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ARC They’re strictly Friends by Chloe Liese

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Elodie and Lucas… You broke me! I am trying to calm myself after finishing this story so that I can write a proper review. This book is very emotional, be sure that it will tug at your heartstrings. 

I absolutely loved this story, I mean what’s not to love about an inclusive book that talks about disability accurately, and describes love so beautifully making you feel all the emotions !

If you’re a fan of The Flatshare, you’d totally love this book – it just addresses more sensitive topics.

Let’s sum up the plot shall we ? 

They’re Strictly Friends is a friends-to-lovers romance staring Lucas and Elodie. These two were introduced by their friends and they didn’t really get along. Until they do start to get along and not only that,- they form a deep emotional bond. While Lucas gets some devastating news at the beginning you’ll still keep rooting for them to find their way to each other. Lucas and Elodie try everything to deny their attraction to each other, but once they succumb to it, there shouldn’t be a going back. I emphasized the shouldn’t because Lucas is an extremely stubborn character who definitely doesn’t want to hurt Elodie with his secret disability. Will they be able to overcome his stubbornness ? His disability ? 

The characters and their relationship: 

Lucas has been given news that will greatly impact his future. He feels immense bitterness and anger over his disability. You will definitely feel his pain and understand his thoughts when you know what he has to deal with. His denial felt very realistic and not frustrating at all. I liked how he learned to handle what will come, and admired how he longed to still be independent despite it. 

I loved how British Lucas was, with his stiff upper lip and his love of drinking a drink during a crisis. I adored how he cared and supported the people he truly loved. But most of all, I loved how he wanted to protect Elodie and her feelings all the time. He didn’t want to „drag“ her into the mess his life has become and I found that so sweet and adorable. 

Elodie is a hard worker determined to stand on her two feet without relying on her parents’ help, which really made me admire her. Her love for Lucas was truly inspiring and I grinned every time the two of them bickered. Elodie is french, so there’s a clash of opinion at times, which was cute and funny. 

The term „it’s complicated“ is perfect for the relationship these two are in. Lucas pushing Elodie away, them getting back together and so on was a good portion of the book. Again, I’m not judging. I definitely understood Lucas, so him pushing Elodie away but finally giving in to love was  a realistic action. 

This couple struggled with real issues that couples face all the time. They had to navigate dealing with loss in numerous aspects while trying to navigate falling in love when the odds were against them. We do find that they manage a life together that is comfortable, and at times quite steamy.

They are truly fighting for their love and their relationship, which shows how raw this book really is. 

I am rating this book with 4 stars while raving about it , so why am I abducting 1 star ? 

I was honestly annoyed by Lucas mentioning Elodie’s butt in every chapter, over and over again. I found it odd that every character freely talked about their sex lives with others, which is to an extent okay. But parents talking about it to their own kids? Definitely weird. 

Also, we know that Elodie dealt with quite a hard loss, so I would have loved to see how she coped with that, and what her feelings were. Instead the author pushed these emotions aside and only mentioned the loss briefly. That was quite disappointing. 

To sum it up, I highly enjoyed this book and can recommend it to you with good conscience ! The fact that the author includes a disability and writes about it so accurately, shows how important it is to talk about disabilities in general and how to live with them. The book has so much depth and heart, the characters deal with some real life issues and it touches you in many ways. 

What did you think about this book ?

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