April 25, 2013

Latest Read: The Truth About Forever

Here are the basics ...
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Publication date: May 11, 2004
Publisher: Penguin Group, Inc.
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Purchased

Summary: A long, hot summer - that's what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at camp. Days will be spent at a boring library job, evenings will be filled with SAT vocabulary drills, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy's father. But sometimes unexpected things can happen—like a the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or meeting Wes, a boy with a past and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl's world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry? (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: The first Sarah Dessen book I read was Someone Like You (after I watched that awful movie adaptation, How To Deal) and that was over five years ago. I wasn't sure if I wanted to read another but a couple very good friends said I should. And I'm glad I listened. The Truth About Forever is about Macy, who has tried to turn herself into the perfect girl since the death of her father nearly two years ago. She follows every single rule set by her workaholic mother, is a dutiful girlfriend to her genius boyfriend Jason and lives an extremely structured life. In other words, she's not really living at all and is having a hard time dealing with her grief. Not that she'll admit it. But then Jason decides they need to go on a break (how I hated this guy!) and on a whim, she takes a catering job with the Wish crew who worked at one of her mother's events. That's the moment her life begins to change. The people she meets at Wish are everything she's not. Disorganized, open and completely themselves. It's through her relationships with them that she starts to figure out what she wants.

Macy was so easy to connect with. I understood her need to do things "perfectly" and live up to her mother's expectations. But the minute she joined the Wish crew, I felt incredibly excited for her. I wanted her to come out of her shell and just live. Have her own set of friends and forget about her ridiculously unfeeling boyfriend. (Did I mention I didn't like him?) I loved the friendships she formed with Kristy, Monica, Bert, Delia and most of all, Wes. They were all such unique characters but Wes was definitely my favorite. This was one of the most naturally progressing relationships I've read in a contemporary YA book. Even though Macy immediately finds him attractive, they become friends first. And we actually get to spend the entire book watching them get to know each other. They had such revealing and funny and honest conversations. I wish I had a guy I could talk to like that!

But the heart of the book was grief and the many different ways people deal (or not deal) with those feelings. The author portrayed this beautifully. And not just through Macy either. We see other characters dealing with the loss of loved ones and even through Macy's strained relationship with her mom. It just felt incredibly real to me because you get such a strong sense of how painful and awkward and difficult it was.

(Super minor) reservations: The last chapter. Everything was so natural and I'd almost say perfect until then. It felt a bit rushed in comparison to the pacing of everything that came before. I really wanted more time with Macy and Wes, especially in the aftermath of the big moment I spent an entire book waiting for.

Do I recommend?: I do! I wish that had been my first Sarah Dessen book because it was great and exceeded all my expectations. I though I'd be in for something light and heartwarming but it turned out to be so much more deep and introspective. I really, really enjoyed it.

Happy reading!

11 comments:

  1. I just picked up this book to read today, and now I'm looking forward to reading it even more! This will be my first Sarah Dessen book, and based on the fact that you said you wished this was your first Dessen book, I think I made a good choice. Thanks for the great review! :)

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  2. This was my first Dessen book! I think I actually just wrote a review for it. I pretty much felt the same as you... while I wanted more Wes and Macy at the end, I loved watching their friendship grow. To me that's so much fun! And yes... Jason.. ugh! couldn't stand him! Great review! Hopefully you'll find some other Dessen novels to fall in love with! :)

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    1. I bought a second one recently.. I think Along For the Ride? I really should check haha. But if it's anything like this one, I think I will love it!

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  3. This was my first Dessen book, like Candice, and I loved it. It was what got me obsessed with Dessen in the first place! I think that her writing is lovely, and the way Wes and Macy are portrayed is spot on. Glad you enjoyed it (and it was totally worth the $1!)

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    1. Wait, I can't remember - was this the $1 one? Or was it a different book? LOL, my memory is shot apparently.

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    2. LOL different book. Along for the Ride (I think?) was $1.

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  4. I'm so glad you have such good things to say about this book! I had been putting off Sarah Dessen for forever, but I caved and decided to give her shot. Everyone suggested starting with this book, so I went and bought it! I have yet to read it, but your review makes me more anxious to start it!

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    1. Same exact thing with me! I put off her books for a really long time and then everyone suggested this one. Def a good first book :) Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!

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  5. Yeah Im glad you like it! This one wasn't my favorite Dessen book, I really liked Lock & Key and Just Listen, but I did like this one (What Happened to Goodbye also wasn't a hit with me). I can't wait for The Moon and More!!

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  6. This was my first Sarah Dessen book and the one that turned me on to her. I have read every book she's written since then. I loved the catering company. I also love that Dessen hints to characters from other books.

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