Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Truth About Forever, Sarah Dessen (5 stars)

Finally, I've read the first book in my 2012 To Be Read (TBR) Pile Challenge.

Yes, it's June 7. I've left myself 11 books to read in 6 months. Talk about making it a challenge. Eek!

At least I started with a 5 star read and a new go-to author.

From Amazon: Macy's summer stretches before her, carefully planned and outlined. She will spend her days sitting at the library information desk. She will spend her evenings studying for the SATs. Spare time will be used to help her obsessive mother prepare for the big opening of the townhouse section of her luxury development.

But Macy's plans don't anticipate a surprising and chaotic job with Wish Catering, a motley crew of new friends, or…Wes. Tattooed, artistic, anything-but-expected Wes. He doesn't fit Macy's life at all—so why does she feel so comfortable with him? So…happy? What is it about him that makes her let down her guard and finally talk about how much she misses her father, who died before her eyes the year before.

This is the rare book that brings together the two sides of me: mother and daughter. The mom in me wanted to wrap my arms around the main character and shelter her from all the pain, but the teenager in me understood the bumpy process she needed to go through to figure out who she needed to be. In my humble opinion, Judy Blume is the authority on teenagers and coming of age stories. But, dare I say… Sarah Dessen is this generation’s Judy Blume. And I can say that with some authority, since I have a preteen daughter who I know would love this book and I devoured all of Blume’s books during my own teenage years.

Macy faces all the typical facets of teenagerdom, but all of that seems inconsequential when she witnesses her dad die. To cope, Macy surrounds herself with safety and routine. Unfortunately, safety is keeping her from living, something she’s not aware of until Delia and her band of helpers come to cater one of Macy’s Mom’s parties. Then her “safe” boyfriend, gone for the summer to Brain Camp, sends her an email asking for a cooling off period. How do you cool off something that never had any heat?!

Macy joins the catering crew and slowly comes back to life, bringing a damaged Wes, who lost his mother to cancer, on the journey with her. More than anything, I wanted Macy to embrace life and start enjoying youth, but I also wanted Wes to heal and be part of Macy’s new life.

One of the characters gives this advice in the book: “For any one of us our forever could end in an hour, or … years from now. You can never know for sure, so you’d better make every second count.” Great advice for young and old, and I’d classify this book as making your reading time count!

Thanks to Sarah Dessen's excellent story and character development, I can’t think of a reader who wouldn’t love this book. Okay, maybe male readers who only want action or people who insist a story must have a paranormal angle. And, wait, if you’ve never been a teenager, you might not understand. All others, get your box of Kleenex, find a comfortable spot to sit, and dive in. You’ll be glad you did.

Rating: 5 stars and a Judy Blume comparison