Books
3:50 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Wisconsin Native Puts a Young Adult Spin on 'When Harry Met Sally'

Lake Effect's Mitch Teich interviews author Elizabeth Eulberg.

The iconic 1989 romantic comedy “When Harry Met Sally," starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, asked a pretty adult question: “Can a man and a woman be just friends?”

Twenty-five years later, a new novel for young adult is trying tries to take on that very same premise. 

Wisconsin native Elizabeth Eulberg is the author of “Better Off Friends," about two "friends at first sight" Macallan and Levi.

Elizabeth Eulberg's "Better Off Friends" is her first book set in her home state of Wisconsin.
Credit Point

Everyone says guys and girls can't be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan's friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they're best friends -- which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't keep getting in each other's way. Guys won't ask Macallan out because they think she's with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can't help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again -- and one kiss away from true love?

Eulberg says she hopes her story will inspire her young readers to watch the "timeless story" that inspired her - even if the film's "so dated with the fashion."

She even took inspiration from the classic Crystal-Ryan banter in the film to show how Macallan and Levi's friendship grows.

"I think there's something very special about listening to a couple just talk and reminisce because I think it shows how they are toward each other, what the relationship is," she says. "So I wanted to have those little vignettes, especially at the beginning of the book, so people could see what they are like now."

This is the first book Eulberg, who grew up in Portage, Wis., has set in her home state (in an unnamed Milwaukee suburb), and she says the setting became a character, in a way.

"When you grow up somewhere you kind of end up realizing what is so special about where you live until you leave it," she says. 

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