Title: The Truth About Forever
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Penguin Group
Time taken to read: 8 days
Goodreads synopsis: 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 question her sheltered life. Is it really always better to be safe than sorry?
This is my fifth Sarah Dessen book, and at this point, I certainly knew what to expect. Teenage girl has family issues, teenage girl meets life-changing new friends, teenage girl falls for the guy, gets the guy, suddenly feels understood by everyone around her, lives happily ever after. This sounds like a complaint, and it is a little bit, but even though Dessen’s books are all basically the same, I still enjoy them. I know what’s going to happen in the end, but I don’t know exactly how we’re going to get there, and I’m always interested enough to go on that journey, however predictable. This is an earlier book of Dessen’s, so I think the writing has flaws that she improves in later books. Her sentences don’t flow as well as they could here, and I found myself editing punctuation in my head as I went along.
As for the characters, Macy was fine, just fine, as she says throughout the book. She wasn’t extraordinary, but I didn’t dislike her. I absolutely adored Kristy. The scene where she and one of the library bitches are staring each other down and then Kristy crosses her eyes was my favorite. I was like, damn, I want her to be my best friend, and I want to date her, and I want to be her, all at the same time. Wes was rather irritating, but at least he was believable. I actually pictured him looking like a very specific guy I knew and was involved with in high school who was unbearably gorgeous (though he isn’t anymore) and always acted like he had no idea and didn’t really care either way. At one point Wes says something like, “I’m not into appearances,” and I had to roll my eyes because it’s painfully believable that a guy like Wes would say that, but it’s beyond bullsh*t. All that sentence means is, “My girlfriend can’t be just beautiful, she has to be beautiful and have a good personality.” Guys like that are into good personalities for sure, but they’re also definitely not into ugly girls. They want the whole package, is what they’re saying.
Dessen’s books confuse me because I feel like I should hate them, but I don’t, and I don’t really understand why. But I come to the end, and everything is happy, and I feel happy because I wanted everyone to end up happy, even though I feel like normally happy endings irritate me. As Dessen books go, this one wasn’t one of my favorites, but it was predictably good, and I am eager to read more from her as always.