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Best Friends Forever

Best Friends Forever

3.5 585
by Jennifer Weiner

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Bestselling author Jennifer Weiner’s dazzling new novel Best Friends Forever explores the impact of love, desire, and familial loss on a friendship between two young women, and how the choices they make will change their lives forever.

One of the nation’s most beloved and successful writers of women’s fiction,


Bestselling author Jennifer Weiner’s dazzling new novel Best Friends Forever explores the impact of love, desire, and familial loss on a friendship between two young women, and how the choices they make will change their lives forever.

One of the nation’s most beloved and successful writers of women’s fiction, Jennifer Weiner has become a literary phenomenon with millions of copies of her books in print. Her latest work, Best Friends Forever will delight fans and critics alike, following the ups and downs of a long-time friendship between two young girls who grow up to be two very different women. Addie Downs and Valerie Adler were eight when they first met and decided to be best friends forever. But, in the wake of tragedy and betrayal during their teenage years, everything changed. Val went on to fame and fortune. Addie stayed behind in their small Midwestern town. Destiny, however, had more in store for these two. And when, twenty-five years later, Val shows up at Addie’s front door with blood on her coat and terror on her face, it is the beginning of a wild adventure for two women joined by love and history who find strength together that they could not find alone.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Jennifer Weiner's latest novel, Best Friends Forever, is not leaving the special shelf where it's already wedged in with other books I reread every so often because they just make me happy - novels such as Jeanette Haien's Matters of Chance, Susan Isaacs' Shining Through, Kingsley Amis' Lucky Jim, most of Barbara Pym's novels, and, of course, Pride and Prejudice. [What] earns it a place on my treasured "reread as needed" shelf is its tough emotional wisdoméAddie's story rates a second (and, perhaps, even a third) read, too, because its unrelenting depiction of loneliness, as well as the myriad ways people can surprise themselves and each other, deserves to be savored, again and again." — The Philadelphia Inquirer

"In Addie, Weiner has created a steely, sympathetic narrator who is vulnerable but not pathetic, unwilling to settle for disappointment despite the bad hand that most of her 33 years have dealt. The novel is a welcome addition to the author's collection of tales about strong, clever women who carve their own niche in this world — much like Weiner." — The Miami Herald

"Addie Downs - the Everygirl at the center of Jennifer Weiner's latest novel - just could turn out to be one of our favorite heroines of the summer...Another superlative novel by Weiner, about a big girl with a bigger heart, that will have women and men of all sizes cheering." — USA Today

"Weiner's latest showcases her talent for creating richly drawn, realistic characters. She deftly weaves in multiple back stories and subplots and punctuates the story with plenty of humor. Highly recommended for all fans of women's fiction." — Library Journal, starred review

"Former mousy types, rejoice! In Weiner's delicious latest, a popular girl hits trouble long after high school and only the geeky pal she once shunned can help." — People magazine

"This beach read will win readers over with its wit and wisdom. A clever, sad and sweet turn on Thelma and Louise [with] what may be the funniest not-quite-heist ever pulled off ..." — Publishers Weekly

"Warmly and realistically drawn... Weiner, creator of widely popular female characters, injects an element of suspense into her latest, Best Friends Forever. This book begins on an unexpected note of violence, but the friendship of the title is at its heart. Two estranged onetime high-school chums — one now a television weathergirl and the other one of Ms. Weiner's lovable, snack-obsessed frumps — are thrown together to find out what happened in that opening scene and to hash out old grievances. Weiner writes comfortably about the real world." — Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"Jennifer Weiner is a master of the modern-day fairytale. In best-selling chick-lit romps like In Her Shoes, her heroines look just like us: self-deprecating, plagued by those few extra pounds - and ready for Prince Charming only once they've embraced their quirks. Weiner's latest effort is no exception, this time following a pair of friends - one fat, one thin - over two decades." — Marie Claire

"The must-have beach read... In popular chick-lit-with-a-pulse author Jennifer Weiner's newest novel, Best Friends Forever, two childhood gal pals suffer a teenage-falling-out but reunite for an unexpected female-bonding adventure." — Elle magazine

