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The Truth about Forever (Teen's Top 10 (Awards)) Hardcover – May 11, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 422 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

With her sixth novel, award-winning author Sarah Dessen offers up another generous helping of finely crafted storytelling about real teens dealing with real life. In The Truth About Forever, when asked how she is coping with her father's death, invariably seventeen year old Macy Queen's answer is "fine," when nothing could be further from the truth. In actuality, she is drowning in grief while maintaining a flawless façade of good grades and unblemished behavior. Though she feels lost when her boyfriend heads to "Brain Camp" for the summer, she finds herself a job with the quirky Wish Catering crew, and meets "sa-woon"-worthy Wes, whose chaotic lifestyle is in direct opposition to her own. As the two share their stories over the summer, Macy realizes she can no longer keep her feelings on ice. Though it feels like her future endedwith her dad's death, Macy's learns that forever is all about beginnings. Dessen charts Macy's navigation of grief in such an honest way it will touch every reader who meets her. All of the Dessen trademarks are here: a girl in transition, a wonderfully fleshed out cast of secondary characters, and of course, the luminous, powerful writing itself. The Truth About Forever will more than satisfy Dessen's legion of fans, and will win her countless more as well. Highly recommended. (Ages 12 and up) --Jennifer Hubert

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up–Macy, 16, witnessed her father's death, but has never figured out how to mourn. Instead, she stays in control–good grades, perfect boyfriend, always neat and tidy–and tries to fake her way to normal. Then she gets a job at Wish Catering. It is run by pregnant, forgetful Delia and staffed by her nephews, Bert and Wes, and her neighbors Kristy and Monica. "Wish" was named for Delia's late sister, the boys' mother. Working and eventually hanging out with her new friends, Macy sees what it's like to live an unprescripted lifestyle, from dealing with kitchen fires to sneaking out at night, and slowly realizes it's not so bad to be human. Wes and Macy play an ongoing game of Truth and share everything from gross-outs to what it feels like to watch someone you love die. They fall in love by talking, and the author sculpts them to full dimension this way. All of Dessen's characters, from Macy, who narrates to the bone, to Kristy, whose every word has life and attitude, to Monica, who says almost nothing but oozes nuance, are fully and beautifully drawn. Their dialogue is natural and believable, and their care for one another is palpable. The prose is fueled with humor–the descriptions of Macy's dad's home-shopping addiction are priceless, as is the goofy bedlam of catering gigs gone bad–and as many good comedians do, Dessen uses it to throw light onto darker subjects. Grief, fear, and love set the novel's pace, and Macy's crescendo from time-bomb perfection to fallible, emotional humanity is, for the right readers, as gripping as any action adventure.–Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Series: Teen's Top 10 (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (May 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670036390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670036394
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (422 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I've been writing, in one way or another, for as long as I can remember. I was always a big reader, mostly because my parents were. I used to get frustrated with my mom because she bought me books for Christmas when what I really wanted were the gifts my friends got, things like sweaters and jewelry. But I did love to read. When I was eight or nine my parents gave me an old manual typewriter and a little desk in the corner of our den, and I'd sit there and type up my stories. I was the kind of kid that people always sighed over and said, "She has such a wild imagination," which usually meant "I wish Sarah would try to stick to the truth." I have a tendency to embellish: I think it's just a weakness of fiction writers. Once you learn how to make a story better, it's hard not to do it all the time."The books I read when I was teenager, the good ones anyway, have stuck more in my mind than anything since. I still love books, but while I couldn't tell you complete plots of novels I read even six months ago, I do remember even the smallest descriptive details from Lois Lowry's A Summer to Die or Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. I think it was because back then books were still somewhat new to me, and when I found an author who seemed to say just what I was feeling, it really struck me and resonated. I hope that my books do that for the people who read them: I think it's the best thing to which any writer can aspire. "As far as my other life, my non-writing life, I live in the country with my husband, some lizards, and two dogs who are completely spoiled and rule me completely. I like to work in my garden---although I have not yet perfected the art of keeping everything alive----and, in my weaker moments, shop. I have a bit of an addiction to the Gap clearance rack, to be honest. I have this strange need to buy huge quantities of black pants. How many pairs of black pants does one person need? (Obviously for me, the answer is 11 and counting. But I digress.) What else can I tell you? I love Starbucks mochas but they make me way hyper. I subscribe to too many magazines. I make a mean bean salad. I could go on, but the truth is, my books are much more exciting than I am, and that's a good thing. It's always more fun to make stuff up anyway."

