Publisher: Speak (April 6, 2006)
Format: Kindle Edition
Do you ever pick up a book and start to read the first few pages in an effort to see whether it’s worth forking over the 10 bucks but instead of skipping and skimming you find yourself completely engrossed and before you know it thirty minutes have passed and you’re already on chapter 5? That’s exactly what will happen to you if you pick up The Truth About Forever. It sucks you in and Sarah Dessen’s ability to handle sensitive subjects with the right touch of humanity and levity are what leave you craving more. God, I love this book.
After her father dies (in front of her)!, Macy Queen, her married sister, and her mother settle into very distinct roles. Macy attempts to be the perfect daughter, getting the perfect grades, dating a boringly perfect genius boy, taking a god-awful summer job at the library with girls who hate her, anything as long as it doesn’t rock the boat and allows her to be in complete control of her life. Her mother works constantly as a means to escape the pain of losing her husband and her grown sister throws herself into redoing the beach house the whole family used to love when dad was alive. Marcy doesn’t realize how lonely she is and how difficult it is to maintain her perfect facade until she meets the quirky workers of Wish Catering and her world is turned upside down. What begins as her occasionally helping out a ragtag bunch of misfits with an odd catering job morphs into a real job complete with tight knit friendships that provide Macy with the family she’s been missing. She even makes tentative forays into finding true love with Wes, a bartender/artist, who lost his own mother to cancer a few years prior. But when Macy’s mother learns that Macy has quit the library in order to cater full time and that Wes used to be in juvie, she forces Macy to give up her new friends and work nonstop at her own office. As summer progresses, Macy becomes more and more miserable but can’t seem to break down the facade of calm and control that’s taken over the Queen household. The book culminates with her choosing the friends she’s made at Wish Catering, reconciling with her mother, deciding to give a relationship with Wes a shot, and ultimately coming to terms with and finally mourning the loss of her father.
The Truth About Forever is at its heart a love story, yes, but it’s also a story about forgiveness and recovery, self-discovery and atonement, a sweet testimonial to friendship, and a reminder to cherish the people in our lives in all their glory be it good or bad. As the story starts, Macy has forced her life to follow a certain path where she’s certain she will not be hurt and she will give her grieving mother what she wants in a daughter. The only thing is, living this life is slowly killing her. She’s miserable but even she can’t see it and when she stumbles into Wes and the entire crew of Wish Catering, she finally starts to feel like the Macy she was before her father died. And let’s be honest here: who wouldn’t feel better with Wes around? That boy is dreamy and artsy with a tortured past that he’s managed to work through. He’s raising his younger brother alone and going to art school while also working at Wish Catering to help out his Aunt, the owner. He’s the kind of boy we always wished we’d meet in high school but finally realize in college probably never existed. Meeting Wes is what ultimately forces Macy to leave the confines of the perfect world she’s created. He along with the others at Wish manage to show her what has been missing and it’s through them that Macy begins to grieve and to accept her father’s death.
Sarah Dessen manages to portray the loss of losing a loved one very eloquently and provides a sweet romance at the same time. Macy is extremely believable and her path to living after a death is a bittersweet one. It makes you root for her and Wes in the end but along the way you find yourself rooting also for her, her mother, and her sister, the three women blindsided by the loss.
If you can’t tell, I love this book. It is refreshing and sentimental without being weepy and trite.
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 8. I would hope that if my dad died I wouldn’t revert into a seemingly perfect person who had to part her hair exactly straight and work at a crappy library information desk but Macy’s transformation into her former self gave me hope that she’s learned to mourn and is worthy of Wes.
How much did I like the love interest: 10. Wes. When I was 17 I had an equally artsy and dreamy boyfriend named Wed. This Wes sounds a million times cuter though and so understanding and relaxed that I kept imagining myself running my fingers through his wavy hair. He gets full points for being the sweetest dreamboat in YA fiction.
How believable is the plot: 10. Death is never easy for anyone. A teenage girl having to deal with the repercussions of her father’s death is never pretty but Dessen writes a story that is spot on and so believable you could imagine it happening to you.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. Sarah Dessen is the master of teenage angst fiction. She writes with a light style and showcases characters that are essentially flawed but redeemable. Her editing is always flawless and her grammar would give a lot of people a run for their money.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10! Wes and Macy don’t get together until the very, very, very end. I’m talking like the page before the last page. It definitely keeps you wanting more and even when it was done, I wanted more of them.
Final Score: 10 (it’s probably more like a 9.8 but this book is so good that it’s a 10 regardless)
Read this book. Read this book. Read this book. If there’s one thing you remember from this review it should be that. You won’t regret it.