"A hilarious caper... resplendent in charm and poignancy...Weiner handles sorrow with a deft touch, blossoms in beautifully descriptive passages, and keeps readers glued to the page with curiosity and delight." — Booklist, starred review

What happens when your long-lost "best friend forever" shows up at your front door with terror on her face and blood on her coat? If you're Addie Downs in this Jennifer Weiner novel, you take her inside and your whole life takes an extreme turn.
Publishers Weekly
Reclusive 33-year-old illustrator Addie Downs opens her front door late one night to reveal her childhood best friend, Valerie Adler, whom she hasn't seen since high school. Valerie is in trouble, and Addie drops everything to bail out her friend despite her own rather serious problems. Although the novel isn't up to Weiner's usual standards, the audio abridgment is watertight and the narration strong: Kate Baldwin reads the portions told in the first person from Addie's perspective, while Rick Holmes reads the third-person sections that focus on police chief Jordan Novick and Valerie's high school boyfriend Dan Swansea. At just six hours, this would make for excellent diversion on a girlfriends' road trip to the beach. An Atria hardcover (Reviews, June 15). (July)
USA Today
This is where Weiner's talents again come in to play. She lays out an irresistible story about the present but effortlessly pulls us back to Addie and Val's childhood and teen years. It's all about showing us how they became the women they are today.
As always, readers can't help but draw on their own memories of growing up, of best friends kept and lost and whether their lives turned out the way they planned.
BFF may not fit the textbook definition of social responsibility. After all, suspecting you may have accidentally killed someone and not reporting it is serious business. But the women's dilemma about what to do about it is a textbook-perfect plot point.
It gives Val, a weathergirl on the local TV station, and Addie, the loneliest girl in the world, a reason to pull a Thelma and Louise road trip that will end with startling personal discoveries for both women. And you'll never guess what happens to Addie.
Best Friends Forever is a frothy treat. It's another superlative novel by Weiner, about a big girl with a bigger heart, that will have women and men of all sizes cheering.
Kirkus Reviews
Weiner proves yet again that women can be their own worst enemies-and shows that women's worst enemies can also be their best friends. Addie Downs can't catch a break. Fat and friendless as a child, she enjoys a few years' respite from isolation when awkward, neglected Valerie Adler moves in across the street in the Chicago suburb of Pleasant Ridge. Val doesn't care that Addie's mom is obese, or that her father doesn't have a real job; she's entranced by the idea of hot meals (Naomi Adler's idea of dinner is Tab and Wheat Thins, topped off with a Salem Light), clean clothes and a regular bedtime. When Val returns with braces and breasts from a summer visiting her father in California, Addie knows the end is near, although she'd never guess how deep Val's betrayal will be. Alone again, Addie leaves for college only to have her father die before she's unpacked. Then Mom is diagnosed with breast cancer, and Addie watches her monstrous body wither to a horrifying death. Orphaned at 20, Addie lives alone in her parents' home, painting watercolors for a greeting-card company. And eating. When she tops 300 pounds, she finally says, "Enough!" and starts a diet and exercise regimen that brings her down to normal proportions. She buys nice clothes, redecorates her house and even has an abortive fling with a married man she meets at the gym. Just as she's starting to feel normal, Hurricane Val bears down on her. Now a TV weathergirl at a local Chicago station, Val, unlike Addie, can't resist going to their high-school reunion, where she does something very bad, attracting the attention of Pleasant Ridge's lonely, needy police chief Jordan Novick. Now Val needs Addie's help, and though Addie knowsshe's being played, she can't resist her BFF, whose harebrained, selfish, irresponsible behavior leads Addie to unexpected joy. So much material recycled from earlier novels (Certain Girls, 2008, etc.) that even fans will feel deja vu. Author tour to Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C.

