Paperback, 374 pages.
Release date: May 11th 2004.
Rating: 4½ out of 5.
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?
Let me take you on a journey back in time: way, way back to my reading life before I started blogging. Back then, my YA reading consisted pretty much of just Paranormal Romance. In fact, I was pretty new to YA when I first started blogging. I had read Twilight, Hush, Hush, and Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver. That was pretty much it. I hadn’t read any Contemporary YA per se, and didn’t really give it much thought at all. Then I read Anna and the French Kiss, and the rest, as they say, is history. Way back then (we’re still on our journey into the past here) I posted a blog asking for YA Contemp recommendations and one of the names that kept cropping up over and over again was Sarah Dessen, and in particular The Truth About Forever. That post was written way back in 2011 and I really don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get around to reading The Truth About Forever. I can’t offer up any excuses here apart from so many books so little time! I am so glad though that I finally read this one, because The Truth About Forever is adorable with a capital A. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that this book is sa-woon-y.
Macy Queen lives a life of perfection. She’s the perfect student, the perfect daughter to her driven, successful mother, and the perfect girlfriend to her perfect(ly boring) boyfriend Jason who is away at “Brain Camp” for the summer. While Jason’s away, though, Macy won’t play; instead her days are spent working Jason’s boring library job, while are dedicated to studying for SAT’s, making sure her hair is perfectly straight and her clothes perfectly laundered. Macy relies on rules and routine to get her through her days. Everything is ‘just so’ in her life and that’s the way it has to be. Macy doesn’t talk about her feelings, not with Jason, and not with her mom. Since her dad’s death, feelings are too painful, and so, if anyone asks, Macy’s answer is always that everything is ‘just fine.’ The truth is, though, that everything is not just fine with Macy. She’s still hurting, still missing her dad every day. Macy hasn’t dealt with her grief. And, so, something has got to give.
And something does give in the form of Macy’s relationship which Jason decides needs a break when his girlfriend has the audacity to write in an email that she loves him. This guy may have brains to burn, but he’s missing a sensitivity chip, that’s for sure. Also, the ‘Mean Girls’ at the library are making Macy’s life hell, so when she lands an unexpected gig with a chaotic catering company, she sees this as a welcome relief to the perfectly structured life that is really starting to get her down. At ‘Wish Catering’ Macy meets a group of people who show her what is to have fun, and to life. Fun loving Kristy teaches Macy to live for the moment, while sweet, sensitive Wes, who has also lost a parent, helps Macy to deal with her grief. But is Wes just a friend? Or is he something more than that? Macy knows that her fun new life with ‘Wish’ is a temporary thing; her mom is disapproving of her new crew for one thing, and then, there’s Jason, who’s back in touch, and ready to discuss their relationship. “Donneven,” as Monica would say. Or maybe that deserves a “Bettaquit.”
Ah, this book is just adorable. I read The Moon and More last summer, and while I didn’t fall in love with that one, The Truth About Forever has made me a Dessen fan. The Truth About Forever is sweet, and funny, and very relatable. I like that Dessen deals with some tough subjects in this book, but the darkness here is always tempered with light. The character of Monica especially made me laugh, while the romance, well the romance in this book is to die for. Wes has to be one of THE boys of YA – I just loved that guy. And I loved that Dessen focused on the friendship he formed with Macy: and that their relationship was based on truths; the good, the bad and the almost-impossible-to-talk-about apart from someone who gets it too – that was a nice touch. I guess this book could have done with a little more swoon after all the anticipation, but I liked the slow-burn of ‘is it friendship or something more?’ that Wes and Macy had going on.
All in all The Truth About Forever is an adorable summer read, and I will most definitely be reading more Dessen this summer. Which book should I read next? I hear Along for the Ride is another great summer Dessen read.