Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Truth About Forever

Author: Sarah Dessen

Publisher: Speak (Penguin)
Released: 2004
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: No
Source: Library
A long structured 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 haven't read Sarah Dessen in a while, I think since three summers ago. And when I started reading The Truth About Forever, I was immediately reminded why I read five or six of her books consecutively that summer. She has a way of showing exactly what the characters are feeling, pulling on your emotions and getting you completely invested and involved in the story. I originally meant to read a couple of chapters today then get back to my other work, but I wound up reading the entire book with no breaks...

Macy is such a relatable character. It's so understandable that she got herself into this relationship with Jason after her father died, as she was craving stability and security. But it's also obvious that this relationship is in no way good for her, and I was rooting for her at each of her moments of realization about what the relationship actually is, rather than what she likes to believe it is. Her relationship with her mother is also understandable throughout the whole book. At first, it seems Macy and her mother get along really well, until Macy starts admitting to herself that she's putting on an act in hopes of maintaining peace and - again - stability. When she begins to allow herself to act the way she wants to rather than living up to her mother's idea of perfection, the true nature of the relationship reveals itself. But I love the way Macy and her mother eventually get okay with each other. It's so real, so in line with Macy's character and goals and thought processes. And it's mostly down to Macy herself.

The whole crew of Wish catering is amazing. Each of them, even Monica, nicknamed Monotone because of her expressionless three-phrase repertoire of words, is so unique and adds so much to Macy's growth. They're in sharp contrast to what Macy has been experiencing until then, and they're the perfect catalyst for Macy to wake up and take charge of her own life again.

And then there's Wes. He's perfect. So absolutely perfect. And it's not just that he's totally hot and all the girls can't stop looking at him. Yes, the reason Macy gets flutters at first is because of his looks, but his looks eventually fade and I love that Macy hardly mentions them once they really get to know each other. She doesn't hope for anything beyond friendship, though she definitely acknowledges that if things were different she'd love for that to happen. But Wes has such depth to his character, both in the serious aspects and in the fun-loving and witty aspects - and those two parts combine quite a bit in the on-going Truth game, which I love. Yes, he is "the kind of boy who could turn any girl's world upside-down," but he's especially good for Macy as she comes to know herself more deeply. And it's so obvious, even as Macy can't see it, that he loves her, that my heart went melting at every other word he says.

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