Product Details

Atria Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.22(w) x 6.34(h) x 1.26(d)

Read an Excerpt


Looking back, the knock on the door should have scared me. It should at least have come as a surprise. My house — the same one I grew up in — is set at the farthest curve of a culde- sac in Pleasant Ridge, Illinois, a Chicago suburb of fourteen thousand souls with quiet streets, neatly kept lawns, and well-regarded public schools. There are rarely pedestrians or passersby on Crescent Drive. Most weeks, the only signs of life after ten p.m. are the flash of headlights on my bedroom wall on the nights that my next-door neighbor Mrs. Bass has her Shakespeare Society meeting. I live alone, and I'm generally asleep by ten-thirty. But even so. When I heard the knock, my heartbeat didn't quicken; my palms did not sweat. At some level underneath conscious thought, a place down in my cells where, the scientists tell us, memories reside, I'd been waiting years for that knock, waiting for the feel of my feet moving across the floor and my hand on the cool brass knob.

I pulled open the door and felt my eyes get big and my breath catch in my chest. There was my old best friend, Valerie Adler, whom I hadn't spoken to since I was seventeen and hadn't seen in person since high school ended, standing underneath the porch light; Valerie with her heart-shaped face and Cupid's-bow lips and lashes heavy and dark as moth's wings. She stood with her hands clasped at her waist, as if in prayer. There was something dark staining the sleeve of her belted trench coat.

For a minute, we stood in the cold, in the cone of light, staring at each other, and the thought that rose to my mind had the warmth of sunshine and the sweet density of honey. My friend, I thought as I looked at Val. My friend has come back to me.

I opened my mouth — to say what, I wasn't sure — but it was Val who spoke first. "Addie," she said. Her teeth were gleaming, perfect and even; her voice was the same as I remembered from all those years ago, husky, confiding, an I've-got-a-secret kind of voice that she currently deployed to great effect, delivering the weather on the nightly newscasts on Chicago's third-rated TV station. She'd been hired six months ago, to great fanfare and a number of billboards along the interstate announcing her new gig. ("Look who just blew into town!" the billboards read, underneath a picture of Val, all windswept hair and crimson, smiling lips.) "Listen. Something...something really bad happened," she said. "Can you help me? Please?"

I kept my mouth shut. Val rocked back on high heels that seemed no thicker than pins, gulping as she raked both hands through her hair, then brought them to waist level and began twisting her belt. Had I known she had that haircut, that buttercup-yellow color, that shoulder-length style, with layers that curled into ringlets in the rain, when I'd given my hairdresser the goahead? I made a point of not watching her station, but maybe I'd caught a glimpse of her as I changed channels or the billboards had made an impression, because somehow here I was, in flannel pajamas and thick wool socks, with my ex-best-friend's hair on my head.

"Look at you," she said, her voice low and full of wonder. "Look at you," said Valerie. "You got thin."

"Come in, Val," I said. If time was a dimension, and not a straight line, if you could look down through it like you were looking through water and it could ripple and shift, I was already opening the door. This had all already happened, the way it always did; the way it always would.

Copyright © 2009 by Jennifer Weiner, Inc.


I led Valerie into the kitchen, listening to the drumbeat of her heels on the hardwood floor behind me. She wriggled out of her coat and used her fingertips to hang it over the back of a chair, then looked me up and down. "You weren't at the reunion," she said.

"I had a date," I answered.

She raised her eyebrows. I turned away, filling the kettle at the sink, then setting it on the burner and flicking on the gas, unwilling to say more.

My night had not started out well. On the dating website's advice, I'd met the guy, my sixth blind date in as many weeks, at the restaurant ("Do NOT invite a stranger to your house!" the website had scolded. "Always meet in public, always carry a cell phone, car keys, and/or enough money for transportation, and always let a friend know where you are!") I'd gotten the first parts of it right, driving my own car, with my cell phone charged and enough money to cover the bill in my wallet, but I hadn't been able to fulfill the last part, on account of being, at the moment, friendless (friend-free?), so instead, I'd printed out a note in eighteen-point bold type and taped it to my fridge: I WENT TO MEET MATTHEW SHARP ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23. IF ANYTHING HAPPENED TO ME, IT'S PROBABLY HIS FAULT. I'd added my date's telephone number, the name and address of the restaurant, and a photocopy of my insurance card. I'd thought for a minute, then added, P.S.: I WOULD LIKE A MILITARY FUNERAL...because, really, who wouldn't? Buglers playing taps equals guaranteed tears.

