The Truth About Forever

If you read my last post, you’ll know how much Sarah Dessen means to me as a writer, and what a huge inspiration she is to me. Of all the books by her that I’ve read, The Truth About Forever is by far one of my favourites. There are so many things going on in this book, yet Dessen manages to tackle them all head-on, which is why I admire her so much. It paid off in the end, because the result is a wonderful bundle of 374 extremely well-written pages. And maybe I’m being a bit biased, because I enjoyed most of Sarah Dessen’s other novels, but there really is no denying the fact that this book was a prize.

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The Truth About Forever begins with our protagonist, Macy Queen. As we first open to the first chapter, we see that her boyfriend, Jason, is going to Brain Camp.

“It had another name, a real name, but that’s what everybody called it.”

Once Jason is gone, Macy is then faced with the prospect of a long and meaningless summer. Her plans: filling in for Jason at his job at the library information desk, as well as studying in the evening, prepping herself for her senior year. And while this doesn’t seem like such a wild and exhilarating two months, it’s the way Macy wants it to be. If she portrays her life as perfect, everyone will believe it is. And that was all she had ever wanted, especially since she watched her father pass away right before her own eyes.

So no one is more surprised than her when she takes up an offer to work at Wish Catering, which begins a new kind of journey for her. It is with her boss, Delia, and co-workers-turned-friends that she is finally able to understand the true definition of forever, and what it means to just throw your life away to be perfect, when it is truly impossible to achieve just that. Along the way we meet Kristy, someone who herself has experienced trauma and yet found a way to keep on going, and Wes, who accepts flaws and sees potential in everyone. Together they help Macy realize that with forever, you could never just expect it to be the same- it is constantly ever-changing. And with every moment that she lives, as well as everyone else around her, it is to accept that forever is happening, and sometimes you just need focus on the moment on hand, not revel in the past or the future. They also encourage her to finally seek comfort in her mother about her father’s death, where up until then it was a forbidden topic, never to be spoken of unless absolutely necessary.

I especially loved this Sarah Dessen novel because I feel a lot of us today focus on trying to create this image of ourselves we hope others would view us as, even if it is not completely true. The Truth About Forever sends the valuable message that we cannot dwell only in the instants we hope will last, but live in the ones right here, right now. If we keep re-living our past, how will we ever be ready to move forward? It made me remember how important it is to enjoy every moment, because it may be gone in a flash. But the best part about this world and this life is that we have more opportunities to set things right, or just make more memories. There is a reason tomorrow is not today- because it means a second chance if your current one doesn’t work out.

I can’t tell you how many times I found myself laughing at these characters and their words, or lack thereof in Monica’s case, Kristy’s sister, with her very few three default phrases. It was people like these who made up the story, because each was different and unique in their own way. Everyone had a story to tell, and together they made each other’s lives, enfolding into one huge world, and ultimately, one huge forever.

Sarah Dessen has always been a great supplier of amazing YA novels, and like all the others written by her, this one did not dissapoint!

Sarah Dessen… and Me

Hey everyone! I’m really excited to share with you my review on Sarah Dessen’s “The Truth About Forever.” But that will have to wait a day or two or more. Because I’ve realized I haven’t really talked much about Sarah Dessen on here, or my writing. If you’ve been reading my monthly book lists, you can clearly tell how much of her books I have been reading ever since I discovered What Happened to Goodbye in my school library. She has so far written a total of twelve young adult novels, in which I have managed to hunt down and read all of. (Yeah!)

*Pats self on back*

I’ll update you all with an overview of my thoughts on them soon, as well as which I strongly recommend. Before I post my review though, let me first tell you how special Sarah Dessen is as an author and what she has done for me as a reader. It was in November 2014- not so long ago- that I begun to read Sarah Dessen’s work. And all of her narrators- Mclean, Auden, Sydney, Macy, to name a few- seemed to speak to me, their worlds and problems recurring in my mind. It was Sarah Dessen who made me push my expectations of myself as a writer and reader to further venture into the world of YA, as well as try writing for it. I never imagined myself writing in this realistic fiction style, because when I thought about my writing, it was Harry Potter-like.

