May 28, 2015

Review: Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer
Publication date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received ARC via Edelweiss (Thanks!)
Summary: BEFORE: It was the perfect summer of first kisses, skinny-dipping, and bonfires by the lake. Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe knew their final summer at Camp Okahatchee would come to an end, but they swore they’d stay friends. AFTER: Now, two years later, their bond has faded along with those memories. THEN: That is, until the fateful flash of a photo booth camera transports the four of them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen—the summer everything changed. NOW: The girls must recreate the past in order to return to the present. As they live through their second-chance summer, the mystery behind their lost friendship unravels, and a dark secret threatens to tear the girls apart all over again. ALWAYS: Summers end. But this one will change them forever. (goodreads.com)

The good
I’m just going to put this out there - you will have to suspend your disbelief for Proof of Forever. This isn’t always a bad thing but I wasn’t expecting to have to do that (which is my fault for not reading the synopsis carefully) and I admit, it did affect my reading experience a bit. Still, I’m a fan of books that deal with friendships and I have a particular soft spot for groups of four friends. And when it comes down to it, the heart of this book is Joy, Tali, Luce and Zoe. These four girls were best friends and the last and fondest memory they have of each other was their last summer spent at Camp Okahatchee. They were so sure that nothing would change. But two years later, they’ve all completely drifted away. Then a camp reunion night brings them together again and when they get roped into taking a photobooth picture, the flash of the camera transports them back in time to that last summer when they were 15. Now they’re stuck in the past and have to recreate certain events to get back to the present. This second-chance could either be the worst thing or the best thing that’s happened to them.

Time-traveling antics aside, the emotion between these girls resonated with me. I had friends in high school who I genuinely thought would be my “best friends forever” and then literally dropped out of my life randomly during senior year. It’s painful to lose friends, but even more painful when you don’t even know why it happened in the first place. The girls in this book are definitely feeling that and despite the hurt and even anger between them, there’s this deep undercurrent of missing their friendship. This second chance summer is about reconnecting but also rediscovering themselves as individuals. Experiencing the summer when they were 15 through the eyes of 17 year olds lets them see things in a way they hadn’t before. It reminds me of those letters/questions about “what would you tell your younger self?”. These girls get to be their younger selves and change things for the better.

(Some) Reservations
I genuinely loved the themes in this book about friendship, individuality and second chances but I wasn’t fond of the overall execution. The girls spend a lot of time at odds with each other and with themselves. I expected them to band together more and when they finally did, it was towards the end of the book. I wasn’t expecting the road to becoming friends again to be easy but I did feel like it should’ve happened sooner. Then while I did feel for what each girl was going through, I didn’t connect. It might’ve been a mix of having the four different perspectives or the length of the book (it was pretty short!). I just knew I wanted more time with each girl and more time to watch their reconnection flourish.

Do I recommend?
This is kind of tough. I don’t know if I’d personally recommend it to any of my friends but at the same time, I do love the messages in this book. If you’re interested, I’d say borrow it from the library. (And then tell me what you think!)

Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

What's your favorite summer camp movie?
My favorite summer camp movie is Parent Trap, the Lindsay Lohan version. She's so perfect and funny in it! Plus I love Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson as the parents. If you haven't seen this movie yet, you should. 

6 comments:

  1. Ooo I love the Parent Trap! Another one I love (which is kinda about camping) is Cheaper by the Dozen 2 :P and glad you kind of liked this one–I’ve heard some mixed reviews and definitely will keep in mind when reading this one to suspend my disbelief! (that way it kind of reminds me of Don’t You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire). Great review!!

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  2. I read Proof of Forever a couple of months ago and I agree with everything that you've said here. The themes and the characterization were all great but I just didn't empathize or connect with any of the girls.

    Great review, Chelly!

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  3. parent trap was the movie of my childhood! i watched it at least a hundred times one summer. no joke, i watched it two to three times a day. leaves me with lots and lots of ~nostalgic~ feelings!

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  4. I've been hearing really mixed reviews about this one - but I feel like I'm going to opt-out. I don't think I can suspend reality so much, and I'm not sure if I can roll with the slow progression of friendship!
    -Willa

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  5. Well, you know that I wound up really liking Proof of Forever! I do agree that it requires a suspension of belief, but that was pretty easy for me to do. I really love that it's about four friends, and I liked each of their individual stories a lot - which is probably why I super enjoyed it!

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  6. I can't believe you and Alexa like the remake of The Parent Trap. What about Hayler Mills?! (great review otherwise lol)

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