"Addie?" the man by the hostess stand said. "I'm Matthew Sharp." He was on time, and tall, as promised. This was a refreshing change: the five guys I'd previously met were not, in general, as promised. Matthew Sharp was neatly dressed in a tweed sports coat, a dark-blue button-down shirt, pressed pants, and loafers. His breath, as he leaned close to shake my hand, smelled like cinnamon, and a mustache bristled over his lip. Okay, I thought. I can work with this. True, the mustache was an unpleasant surprise, and his hairline had receded since he'd posed for his online picture, but who was I to complain?

"Nice to meet you," I said, and slipped my black wool coat off my shoulders.

"Thanks for coming." He looked me up and down, his eyes lingering briefly on my body before flicking back to my face. He didn't look appalled, nor did he appear to be edging toward the door. That was good. I'd dressed in what had become my date uniform: a black skirt that came to precisely the center of my knees (not short enough to be slutty, not long enough to be dowdy), a blouse of dark-red silk, black hose, black boots with low heels, in case he'd been lying about his height or, less likely but still possible, in case I needed to run. "Our table's ready. Would you like a drink at the bar first?"

"No thanks." The website recommended only a single glass of wine. I'd keep my wits about me and not give him any reason to think I had a drinking problem.

The hostess took our coats and handed Matthew a ticket. "After you," he said as I tucked my scarf and hat into my purse and shook out my hair. My calves had finally gotten skinny enough for me to zip my knee-high boots to the very top. I'd gone to my hairdresser that morning, planning on nothing more than a trim, but, buoyed by Paul's repeated use of the word "amazing!" and the way he'd actually gotten teary when he'd seen me, I'd allowed myself to be talked into six hours' and five hundred dollars' worth of cut, color, and chemicals, and left with a layered bob that Paul swore made me look sixteen from certain angles, honey-blond highlights, and conditioner with a French-sounding name, guaranteed to leave my hair frizz-free and shiny for the next four months.

I asked for a glass of Chardonnay, Caesar salad, and broiled sole, sauce on the side. Matthew ordered Cabernet, calamari to start with, then a steak.

"How was your holiday?" he asked.

"It was nice," I told him. "Very quiet. I spent the day with family." This was true. I'd taken the full Thanksgiving dinner — butternut squash soup, roast turkey, chestnut stuffing, sweet potatoes under a blanket of caramelized marshmallow, the obligatory pumpkin pie — to my brother, Jon, at his assisted-living facility on the South Side. We'd eaten sitting on the floor of his small, overheated room, our backs against his single bed, watching Starship Troopers, which was his favorite. I'd left by three and been back home by four. There, I'd made myself a cup of tea, added a slug of whiskey, and left a dish of chopped turkey and gravy out for the little black cat that frequents my back door. I'd spent the evening sitting in the living room, one hand on my belly, looking at the shifting grays and lavenders of the sky, until the moon came up.

"How about you?"

Matthew told me he'd had dinner with his parents, his sister, and her husband and kids. He'd cooked the turkey, rubbing butter and sage under the skin and slow-roasting it over a bed of onions. He said he loved to cook, and I said I did, too. I told him about my adventures in guacamole. He told me about the shows he watched on the Food Network and the hot new restaurant in Chicago he was dying to try.

The waiter slid our plates in front of us. Matthew tucked a tentacle into his mouth. "How's your salad?" he asked. A bit of fried breading was stuck in his mustache, and I had to fight an impulse to reach over and brush it away.

"It's great." It was overdressed, each leaf oily and dripping, but that was okay — a bad salad was a perfectly reasonable tradeoff for, finally, thank you God, a decent date. I chewed a mouthful into lettuce-flavored paste, and we smiled at each other.

"Tell me about your job," Matthew said.

"I paint illustrations for greeting cards."

He actually seemed interested, which was a pleasant change from my previous dates. How had I gotten into that line of work? (Through my mother, who'd written copy for the same line of cards and had submitted one of my watercolors without telling me years ago.) Did I work from home? (Yes, I'd set up a studio in the dining room, with my easel by the window, where the light was best.) He asked about the hours, about my training, about whether I got lonely working all by myself, instead of in an office. I could have given him a soliloquy, an essay, could have sung an entire libretto on the topic of loneliness, but instead I'd just said, "I don't mind being by myself."

