Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Published: 2006

Pages: 400

Book Source: Library Borrow

In The Truth About Forever, when asked how she is coping with her father's death, invariably seventeen year old Macy Queen's answer is "fine," when nothing could be further from the truth. In actuality, she is drowning in grief while maintaining a flawless fa├žade of good grades and unblemished behavior. Though she feels lost when her boyfriend heads to "Brain Camp" for the summer, she finds herself a job with the quirky Wish Catering crew, and meets "sa-woon"-worthy Wes, whose chaotic lifestyle is in direct opposition to her own. As the two share their stories over the summer, Macy realizes she can no longer keep her feelings on ice. Though it feels like her future ended with her dad's death, Macy's learns that forever is all about beginnings. Dessen charts Macy's navigation of grief in such an honest way it will touch every reader who meets her.

I've now enjoyed 3 Dessen novels, Along For The Ride, Just Listen, and The Truth About Forever would have to be my favourite. I don't read a lot of contemporary YA so I do have to remind myself when reading Dessen's stories that these are not action-packed, page turning YA fiction. All 3 books have followed a similar theme; addressing a serious subject matter in a very realistic, real-life manner that is relatable for teens and older readers alike. My only complaint is I could have done without the overuse of some corny dialogue like "sa-woon" and "donneven" but that could be due to the fact I'm a few decades past my teen years :-)

When Macy's father suffers a massive heart attack and dies, Macy squashes down all her emotions, and locks up her grief and guilt behind a rigid wall of perfection that her mother approves of. Dessen gives us an insightful look at a young woman keeping up a pretense of a happy life, pleasing everyone except herself and the lengths someone grieving can go to to protect themselves from actually feeling. "Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that's what makes you strong."

The Truth About Forever is another character driven novel but the refreshing thing about this one is the injection of fun provided by the characters of the chaotic and quirky Wish Catering company. I really loved what owner Delia, and staff Kristy, Bert, Monica & Wes brought to the story and the lightbulb they turned on for Macy. Wes and Macy's  friendship was really sweet and there were some very perceptive conversations between the two of them which I loved. With the help of her new friends and the blossoming love between her and Wes, Macy finally realises the moment you are living now is your forever.

"Life can be long or short, it all depends on how you choose to live it. it's like forever, always changing. For any of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now. You can never know for sure, so you'd better make every second count. What you have to decide is how you want your life to be. If your forever was ending tomorrow, is this how you'd want to have spent it?"

Honest, hopeful and far from depressing, The Truth About Forever left me with a smile on my face.

Visit Sarah Dessen's website and blog to find out more about this wonderful author.




To celebrate blogging friendships & my birthday two lucky readers can take their pick from a choice of 6 books in my Dec/Jan giveaway. Check this blog post for details. International entrants welcome.

15 comments:

  1. I've never tried anything by Sarah Dessen before but have heard quite a few that said her novels are marvelous. And your review did pin some points as to why they might think so.

    Great review. I now know where I should start when I decide to try her writing soon =)

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  2. I loved this book too. Also I am a huge Sarah Dessen fan. Her contemporary themes always have a wonderful message in the most subtle tone. Great review

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  3. I have read Sarah Dessen's 'Just Listen' which I loved !
    This one sounds great too!
    Wonderful review.. :)

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  4. I havent read any books by this author before, and I seriousley need to pick some books up at the library from her. The writing sounds beautiful.

    Thanks for the great review.

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  5. I know of Sarah Dessen and i even own one or two books by her but have yet to read any. Considering that if I have to read YA, I'd much rather go for the contemporary fiction instead of paranormal, it's somewhat weird I haven't given Ms. Dessen a chance yet. Your review certainly makes me want to start though :)

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  6. This is my first and favorite Sarah Dessen. Your review definitely did this novel justice. :)

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  7. this is definitely an author I need to read. I keep meaning to get one of her books from the library and still haven't done it.

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  8. The one I did not finish..hm but I am glad it was good :)

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  9. I enjoyed this book too. Excellent review! I especially like what you said about it being a character driven novel with a refreshing twist.

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  10. I need to read another Dessen novel soon. Loved the review!

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  11. I haven't read any Dessen, but I'm hoping to read at least one of her books this year. I think it may have to be this one :)

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  12. I think I will read this one later in the year!

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  13. Yet another reminder to me that I must remember to read this book. Ummm...maybe you should send a couple email reminders here and there... hehehe.

    Seriously, I want to read this story but for whatever reason...I never remember.
    Again, Love you review.

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  14. I think I need to try a Sarah Dessen book... I don't think I've ever seen a bad review of one! After your review I think I'll try and start with this one.

    I've given you an award here :)

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  15. I am so GLAD this one also turns out to be good! I have this one in my wish list, and i m putting up my wishlist for people to see and buy me those BOOKS LOL!

    And that quote is really good!
    Great review!

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