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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