He told me about his job running a chain of self-storage warehouses in Illinois and Wisconsin. I asked about where he'd grown up and where he lived now, lifting a soggy crouton to my lips, then setting it back on the plate, untasted, waiting for the moment that had come during each of my other dates, when he'd start trashing his exwife. Of the five men I'd gone out with, four of them had proclaimed that their exes were crazy (one had upped his diagnosis to "certifiably insane"). The fifth was a widower. His wife had been a saint, which sounded even worse than crazy when you were the potential follow-up act.

He was nice, I thought, as Matthew expounded enthusiastically on the hike he'd taken just last weekend with the Sierra Club. "I go out with them a few times a month," he volunteered. "Maybe you could join me?"

My first thought was that he was kidding — me, hike? Where, from the Cinnabon to the Ben & Jerry's? I still had to remind myself that I was now more or less normal-sized, and that Matthew had never seen me in my previous incarnation. "Sure. That sounds like fun." A hike in the woods. I let myself picture it: a red fleece pullover, a hat that matched my mittens, the thermos full of hot coffee that I'd bring. We'd sit side by side on a blanket in the leaves and watch as a stream burbled by.

Our entrees arrived. My fish was mealy at the edges, translucent in the center, tasting as dead as if it had never been alive. I managed two bites while Matthew told the story of how his colleague, a middle-aged middle manager named Fred, had suddenly taken it into his head to get his eyes done. "He came into the office and he looked — Well, one of the secretaries said he looked like a squirrel with something jammed up his..." He paused. A dimple flashed in his cheek. "Like a startled squirrel. Like his eyes were trying to jump right out of his head, and I heard that when his granddaughter saw him for the first time she started crying." He chuckled. I smiled. Love me, I thought, and sipped my wine and trailed one manicured thumbnail delicately along the edge of my blouse, beneath which my breasts swelled, clad in itchy lace, helped along by heavy-duty underwire.

Matthew leaned across the table, with his tie dangling dangerously close to the puddle of beef blood on his plate. "You're a really unique person," he said.

I smiled, shoving my doubts about the syntax of "really unique" to the back of my mind.

"I feel so comfortable with you. Like I could tell you anything," he continued.

I kept smiling as he gazed at me. He had nice eyes behind the glasses. Kind eyes. Maybe I could talk him into shaving the mustache. I could see us together, on a slope covered with fallen leaves, my mittened hands around a cup, the coffee-scented steam curling in the air. Please stop talking, I begged him telepathically. Every time you open your mouth, you are jeopardizing our beautiful life together.

Sadly, Matthew didn't get the message. "Six months ago," he began, with his eyes locked on mine, "I woke up with a bright light shining through my bedroom windows. I looked up and saw an enormous green disc hovering above my home."

"Ha!" I laughed. "Ha ha ha!" I laughed until I realized he wasn't laughing...which meant that he wasn't kidding.

"I have reason to believe," he continued, and then paused, lips parted beneath his mustache, "that I was abducted by aliens that night." He was so close that I could feel his beefy breath on my face. "That I was probed."

"Dessert?" asked the waiter, sliding menus in front of us.

I managed to shake my head no. I couldn't speak. I was single, true. I was desperate, also true. I had slept with only one man at the shamefully advanced age of thirty-three. I'd never heard the words "I love you" from someone who wasn't a parent. But still, I was not going home with a guy who claimed to have been violated by space aliens. A girl has her limits.

When the check came, Matthew slipped a credit card into the leather folder and looked at me ruefully. "I guess I shouldn't talk about the alien abduction on first dates."

I adjusted my neckline. "Probably not. I usually wait until the third date to talk about my tail."

"You have a tail?" Now he was the one who couldn't tell if I was kidding.

"A small one."

