REVIEW: The Darlings Are Forever by Melissa Kantor


Jane, Victoria, and Natalya. Together, they are the Darlings. Best friends forever. They have matching necklaces, their own table at Ga Ga Noodle, and even a shared motto: May you always do what you’re afraid of doing.

When the friends begin freshman year at three different high schools in distant corners of New York City, they promise to live by their motto and stay as close as ever. The Darlings know they can get through anything as long as they have each other. But doing scary new things is a lot easier with your friends beside you. And now that the girls aren’t spending all their time together, everything they took for granted about their friendship starts to feel less certain. They can’t help but wonder, will they really be the Darlings forever?

About the Author

I was born in New York City, but I didn’t grow up here. When I turned eight, we moved to Long Island. So I still think teenagers who actually live in New York are way cooler than I could ever hope to be.


  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (January 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423123689
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423123682

ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT  **slight spoilers**

May you always do what you are afraid of doing!

This is the motto of three girls together from grade school and now off to separate high schools.  This trio now has to face life without the support of each other on a daily basis.  They each go their own way and have to make choices about how they want their lives to go now.

Jane, who wants to be an actress ends up at the High School for the Performing Arts.  She gets a part in a main stage play, which is rare for a freshman.  She ends up a little bit over her head and imagines her director has feelings for her which in reality are just his way of supporting her in a difficult part.

Natalya, probably my favorite, ends up a scholarship student at a fancy private high school where she tries hard to fit in with the in crowd.  These new friends end up using her and causing problems for Victoria. Natalya tries so hard to be everything to everyone and when she finally finds herself noticed (for all the wrong reasons), she has a true learning experience.

Victoria, the perfect one, well, not in her eyes, but that is how she is viewed by her family.  She normally keeps to herself and her long trusted friends, but when thrust into public high school by herself, she loses her identity.  Victoria's father is running for Senate, so everything she does is now front page news.  Innocent, normal teenage issues cause her untold grief.

The story unites the friends through all of these issues and strengthens the bond between them at the end.  The Darlings, as they have named themselves, all have major learning lessons in the story.  I read this one straight through and if you are looking for a book to give a young teen, this should be your pick.  This is one of the few books that don't have a lot of romance, but show what really happens to 14 year old girls when they face the world on their own.  It is just so positive how Kantor has the girls work through their issues and remain friends.  I cheered for them throughout the book.

This one is probably safe for those over 12.  There is one instance of drinking at a party, yet the girls left as soon as they realized it.  Not much romance and just once instance of a school girl crush on a teacher that the teacher handled perfectly.  Of course, there is a safe sex lesson in here with one scene about how to use a condom with a banana.  I really recommend this one to everyone!

I received this book at no cost from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


  1. Looks like a good read for middle grade. I always thought NY city teens in novels seemed very cool too.

  2. I would have absolutely eaten this up with a spoon when I was in middle school . . . .


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