The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, 374 pages, Penguin Group, 2004.

4/5 stars

Taken from the book cover synopsis:

“A long dull summer stretches ahead of Macy while her boyfriend Jason is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of her father.

But sometimes unexpected things can happen – things like the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things like meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, 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 if it really is better to be safe than sorry.”

A quick run-down of what happens in The Truth About Forever:

When we first meet Macy, she’s about to begin an excruciating summer. Her boyfriend, Jason, is about to leave for Brain Camp (Jason is smart… and I mean smart), and the two months that he’ll be away is the longest  time that they have been apart in the one and a half years that they’ve been dating. All that Macy really has to look forward to are long nights of SAT prep work, once a week yoga classes, and a day job at the local library manning the Information Desk alongside two female versions of Jason, who openly treat Macy as an inferior.

Everything in Macy’s life is meticulously planned out and controlled, a defense mechanism that she developed as a response to her father’s untimely death. Anything out of the ordinary and less than perfect is seen (not only by Macy, but also by her mother and Jason) as a major flaw. So, when Macy happens to meet the crazy Wish Catering crew, we know that she’s in for the ride of her life. Everything about this cast turns Macy’s life upside down and opens her eyes to a way of life that she would have never allowed herself to experience. By the end of the book, Macy needs to decide whether or not she wants to continue forth with her new way of life or if she’ll shrink back into the fabric of her perfectly constructed life.

So, what did I think? I really enjoyed this book. I think that Sarah Dessen has an amazing talent for writing characters that are not only loveable, but that engage her readers and have us rooting for them.  It was incredibly refreshing to have a main (female) character that has her own voice and personality… and doesn’t completely lose it when her boyfriend breaks up with her (Bella Swan? New Moon? Although, seeing Macy waste her entire summer pining for Jason would be slightly amusing…). Instead, we got to see Macy’s progression and growth as she learns who she is and what she wants. We went with her as she explored her new friendships and felt her grief as she faced it, head on. I won’t lie – there were parts of this book that made me want to reach my hands through the pages and shake some sense into the girl, but I understood why Macy did what she did… and that is what made this book awesome.

And the other characters? They were all engaging and significant, in their own ways. I didn’t find a single character to be one-dimensional and cookie cutter-ish. Even Bethany and Amanda, who were jerks with a capital J, stayed true to themselves. And the main cast? How could you NOT love them! Kristy, Monica, Berta, Delia, and… dare I mention him? Sa-woon. Wes. Yum!

I honestly cannot think of a single complaint that I have about this book – other than, I would have liked the epilogue (the last chapter acts as a sort of epilogue, reading a few weeks into the future) to say that, yes, Wes and Macy definitely live happily ever after, and get married, and have ten thousand adorable babies… But you can’t always get what you want.

I would suggest this book to anyone who is interested in reading Sarah Dessen for the first time (this is an excellent starter book) and to anyone who is looking for a fun summer read that isn’t total fluff brain crack.

[I didn’t give this book 5/5 stars because that rating is for the highest of highs… Such as Harry Potter]

Next up? 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson.

Happy reading!