"You're funny," he'd said. There was a kind of drowning desperation in his voice, a tone I knew well. Help me, he was saying. Throw me a rope, give me a smile, let me know it's okay. I got to my feet while Matthew searched his pockets for a few bucks to tip the coat-check girl, then followed him through the restaurant, waiting as he held the door. "You seem like a good person," Matthew said in the parking lot, reaching for my hand. I moved sideways, just enough so that I was out of his reach. You're wrong, I thought. I'm not.

Outside, the predinner mist had thickened into a chilly fog. Streetlamps glowed beneath golden halos of light. Matthew ran his hand through his hair. Even in the cold, he was sweating. I could see droplets glimmering through his mustache. "Can I call you?" he asked.

"Sure." Of course, I wouldn't answer, but that didn't seem smart to mention. "You've still got my number, right?"

"Still got it." He smiled, pathetically grateful, and leaned forward. It took me a second to realize that he intended to kiss me, and another second to realize that I was going to let him. His mustache brushed my upper lip and cheek. I felt absolutely nothing. He could have pressed a bottle brush or a Brillo pad against my face; I could have been kissing his lapel or the hood of my Honda.

By the time I got home, he'd already left a message, long,meandering, and apologetic. He was sorry if he'd freaked me out.He thought that I was great. He was looking forward to seeing me again, maybe on Sunday? There was a movie that had gotten a good write-up in the Trib, or a hot-air-balloon festival. We could drive out, pack a picnic...his voice trailed off hopefully. "Well," he said. "I'll talk to you soon." He recited his telephone number. I thumbed number three for "erase," kicked off my boots, twisted my bright new hair into a plastic clip, then sat on the edge of my bed with my face in my hands and allowed myself one brief, dry, spinsterish sob. Don't get your hopes up. The website didn't say that. It was what I told myself as inoculation against the fantasy, persistent as a weed, that one of these guys could be the one: that I could fall in love, get married, have babies, be normal. Don't get your hopes up. I'd chant it like a mantra on my drive to the Starbucks or the Applebee's or, with Date Number Four, the bowling alley, where, it turned out, the fellow had had the ingenious notion of combining a first date with a fifth birthday party for his son (his exwife had not been glad to meet me; neither, for that matter, had his five-year-old). Don't get your hopes up...but every time I did, and every time I got my stupid heart crushed.

"Oh, well," I said out loud. Funny. That had been nice to hear. But it was so unfair! To get a date on the Internet, a woman had to be many things, starting with thin and proceeding relentlessly to attractive and pleasant and a good listener and good company. Young, of course. Still fertile, still cute, with a good body and a decent job and a supportive (but not intrusive) family. The men didn't even have to be sane.

I looked at the clock, the antique pink-and-green enameled clock on chubby gold legs that I'd bought myself for my birthday. It was just after ten. The reunion would be in full swing. Merry Armbruster had called me that afternoon, making one more last-ditch plea for my attendance. "You look fantastic now! And I'm sure everyone's forgotten about...well, you know. We've all grown up. There's other things people will want to talk about."

Thanks but no thanks. I swallowed my vitamins with a glass of water and chased them with a shot of wheatgrass (I'd been drinking the stuff for two years, and it still tasted exactly like pureed lawnmower clippings). I hung up my date uniform, replaced the lace bra with a comfortable cotton one, pulled on my favorite flannel pajamas and a pair of socks, then sat back down on the edge of my bed, suddenly exhausted. Just lately, I'd been thinking a lot about the girl I'd been, and what she would have made of the woman I'd become. I imagined the little me standing at the doorway of my bedroom, once my parents', in a neat cotton sweater and a pleated skirt, dark-brown hair caught in a ponytail and tied with a ribbon that matched her kneesocks. At first she'd be pleased by the rich color of the paint on the bedroom walls, the oil painting that I'd done of a lighthouse casting its beam of gold over the water, hanging above the window. She would like the enameled vase on the bedside table, the crisp linen bedskirt and the trellised iron headboard, but then she'd realize that it was my parents' bedroom. Still here? she'd think, and I'd have to explain how I hadn't meant to stay, how I'd tried to go away to college, how I'd planned to live in a big city, to have boyfriends and an interesting job, to make friends and take trips and have an apartment that I'd decorate with souvenirs and statues and photographs I'd have taken on my travels around the world, how I'd planned on all of that, but somehow...

