Title: The Truth About Forever
Author: Sarah Dessen
Release Date: May 11th, 2004
Sixteen-year-old Macy Queen is looking forward to a long, boring summer. Her boyfriend is going away. She's stuck with a dull-as-dishwater job at the library. And she'll spend all of her free time studying for the SATs or grieving silently with her mother over her father's recent unexpected death. But everything changes when Macy is corralled into helping out at one of her mother's open house events, and she meets the chaotic Wish Catering crew. Before long, Macy joins the Wish team. She loves everything about the work and the people. But the best thing about Wish is Wes—artistic, insightful, and understanding Wes—who gets Macy to look at life in a whole new way, and really start living it.
Charming, memorable and hopeful, The Truth About Forever is queen of contemporary YA Dessen's best so far.
After her dad's sudden death, Macy's tried so hard to be perfect. The perfect daughter, the perfect student, and even the perfect girlfriend to achiever Jason. But the summer before her senior year, Jason heads off to Brain Camp, and Macy finds herself taking up a job catering for Wish, with its chaotic albeit friendly crew, and befriending Wes, the artist with a past. With them, Macy finds that good things can come out of disasters, and maybe, the perfection is worth sacrificing if it means being really, truly alive.
Filled to the brim with authentic teen emotions, painted with a palette of friendship, family and love and occasionally streaked with loss, it's a gorgeous story of grief, romance, and self-discovery. Dessen once again pieces together tragedy and love to come up with with a noteworthy novel that transcends its generation.
The characters in this novel are simply perfect. Macy, with her quest for perfection and her eventual self-discovery, is a character many can identify with. She has issues, ups and downs, but for the most part, she's honest and sincere, but that's tainted by her fear to step out of her comfort zone. She's identifiable yet unique all at once, and that combination make her the perfect character for a story like this one. Wes is fantastic. He's pretty much ideal, save for his dark past, and the contrast between his past and present and how he used art as a bridge to get to where he is makes him so profound. The crew from Wish, with their quirks and shortcomings, is also crucial for the story. The way they show Macy how to make the most of her imperfections and accept who she is is empowering, and the message all of them convey to the readers is beautiful, especially in this day and age when outward appearances and social statuses seem to take the wheel.
Macy's journey towards finding herself is believable and inspiring, but that aside, I really enjoyed her relationship with Wes. It starts with them being friends, and it slowly blooms, unnoticed, until later on. It's a refreshing change from all the whirlwind romances, and furthermore, the pace of their relationship allows them to get to know each other thoroughly, and ultimately, it allows you to get to know them, and all of them, even the parts of them hidden by the darkest shadows.
A novel that is truly stunning, The Truth About Forever is one of those YA novels that are absolute must-reads, joining the likes of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Forever by Judy Blume. It's everything a contemporary tale should be and more, and I'd give Dessen a standing ovation if I could for this magnificent piece. But since I can't, I'll settle for ending this review with a little piece of advice: if you have not read this novel yet, go and read it. It will move you like you never thought possible.
note: I bought this copy of The Truth About Forever