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When I finished The Truth About Forever, I picked it right back up again and read all my favorite parts again--which meant that I almost read the entire book over. It was the first of Sarah Dessen's books that I had read, and even after finishing many of her other books (including This Lullaby and Keeping the Moon, both great), it is still my favorite.

The Truth About Forever is about sixteen-year-old Macy, who's father has recently died and who's mother has emotionally shut her out. She hides her loss behind a mask of perfection--everything has to be flawless...her hair, her boyfriend, her schoolwork. That is, until she meets the chaotic crew that is Wish Catering, who teach her things don't have to be perfect to be beautiful. She meets Wes, and through a continuous game of Truth with him, Macy learns that broken hearts, like her's, can be patched up again. Her rigid, ideal life begins to be chipped away, as she learns the real truth about forever.

The moral of The Truth About Forever is that life isn't perfect. Everyone has that dark secret in their past, has that huge hole in their road, or is that girl who saw her father die. We accept the imperfections and move on. I really empathized with Macy, because a lot of the time, I too feel that I have to strive for perfection, which makes me lose focus on the things that really matter. This book also makes you think--what would you do if you saw your father die? Would you shut out the outside world and plaster on a makes of happiness, as Macy does?

In The Truth About Forever, Sarah Dessen has flawlessly created the balance between humor and depression, between loss and love. The turbulent emotions of this book gripped me to the very end, and stayed with me long after I finished the book. I would recommend it to everyone, but especially teens.
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Format: Hardcover
As a long time Dessen fan, I was eagerly awaiting this book, but held off reading it until recently, because I am always disappointed when I run out of Dessen books to read. I must say, this was WELL worth the wait, perhaps my favorite book of hers yet.

This story is much deeper than any of her previous novels, but not overly dramatic to the point that it's too heavy to enjoy. The characters are fun, lovable, exciting, and unique making the story even better. Any young woman will be able to relate to Macy as she deals with the loss of her father, rejection from her boyfriend, and new friendships from a group of unlikely people. I fell in love with the story and the characters.

She performed the magic that most writer's aren't able to accomplish: She took a simple plot and filled it with complex characters to live out the story. I was sad when it ended, but it's definitely one of those books you can read again. Very highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
So I've been thinking I should give Sarah Dessen another try for awhile now. It seems every other day people are extolling her virtues and it's not uncommon to hear Dessen referred to as the Queen of the contemporary YA. Quite the crown of laurels, really. Several years ago I picked up two Dessen books in a row--This Lullaby and Someone Like You--I believe it was. I was unenthused. I read both through to the finish but remained distinctly underwhelmed and promptly forgot them. But it's hard to avoid Dessen's work over a long period of reading young adult novels and they always seemed like books I would really like. So after hearing a multitude of people hail THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER as their very favorite of her works, I decided it was high time to give her another shot.

Macy strives for perfection. Or at the very least she strives to facilitate it in others. Namely her brainiac boyfriend (and I use the term loosely) Jason. Having lost her father a year or so ago, she and her mother live alone in their huge house making time by ignoring their grief and focusing on making every aspect of their individual lives "perfect." Of course, everything is anything but. And when perfectly milquetoast Jason goes away for the summer, Macy promises to faithfully uphold his job at the local library as well as all their other clubs, cliques, and causes. But then the Wish Catering company invades Macy's home one night when her mother is entertaining prospective real estate clients.
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2 Comments 23 of 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Set in present time, The Truth About Forever, talks about a sixteen year old girl named Macy Queen. Since her father died of a heart attack, Macy has been keeping a simple perfect life. This summer, her boyfriend Jason went off to brain camp and they went on a break. She ends up working part-time at Wish Catering where she meets Delia, Wes, Kristy and others who help her understand that she can have some fun and that sometimes you just got to take risks. As the summer progresses, Macy and Wes get to know each other more and more.

When reading this book I really gor hooked onto it and wanted to read on and on to see what shall happen next. I enjoy these kinds of books about teenage girls and their lives and how they deal with problems. This book was no exception because I liked the way each character's lives were pieced together in the story.

I learned the same lesson that Macy learned, that being perfect is not the best thing to be. It is just better to be yourself. I also learned that anything can look beautiful because of the way Wes turned junk into beautiful creative things that people like Caroline, Macy's sister, wanted to buy.

Just like every other book by Sarah Dessen such as This Lullaby, Someone like You and Dreamland, I would definitely recommend this book to any pre-teen/teen girl because she writes stories that we can relate to and learn things from.
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