Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: Friendship on Fire by Danielle Weiler

Title: Friendship on Fire
Author: Danielle Weiler
Pages: 471
Publisher: Sid Harta Publishers
Release Date: March 1, 2011
The first few days of year 12 are disastrous for school captain Daisy Brooks.

But Daisy’s life takes a sudden turn when she is dared by Skye, the leader of the Blonde Brigade, to meet the mysterious, drop-dead gorgeous stranger, Nate, from rival school Addison Grammar. Daisy’s instant attraction to him disrupts her world. But what about her best friend Roman? How will he respond to this intruder?

Daisy is a vulnerable, yet fiery girl going through the chaotic phase between teenage and adulthood. She is about to discover the complexities of relationships, the etiquette of friendship and, most of all, her development as a woman.

Is it too late for Daisy to realise that the choices she makes shapes who she is and who she will become?

My Thoughts (minor spoilers): Friendship on Fire is one of the longer YA contemporaries I've read. There were times in the beginning of the novel where I found myself easily putting it down. The story was a bit slow-going, and I couldn't bring myself to become totally invested, which I figured was all a result of the novel's length. Once I got to a certain point later on, though, I realized it was mostly the main character Daisy who had been holding me back. Don't get me wrong. I do think Friendship on Fire could have still achieved the same message had it been shorter, but for me, it was Daisy and her relationships with the other characters that ultimately determined how I felt as I read the book. And while it took me some time to warm up to Daisy, as I got closer and closer to the end I kept wishing more pages would magically appear in my copy. I became that attached to Daisy's story.

Like I mentioned, Daisy initially wasn't my favorite character. I can appreciate a character who is strong-willed and has a fiery personality; however, it was the choices she made that were kind of a turn off. As I got further into the novel, I realized they weren't choices that most of us probably haven't made in our lives, and I began to accept the way things were happening. So, while it can still be a bit frustrating, Daisy's experiences were a necessary part of growing up, just like with any one else. She wouldn't have learned from her naive mistakes if she didn't go through all the situations she did. And comparing the person she was before to the person she is now, it's clear that she has matured greatly. It's a pretty amazing transformation.

Other than the two boys in her life (who I'll mention in a bit), Daisy's relationships with others evolved throughout the novel as well. Certain characters really surprised me in a good way, others in a completely bad way. There was one relationship that was constant throughout, and it was Daisy's relationship with her family. I love how her parents and older brothers were there for her and looked out for her. They let her figure things out on her own, even when they worried she wasn't making the best decisions. It was just great knowing that Daisy had a close and supportive family when she going through some important changes in her life.

Friendship on Fire is a bit like stories we've seen before. There's a girl (Daisy) who falls for the hot and douche-y guy (Nate) and can't see that her best friend (Roman) is actually the perfect guy for her. We know it'll either end badly or...yeah, who are we kidding? Even before reading it, I already had an idea of where Daisy's relationship with Nate was headed. It wasn't such of a surprise. What did surprise me was that I ended up feeling a bit sorry for Nate. Maybe I wasn't suppose to, but I did. Finding out about his home life made me understand why he became the person he is today. It doesn't excuse his behavior because he can definitely decide whether or not to be influenced by the people around him. I do believe his relationship with Daisy might have made him see things differently, and although I'm not sure how much he has changed or is willing to change as result, hopefully Nate realizes that it's not to late for him to become a better person. (Or maybe I'm all wrong about him and he just managed to manipulate me like he did Daisy and deserves to be miserable! Gahh!)

Now, Roman. The best friend, the good guy, the underdog. Oh, Roman. Even though I knew he was the better choice for Daisy, I can't say that I felt much of anything for him in the beginning. Honestly, and I feel bad now for saying this, I remember thinking that he must be a pretty pathetic guy for still obviously pining over a girl who didn't seem like the greatest friend. I think the reason I didn't care about him was because I was seeing him through Daisy's eyes. Since she dismissed his feelings and her focus was always elsewhere, I didn't get to really know him. It led me not to care about him or give him a second thought. I was so wrong about him. Roman ended up being part of why I didn't want the book to end. He's definitely the perfect guy for Daisy. For many reasons, actually. I thought he was sweet and attentive. It just amazes me that, while I had zero interest in him at first, I was seriously swooning over him by the end! I love that! And I love that Daisy was able to realize that he's a very good friend and that she needed to appreciate him the way he deserves to be appreciated.

It took some time for me to get completely hooked into Friendship on Fire, but when it happened, I couldn't bring myself to put it down. Whether my initial feelings were because of the pacing and length or even the characters, I thought it was all worth it in the end. I really liked Daisy's gradual development into a mature character, and I'm happy with how things turned out for her and certain other characters. I'm usually impressed with Australian authors, and Danielle Weiler is no exception. I'm not sure if there's another novel by her in the works, but if there is, I'm looking forward it!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Thanks to Danielle Weiler for the chance to read FoF!

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of friendship turning into more. I always love contemp romances with that theme. Lovely review, Alexa. :)