraid of doing!

    This is the motto of three girls together from grade school and now off to separate high schools. This trio now has to face life without the support of each other on a daily basis. They each go their own way and have to make choices about how they want their lives to go now.

    Jane, who wants to be an actress ends up at the High School for the Performing Arts. She gets a part in a main stage play, which is rare for a freshman. She ends up a little bit over her head and imagines her director has feelings for her which in reality are just his way of supporting her in a difficult part.

    Natalya, probably my favorite, ends up a scholarship student at a fancy private high school where she tries hard to fit in with the in crowd. These new friends end up using her and causing problems for Victoria. Natalya tries so hard to be everything to everyone and when she finally finds herself noticed (for all the wrong reasons), she has a true learning experience.

    Victoria, the perfect one, well, not in her eyes, but that is how she is viewed by her family. She normally keeps to herself and her long trusted friends, but when thrust into public high school by herself, she loses her identity. Victoria's father is running for Senate, so everything she does is now front page news. Innocent, normal teenage issues cause her untold grief.

    The story unites the friends through all of these issues and strengthens the bond between them at the end. The Darlings, as they have named themselves, all have major learning lessons in the story. I read this one straight through and if you are looking for a book to give a young teen, this should be your pick. This is one of the few books that don't have a lot of romance, but show what really happens to 14 year old girls when they face the world on their own. It is just so positive how Kantor has the girls work through their issues and remain friends. I cheered for them throughout the book.

    This one is probably safe for those over 12. There is one instance of drinking at a party, yet the girls left as soon as they realized it. Not much romance and just once instance of a school girl crush on a teacher that the teacher handled perfectly. Of course, there is a safe sex lesson in here with one scene about how to use a condom with a banana. I really recommend this one to everyone!

    I received this book at no cost from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Posted January 7, 2011

    Definitely a girl-bonding book

    THE DARLINGS ARE FOREVER, by Melissa Kantor, is definitely a girl-bonding book. Three best gal pals from New York City are entering high school, at three different schools. They make a promise that their friendship won't change, but without each other they are forced to find who they are as individuals. They encounter cliques, boys, and the desire to fit in.

    Honestly in after the first chapter I didn't think I would like this book. I have an issue when too many characters are introduced in a book right away. I was confused who was who and what school they went to, etc. But after a few chapters, the girls started to veer off into their own mold in my head. I loved the structure of the book with each chapter being from one of the girl's POV, and Kantor left each chapter at a teetering point so I was anxious to get back that side of the story.

    I was definitely surprised at this book and I am so happy I got the chance to read it. I felt these girls were so perfect for each other because they all had a special fit inside their exclusive trio. And although they were young, I didn't feel like Kantor was 'dumbing them down' to be silly teenage girls, they were really a joy to experience in their actually mature ways.

    Along the line of being individuals were the girl's crushes. I enjoyed reading about how these boys in their lives would change the dynamic of the group. I have to say Colin and Jack were my favorites. Colin was absolutely an adorable nerd and I wanted Natalya to embrace that side of herself too. Then there's Jack (swoon) the artistic and charismatic boy that Victoria loved to pretend to hate. That's all I'm saying about that.

    This book is a great story for women at any age. The friendships, fights, and romances that ensue will warm your heart and keep you wanting more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2011

    This is a Must Read! Especially for fans of Sarah Dessen and Travelings Pants!!

    I love these girls and want to be friends with them!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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