Sarah Dessen. Although I know she has what can only be described as a ‘cult following’ I somehow have completely by-passed any of her novels. It wasn’t even really a conscious decision on my part – I simply never picked one up; partly because I have somewhat high standards for contemporary YA novels (which usually never measure up), and partly because I am a slacker. That said, she’s been on my radar for quite a bit now and since I knew her books mainly dealt with relationships, I thought it might be fun to try one out during February for Literary Love. Alas, that plan did not work out, but when a copy of The Truth About Forever literally fell into my lap (thank you library gods!), I dived right in but honestly, not really expecting too much.
In the year and a half since Macy’s father has passed away, she’s figured out precisely when someone is about to give her The Look. The Look happens after someone realizes she is that girl who lost her dad horribly, who will then go on to pat her on the arm sympathetically and say “I’m sorry” in a pitying tone. Macy has come to detest the Look. Like her mother Macy has gone out of her way to avoid it by not only always appearing perfectly fine, just fine but in complete control of every detail in her life. She’s attached herself to the perfect boyfriend, Mr. Model teen Jason, and plans to spend her summer working at the Library Information Desk (which will look exceedingly good on college applications) while said boyfriend heads off to a summer camp for the super-smart.
A few days at the information desk leave Macy feeling inadequate and scared of the other plastic-perfect girls who work there, she agrees to work for a small catering company called Wish on the side where she meets the excessively pregnant and eternally-stressed Delia, Kristy who takes partying and fashion as seriously as a brain tumor, the apocalypse-obsessed Bert, Monotone Monica, and the sa-woon worthy Wes who knows exactly how it feels to lose a loved one. In the midst of constant catering chaos, Macy finds herself loosening, exploring truth and learning that some things just happen without any planning at all.
After finishing The Truth About Forever I can see why Sarah Dessen is such a beloved author. Although quite long, Macy’s story was intensely readable with each unique character voice effortlessly shining through. It becomes very obvious from the beginning that Dessen aced Relationships 101 in writers boot-camp (they don’t have that? Well, they should). Not one character, particularly Macy, was rushed into developing too quickly or too soon – everyone peaked at just the right time. This coupled with a knack for building emotional tension, went a long ways in producing some highly believable and often downright poignant scenes. Macy in her frazzled quest for perfection was adorable and even periodically heart-wrenching and her late-night confessions with Wes were truly something special. Unlike many other novels, The Truth About Forever had this whole quiet-yet-stable-yet-everything-is-about-to-EXPLODE vibe that I could easily sink into. To be perfectly honest, I think I enjoyed this book because I've been in a bit of a slump of late and really needed something light with an obvious happily ever after. And I must admit that after reading The Truth About Forever, I’m more than ready to go pick up Dessen's entire backlist. Like right now.
Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
Book Addiction review
Dear Author review
Out of the Blue Book Reviews
book source: my local library