Cover Image: with your friends.

with your friends.

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Member Reviews

I appreciated the story this novel told and the messages of friendship and found family, but it felt like the characters could have been fleshed out a bit more other than "we all have problems we are dealing with." What I didn't enjoy was how repetitive sentences could be within the same paragraph. It sometimes felt like the author was just trying to fill space and meet a word count.

This doesn't factor into my review since this was an ARC and I hope it was fixed prior to publication, but I would get incredibly frustrated when the author would say "than" instead of "then" (which happened frequently).

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CW: Depression, anxiety, suicide attempt (side character, off page), divorce, past homophobia and assault of a side character described by another side character, death of child of side character, grief

It was a very coming of age novel. Peter gets to find himself and where he fits in this world and it was an interesting journey to take with him. The book is very realistic and had relatable characters to back it up. This is a queer book that remind me of "the perks of being an wallflower"!

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With Your Friends follows Peter Hansen on his last year of High School. His family is falling apart and he has no friends, but one day while sitting alone at a café Mallory, Kevin, and the mysterious Ryan come into his life. For the first time ever Peter will know what it is to have friends, and that everyone seems to be far from living a happy life.

William Grant does an exceptional job with detail, he describes every scene vividly and it becomes easy to imagine yourself immersed in the story. The distinct personality every character has is refreshing, they are all represented with struggles and attributes that make their relationship with Peter seem unique from one another. With Your Friends is a slow burn specially when it comes to the romance. But just as Peter finds all of Brooke’s quotes inside his closet, this feels as if you come across Peter’s journal and behind reading it. It becomes a book of certain moments of Peter’s daily life instead of having a clear plot and purpose.

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Sorry. This one just didn’t work for me. I found the dialogue really stilted and nothing was really happening and I stopped reading around 20%

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Wow! What a wonderful reading experience! Many complex characters you root for, a touching romance, LOTS of angst, all the feels, and a satisfying and realistic resolution. Peter is a sensitive and winning narrator, who happens to be gay. Interestingly, and refreshingly, his being gay is never one of the many issues that the book raises--nor is his sweet relationship with Ryan, which develops slowly and naturally--as it must given Ryan's fragile state The novel focuses on the fallout from Peter's parents failing marriage and the compensations he finds in his found family of Mallory, Kevin, and Ryan. I loved the device of Brooke's writing on the wall and Peter's connection to it. And loved Mrs. Stroud--that teacher we all had (I hope) who made a difference in our lives.

Since this is a first novel, I wasn't surprised to find a few things that bothered me.--the odd lapses in spelling (than for then, alter for altar) that I assume will be fixed in a later edition of the book. The author does not give us a clear sense of time or place. Is it the early 2000s? People use their phones as phones; there is not much texting going on. The music is either "rap" or "a slow song" or Van Morrison. More specificity with these details would be helpful. In terms of plot, we get to a point just over halfway through when we begin to wonder: Okay, what ELSE bad could possibly happen.?"

These are all minor quibbles. The writing is spare and direct which is a nice contrast with all of the bad stuff that happens to people here. The author avoids tying up all of the loose ends; but gives us a nice realistic sense of closure. They were characters I was sad to leave at the end of the book and I very much look forward to reading more from this author--particularly as a fellow Chicagoan!

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Peter is stuck feeling alone during his parents increasingly toxic fighting, until he's approached in a coffee shop by three kids from a neighboring high school. Mallory is a vibrant girl who loves photography and her best friend Kevin. Kevin works hard to help his brother Jeremy pay for their needs after the loss of their parents, and Ryan is a quiet, sensitive boy who suffers from depression. The three of them pull Peter into their friend group, and the four friends help each other navigate their senior year of high school which is difficult for each of them in different ways.

"with your friends." is a beautifully sensitive exploration into some of the most painful parts of life, and what it looks like to keep living through them. Through deeply tragic snapshots of pain, Grant shows his characters in their most raw moments, and carves a path for each of them to explore their pain and come out on the other side through the help of family and friends.

This novel isn't perfect. There are some continuity errors, and the writing is a bit clunky in places, but it's the authors first novel, and for a first novel I think it's pretty great. Some of the prose is captivating, and the message has so much heart.

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I manged to finish this one pretty quickly, which was good because I realized about halfway through I wasn't in love with it. It's a good book, but not one that was entirely for me. My biggest issue is that there isn't an actual plot so to speak, it's mostly just characters going through their lives. Which is just wasn't enough to make me fully invest in anything when the book is basically all character development, no story. I love melodrama, but by the middle of the book it felt like there was just too much of it to go around with every single character.

The book does touch on some heavy themes though, which is where I do think the character driven aspect of it shines versus it being baked into to an overarching plot.

The romance is alright, it takes a while for it to happen but I wouldn't qualify it as a slow burn. You never really spend time with the two characters, it's mostly just the main character slowly starting to say to himself that he's interested in the other person. The love interest is silent for 75% of the book, save for small smiles at the main character which made sense for his story, but wasn't exactly compelling to read.

Overall, it wasn't my favorite but it wasn't my least favorite. If you're looking for a quick read with slightly heavy themes, this might be the book for you.

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