I rolled onto my side. My blood buzzed, and my thoughts were darting wildly, jumping from my date who'd looked so promising, to the website where I'd found him, to my exboyfriend Vijay, who'd been "ex" for four months, and who'd never exactly been a boyfriend. You couldn't call him a boyfriend, I guess, if we'd been out together in public only once, but I'd loved him with an intensity that I thought — or at least hoped — was reserved for the first man you'd wanted who'd broken your heart.

I squeezed my eyes shut and let my hand rest briefly on my belly, holding my breath as I pressed. Still there. The lump — it was actually more of a stiffness than a lump — was still there, between the ridge of my pubic bone and my belly button. I pushed at it, prodding with my fingertips. It didn't hurt, exactly, but it didn't feel normal, either. I didn't know how long it had been there — for years I'd been so fat I could have been gestating twins and probably not noticed — but I was sure that I knew what it was. Hadn't I watched my own mother die of the samething? First her breasts, then her liver, then her lungs and her bones, then everything, everywhere.

I'd scheduled an appointment with my doctor for next week, the soonest they could take me. The receptionist's chirpy voice had cooled noticeably at my name, and I knew why. Last year I'd called in a panic after my fingers had found an odd-shaped protuberance on the side of my abdomen...which had turned out to be my hipbone. Well, how was I supposed to know? I thought, as sullen as I'd been when the nurse delivered the verdict, then stepped outside the exam room to laugh her stupid highlighted head off. You spend ten years in the neighborhood of three hundred and fifty pounds and see how well you recognize your own bones when you find them again.

Besides, this time it felt different. Big, strangely stiff, growing each day. I knew what it was, and deep down, I'd known that it was coming. Bad luck always found me. I was a bad-luck kind of girl. The cancer had eaten my mother and found her sweet, and now it had returned to Crescent Drive, hoping I'd taste the same. And maybe that wouldn't be so awful, I thought, as I lay on my fancy bedding, staring up at the crown moldings I'd hotglued in place with my birthday clock ticking quietly beside me. I could just give up on everything, starting with Internet dating. No more freaks and geeks and unexpected mustaches; no more regular-looking guys who turned out to be from the Twilight Zone. I could just read, stay in bed eating shortbread cookies and gelato, and wait for the end...and with that, I heard the knock at the door, and I went downstairs to find my best friend standing there, just like old times.

Copyright © 2009 by Jennifer Weiner, Inc.

Meet the Author

Jennifer Weiner
is also the author of the novels Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, which was made into a major motion picture, Little Earthquakes, Goodnight Nobody, and Certain Girls, as well as the short story collection, The Guy Not Taken. A graduate of Princeton University, she lives in Philadelphia with her family.

Brief Biography

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of Birth:
March 28, 1970
Place of Birth:
De Ridder, Louisiana
B.A., Princeton University, 1991

