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Monday, January 11, 2010

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Genre: Young Adult

Published: 2006

Pages: 400


Book Description:

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.

Book Review:

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.

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Alaine - Queen of Happy Endings said...

Maybe I should try one more of Sarah Dessen's books.

Tricia said...

This one is my favorite Dessen too. I thought it was maybe because it was the first one that I read, but really I think it is because Macy is so totally relate-able to me. Great review!

Gaby said...

Excellent review. I just started reading Sarah Dessen's books, but I think the next one I read will be this one ;)

Anonymous said...

My favourite book by Sarah Dessen. It is fantastic.

Christine said...

I read this one last year and loved it so much it made it onto my Top REads of 2009 list. The copy I read was borrowed from my daughter's friend, but I finally bought our own copy so I could reread it. I truly adore this book.

misskallie2000 said...

I need to get this for my step-grandaughter (13) whose father passed away of RENAL SARCOMA IN OCT. She wants to live with my daughter and is at present as her mom really does not want her, just to much trouble.
Thanks for the review, It was very nice and informative.

Arya said...

That sounds good. I usually don't read anything I think looks "chick-lit like" but Sarah Dressen sparked my interest a while back and I'm thinking about breakign down and reading one of her books.

Great Review!

Teddyree said...

Alaine ~ I've really enjoyed all Dessen's books but loved this one, the fun mixed with the serious was a good combination. But like you said contemporary YA isn't everyone's cup of tea.

Tricia ~ totally agree, I think that's something Dessen does superbly ~ relatable characters.

Gaby ~ thanks, I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

Michelle ~ mine too, so far, but I've only read 3, not sure what to choose next?

Teddyree said...

Christine ~ have you read any other Dessen novels?

Misskallie ~ my heart goes out to your step grandaughter. It sounds like she has a lot of love and support from you and your daughter.

Arya ~ I'm not an expert on Sarah Dessen but I don't think you could go wrong with this one or Just Listen. The Truth About Forever has a real fun element.

Book Snob said...

I have heard such good things about Dessen's novels. I've been wanting to read one but I just can't decide. Maybe I'll chose from the three that you named. Great review and thanks for sharing :)

Stephanie aka The Stark Raving Bibliophile said...

I love your review, and I linked to it on my blog today. And I really like the quote you chose to highlight the themes in the book. :-)

Teddyree said...

Book Snob ~ the three I mention were all recommended to me by multiple readers, whichever you choose I hope you enjoy!

Stephanie ~ Thanks for popping in and commenting and of course for the link love. I think I'm becoming a fan of Dessen's writing style :-)

Deanna/ibeeeg said...

I have read only one Dessen book and liked the read. I do not read much contemporary fiction either so I just do not think about reading another Dessen book.

Your review of this story was great. I do believe that I will read this one. I just need to remember the title when I am trying to figure out what I want to read next. :)