Recently I attended the fifteenth annual Rochester Teen Book Festival. The main reason- Sarah Dessen would be there! I went to hear her speak alongside Gayle Forman, author of If I Stay. (Ally Condie was at the festival as well, author of Atlantia and the Matched trilogy). When they were accepting questions, I kept quiet; an observer rather than a presenter. I silently let others ask questions and listened to their answers. One person asked Sarah and Gayle what type of books they liked to read. And this surprised me: They both agreed that they weren’t huge fans of fantasy novels. But then Sarah went on to say that she had complete respect for fantasy writers, because not only did they have to create up a whole new world, but then had to write a story and plot into that setting. She said that it was like she was cheating, because she could just set her stories into a world she already knew, which is why her books are classified as Young Adult and Realistic Fiction.

It got me thinking. Maybe, I was just going to big too soon. It’s not to say I could never write a story in a fantastical world, because it’s possible. But for now, perhaps I’d better begin with what’s familiar. My world. This world. So I ditched my last document in return for a clean slate. Don’t worry- I wasn’t too far into it anyhow. But I have to say, this new story is really getting me excited. I can feel myself coming up with lines that just seem to click, in the way that suggests I am finally doing something right. I can feel myself laughing at my own work, which is either great or a bit sad, I haven’t decided yet. But either way, I can sense a breakthrough in my writing, one that is telling me I’m doing it, oh my goodness I’m doing it!

So yes, there was a huge influence on that behalf, and it was Sarah Dessen. Without her books and her words and that book festival, would I have discovered my inner-writer as its true form? Well, probably. But one thing’s for sure- without Sarah Dessen, it would’ve taken a lot longer to get there.

May

Well, when it’s mid-June you begin to question whether or not I’ve forgotten to update for the reads of May. Never fear, I have not! I actually have a few posts I’m excited to share with you, but those will have to wait, because it’s time for May’s reads:

Insurgent, by Veronica Roth

Allegiant, by Veronica Roth

The Heir, by Kiera Cass

The Revelation of Louisa May, by Michaela MacColl 

Saint Anything, by Sarah Dessen 

Just One Day, by Gayle Forman 

Just One Year, by Gayle Forman 

Now, majority of these were very pleasurable reads. I don’t have many complaints.

I told you last month how I reread Divergent by Veronica Roth. Insurgent and Allegiant are the others in the trilogy, which did not dissappoint. And like I previously mentioned, as I had forgotten most of the plot and the main points, it was nice to be reminded of the genius behind it (because seriously, I love the idea!) and see the great writing style again. For Allegiant, I’ve heard many people say they didn’t like how it ended the trilogy, but for me, I found it a nice way to wrap it up. I mean, they were some parts that were… upsetting *looks this way and that and keeps mouth shut* but overall I enjoyed it.

Now, The Heir. This was the continuation of The Selection, which followed Prince Maxon’s daughter as she went through her own Selection. For fans of the original trilogy, this is a MUST READ. If you thought you hadn’t had enough of the first three, then this is meant for you. Seriously, when I heard that a fourth was coming out it just made me so happy! It was great seeing familiar characters yet exciting to fall in love with new ones.

And for all those Little Women fans? Ever wondered about the life of the beloved author, Louisa May Alcott? Well, imagine my delight when I heard about a fictional yet near-the-truth book that was recently released. The Revelation of Louisa May is hinted with mystery and romance, and definitely worth your time. Check it out!

I also read Gayle Forman’s Just One Day and it’s sequel, Just One Year. I have to say, I preferred the sequel much more than the first. But what was very unique was the way the two were written: each one had a different narrator, following their journeys as they tried to find each other.

Time to get real. Or more real than I was before. On the same date that The Heir was released, Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen was as well. And I am a HUGE fan of Dessen and her books, so it was just absolutely necessary for me to read it. It was especially precious because I knew it was a very difficult writing year for Sarah Dessen, when she put aside her latest novel after it wasn’t working for her. (Source, her website!) But then after periods of not writing, the idea of Sydney (Saint Anything’s protagonist) and the Chathams appeared, and she finished her first draft in a mere four months. Talk about talent! It was very well written and had a great story line, so for any Sarah Dessen fans, this is also a must.

Hope this helped you find your next summer reads 😉

-Zoie