The Worst Best Friend
by Nicole Snow
“The Worst Best Friend” is part of a series of interconnected standalone stories by Nicole Snow. The series is known as the ‘Knights of Dallas’, because they all take place in Dallas, North Dakota. Weston, one of the main characters in this book, had an important secondary role in ‘The Hero I Need’, which was the prior book in the series. However, you do not need to have read that book in order to enjoy this one.
Weston (West) and Rachel (frequently Shelly or Shel) have been the best of friends – along with her brother – since they were fairly young. I’m not going to write much about the plot because it’s full of things you really should discover at the pace that the author intended. Trust her process! This author also has a distinct writing style that gives a powerful sense of immediacy and energy to each scene. The story is told in dual POV, which is really helpful for understanding what the main characters are thinking and feeling.
Rachel is an extraordinarily smart young woman. She’s deeply fascinated by history and by West, whom she adores with all her heart. She’s 16 when she learns that West is shipping out; he enlisted in the Army. A couple years later, she leaves their small town to pursue the education and dreams she had as a kid. After college she continues to try to meet expectations others have for her. When he left for boot camp, West made Rachel a promise that he broke, pulverizing their friendship and breaking her heart. When a family obligation brings Rachel home to Dallas for a couple of months, she braces herself to see him. West is now a military veteran whose experiences profoundly changed and affected him. His struggle to regain and retain control of his life is simultaneously heartbreaking and inspirational. Rachel and West each try to maintain distance from one another. The chemistry between them that used to be friendship (eventually, with the start of a more grown-up awareness) still burns bright … now in extremely adult ways.
There are criminals in this story, and you might be able to identify them but you won’t really know who they are. That might sound cryptic, but if you read the book you’ll understand. There are suspiciously stinky snacks, wicked weeds, fantastic friends, spectacular senior citizens, mammoth monster trucks and a hellacious, hilarious hog. Some moments will have you loudly laughing, and other moments may make you cry. At different times – and occasionally at the same time – you’ll want to reach into the book and shake both Rachel and West. The secondary characters will help you survive until the main characters get themselves sorted out. I absolutely loved the ending! I hope we’ll be going back to Dallas, North Dakota again. After all, Rachel’s brother really needs his story told.