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.
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!