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Review: The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen

Thursday, July 21, 2011
5 Stars: An Incredible Read
Hardback: 374 Pages
Publication: May 11, 2004 by Speak

Sixteen-year-old Macy Queen is looking forward to a long, boring summer. Her boyfriend is going away. She's stuck with a dull-as-dishwater job at the library. And she'll spend all of her free time studying for the SATs or grieving silently with her mother over her father's recent unexpected death. But everything changes when Macy is corralled into helping out at one of her mother's open house events, and she meets the chaotic Wish Catering crew. Before long, Macy joins the Wish team. She loves everything about the work and the people. But the best thing about Wish is Wes—artistic, insightful, and understanding Wes—who gets Macy to look at life in a whole new way, and really start living it.

After having read Just Listen earlier this year, I finally got around to checking out more of Sarah Dessen’s work at the public library. The Truth about Forever is my second Dessen book, and I’m falling more and more in love with her writing, if possible. Seriously. If I were stranded on a deserted island and could only pick one author’s works to take with me, I’d choose Sarah Dessen, no question.

Ever since Macy found her father dead in the middle of the street, she’s been afraid of opening herself to others. She doesn’t have many friends, but she doesn’t care because she has Jason. In fact, she relies upon her boyfriend Jason for the stability that he provides in her life. Then she comes across Wish, a small catering business. Wish is the opposite of Macy’s life: chaotic and filled with vitality. In seeking escape, Macy finds herself working for Wish at night while keeping it secret from her workaholic mother.

As much as we’d like to see her do so, Macy doesn’t change overnight. She works for Wish, but she doesn’t join the others outside of work at first, opting to return home and study for her SATs instead. When she does finally party with the others, she mostly bonds with Wes, who is also suffering from both a parent’s death and an uncertain relationship. Their relationship progresses so slowly that you’ll want to yell at the two of them for not getting a move on, and yet you can’t help appreciating how realistic it all is.

Wes is a dream guy. Sure, he’s served time, but his offenses against the law aren’t anything major, and he’s learned his lesson. Wes has both his serious and his goofy sides, and he knows more about Macy than anyone else thanks to their game of Truth. If I could have a love interest as cool as Wes, I would be set for life. Dessen really knows how to make her male leads!

Still, Macy’s life doesn’t just center on her romantic interests. Dessen builds her characters three-dimensionally. While we know that Macy’s world revolves around Jason and the controlling figure that she so desperately needs, Jason himself plays a small role in the book. We know that he exists, but he’s off at Brain Camp. Even Wes isn’t there the entire time. Not only do we see Macy open up while working with Wish, we see Macy grow as an individual and finally admit that she isn’t perfect. We see her broken family heal and come to remember the good memories with Macy’s dad rather than try and protect themselves from loving again.

The Truth about Forever is about learning to trust yourself and taking control of your life. It is about family and love, about the significance of opening ourselves to the people around us. It is about heartbreak and learning to overcome our weaknesses. I recommend this book to all girls looking for a realistic, heart-touching contemporary read.

View my favorite quotations from The Truth about Forever.


3 comments on "Review: The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen"
  1. I read That Summer and I wasnt too impressed but Ive been told to try Just Listen so I'm glad that you liked that one and loved this one even more! :D Thank you!

  2. Just like all of the other Sarah Dessen books, this didn't disappoint. All of her books are page turners and I absolutely love them! Thanks for reviewing such a great book!

  3. Sarah Dessen is a good writer, creating believable and relatable characters that very adequately reflect what teens are like. My favorite part of the books I've read by her is the dialogue, which, if you examine carefully, is unique to whichever character she's writing about. Sarah creates well-rounded characters. And it's probably her biggest skill.
    Macy Queen is quite a confused young woman. Her father died, and grief-stricken Macy keeps blaming herself. Worse, she comes to think that if she can just keep things at a constant, that is, perfectly still, she can control her life. And that's her biggest flaw: this unfailing faith in perfection that she simply won't snap out of.


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