On the jacket:
Five young children - two girls and three boys - all with strikingly different looks and talents, meet at the elite Atwood school. There is Billy, with a full head of curly red hair, who refuses to go anywhere without his toy football. And Sean, a dark-haired boy with striking blue eyes, who hopes to one day be sheriff. Petite Gabrielle is already a blonde bombshell, while her counterpart Izzie keeps her brown hair pulled back in braids and her outfits neat and business-like. And finally, there's well-mannered, blond Andy, with a serious demeanour beyond his years. Together, these children become an inseparable group - known to outsiders as 'The Big Five'.
They lean on one another through all of the bumps and bends of their childhood years, including parental divorce, drinking, drugs, and even death. But when the tight-knit group parts ways after their graduation, their lives veer off in different directions. Tragedy hits when they are separated, and some of the friends are lost forever...
The ones who remain will have to deal with the fallout, because 'The Big Five' - which they thought would always stay strong - is no longer. While some of the friends are crushed by this Stark new reality, others will be surprised to find love and hope where they least expect it...
At one point of time, I have adored Danielle Steel. Loved reading her books, devouring them. But of late I find her books falling into the stereotype where perfect people with perfect lives, have a life shattering experience and pick up from there emerging as winners. Friends Forever is on similar lines. What makes it a decent read, however, is it's theme. Friendship. Billy, Sean, Izzie, Gabby and Andy meet in the first day of their school, each different from the other, yet they strike a bond which goes on forever.
The characters are two perfect, so are their lives and families. Even when something is a little less perfect, situations make them seem perfect. The five kids are shown to grow up through school and later. A few go to college and a few don't. The shocker comes when they start dying. First Gabby is killed in a road mishap, then her boyfriend from childhood, Billy. Then Andy commits suicide. The two surviving friends end up sleeping with each other. The entore stream of events seem very bizzare.
Not the usual Danielle Steel book, like the ones I have grown up reading in my late teens, but a quick read.
[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]