The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Title: The Truth About Forever
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publication Date: 5-11-04
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
A long, hot summer…
That’s what Macy has to look forward to 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 Macy’s father.
But sometimes unexpected things can happen—things such as 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 such as 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, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?
I probably would’ve rated this book 5 stars back in high school, because the main character, Macy, is very relatable, the story is very touching, and I loved the relationship between Macy and Wes. But, as an adult, I’m only going to give it 3.5 stars. Macy was still a somewhat-relatable character, and I still loved her relationship with Wes, but I found the dead-parent storyline a bit tired (although, since this book was written in 2004, that’s not this book’s fault), and I hated the family dynamic.
The entire story, I just wanted to shake Macy and her mother, and tell them to work out their problems. So much could’ve been solved by simple conversation! But, at the same time, I can understand why Macy felt frightened to confront her mom about their family problems — at that age, I probably would’ve acted very similarly. I also hated the character of Jason. He was both extremely annoying and totally unrealistic. Yes, there are teenage “geniuses” who like to just sit around and play chess or whatever, but Jason was barely even human. His emails to Macy sounded like they came from a robot. No teenage boy would ever in a million years talk like he did, even one like Jason.
You have to have a little bit of disorganization now and then. Otherwise, you’ll never really enjoy it when things go right.
I was actually expecting this story to be a pretty lighthearted, summer read, mostly based on the cover. But the story was much deeper than that, and involved a lot of complicated emotions that teenagers have to deal with at Macy’s age: family issues, boy issues, school issues, pressure to succeed. I can see this as being a book that teenage girls would really love. But, honestly, it was a bit forgettable for me. Only two days later, I’m struggling to remember some of the details. I do remember that I absolutely loved Macy’s relationship with Wes, as well as Wes’ whole family and the catering company. The scenes including those people were my favorite parts of the book.
“It’s the same thing,” I told her.
“Being afraid and being alive.”
“No,” she said slowly, and now it was as if she was speaking a language she knew at first I wouldn’t understand, the very words, not to mention the concept, being foreign to me. “Macy, no. It’s not.”
It’s not, I repeated in my head, and looking back later, it seemed to me that was the moment everything really changed.
Overall, while I enjoyed this book and would 100% recommend it to a teenage girl, this book wasn’t one of my favorites. But Sarah Dessen’s books aren’t meant for adults, and therefore I’m not capable of liking it as much as I might’ve 8 years ago, and I understand that that’s how it works with young adult fiction sometimes.
**I read this book as part of my participation in Bookables’ Sarah Dessen Book Club**