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Best Friends Forever 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 585 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book a lot. It was a quick read, enjoyable, and had a certain amount of mystery/suspense. I didn't love the somewhat abrupt ending. I wanted to know more about how things were sorted out with Jordan, Valerie, Addie, and the others. Not sure if the author is leaving the door open for a follow up book...! Weiner's books are a little formulated, though. There's always a fat girl with 'mousy' hair who manages to slim down, there's always a fabulous friend, and there's a man who 'unexpectedly' becomes a love interest for the fat girl. I do enjoy seeing characters who aren't the typical chick lit read, but I'd like to see it mixed up a little.
NYBeachgal More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of Jennifer Weiner. With the exception of _The Guy Not Taken_, I've greatly enjoyed every one of her books (with _Good in Bed_ and _Certain Girls_ as personal all-time favorites), but this one just did not do it for me, at all ... sadly. There was a brief moment while the two main characters examined the issues in their "breakup" in which I teared up a bit at the thought of the ways my friendship with my first best friend went wrong, but the rest of the book seemed implausible (i.e. "silly"), one-dimensional, and lacking in the depth I usually find beneath Weiner's humor. Though the main character is well defined, all other characters seem like total caricatures with a few who were downright stereotypes. This one is not worth reading, in my opinion.
AuthorKellyMoran More than 1 year ago
Author Jennifer Weiner is the New York Times best-selling author of several books including: Certain Girls, Good in Bed, Little Earthquakes, Goodnight Nobody, The Guy Not Taken, and In Her Shoes (which was made into a major motion picture.) She is a graduate of Princeton University and resides in Philadelphia, PA with her family. When Valerie Adler moved across the street from Addie Downs when they were both nine years old, Addie just knew they'd be best friends forever. But in the wake of an incident and betrayal in high school, the friendship dissolves, leaving Addie as the scapegoat and Val swept into the popular crowd. Fifteen years later, Addie lives alone and Val has found a small measure of success as a weathergirl on the local T.V. station. Addie, caring for a troubled brother and trying the internet dating scene, opens her door to find her long lost best friend, Val, standing there with blood on her sleeve and a horrified expression. When it comes to friendship, some bonds can never be broken. This is a work of literary fiction with romantic elements, and Jennifer Weiner fans won't be let down. This book is unique because it is not only told in first-person point-of-view by Addie, but also third-person by Jordan, and jumps from past to present smoothly, telling the back story in fragments. Targeted to be humorous and heart-breaking, it delivers a punch to your solar plexus that will remain with you long after the book is closed. Very few authors understand the human condition, our responses to stress, and the inner workings of our minds like Jennifer Weiner can. The over-eating, neglect, disappointment, and depression suffered by her characters will leave you in tears and wondering if they are real. The secondary characters were phenomenal adds to the storyline. You'll fall in love with Jordan and all his quirks. The romance elements were sweet and realistic. The plot flowed well and there were no dead spots. I would like to see this targeted not only for adults, but for the young adult market too, as they can learn a lot about the consequences of the choices they make and how much of an impact negativity can have on others. Best Friends Forever, by Jennifer Weiner, is a riveting portrayal of friendship, love, family, loyalty, and betrayal. A guaranteed laugh and cry! Kelly Moran, Author and Reviewer
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That book was good
aimlyss More than 1 year ago
Quick, easy read. I like Jennifer Weiner books, but this wasn't one of my favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An OK book by one of my favorite authors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was expecting a lot more from this book. The plot was boring and not creative. I was able to guess a lot of what was going to happen in the beginning. There just wasn't much to it. Don't really recommend.
Jennmarie68 More than 1 year ago
I really connected with this story. Having just passed 10 years out of high school I find myself thinking about people I haven't seen in years and what they are doing now. So reading a story about two friends who had lost touch and have been reconnected was something that really resonated with me. I connected with Addie, the main character. Even though she has made some changes to her life since high school, she is still pretty much the same person she was. She's shy and she lives her life without trying to cause too many ripples. Given the circumstances that surrounded her path to where she is in life at this point, I think that I would have made some of the very same decisions. I didn't like Valerie at the beginning of the story, but as the story progressed she kind of grew on me, as I've known people in similar positions and I almost felt sympathy for her. Even though the story is told from Addie's perspective Valerie is very much the catalyst that keeps the story going. The writing was pretty good. The story jumps between the past and the present and also jumps between a few different locations. While this jumping can sometimes lead to a very disconnected story it was very well executed in this book. The flashbacks help to explain the time gaps between high school and the present. They also help build the story behind Val and Addie. The characters were very believable. The plot was a bit on the crazy side, but after I got to know Valerie I started to think that she's the kind of person that really could get herself into something like this. This one really played with my emotions, as I really wanted to dislike Val but ended up feeling kind of sorry for her. Plus as we learn about Addie I really could let myself become her as I was reading. I even pictured her to be almost like me. The other characters were kind of two-dimensional, but because their importance to the story was limited I think they didn't need to be well-rounded. I really liked this one.
Hch47 More than 1 year ago
Great book to read on a rainy day or just want to escape to another world. This is the first time I have read one of Jennifer Weiner's books but this book made me a fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everything Jennifer Weiner writes is a winner:)
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bookgrl05 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book initially, but as the 'plot' progressed the story dragged entirely too long; it was difficult to finish reading it.
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great story! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
loved it
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