The Truth About Forever
Note: I'm going to Sarah Dessen this review. I'm going to start out all nice and friendly and then rip your heart out.
Sarah Dessen. Sarah Dessen. Sarah Dessen. Macy, Macy, Macy. Wes, Wes, Wes. Sarah Dessen. Dessen. Dessen. Sarah. Dessen. This is not a bad example of alliteration. These are names I muttered while reading The Truth About Forever.
"Sarah Dessen. Oh how I love you."
"Macy, Macy, Macy. What are you doing?"
"Wes. Wes. Wes. Get your head out of your ass, man."
This is another one of those Are They Gonna Hook Up Novels that I've been into recently. It started with Stephanie Perkins and all of her goodies, and it's turning into an obsession all its own. I blame my 9th grade English teacher and her interpretation of Romeo & Juliet for this.
Does Macy like Wes? Does Wes like Macy? It's kind of hard to tell, it's really freakin' hard to tell. Because--as I'm learning with Sarah--she doesn't always put these things right up front. Instead I'm sympathizing with Macy over the loss of her father. Or feeling anger for her after her boyfriend sends her a break-up email (an email, really?). Or I'm curious about Wes, because there's a deeper side of him that's not being shown, and you can tell something is going on with him.
What makes a good Are They Gonna Hook Up Novel is a complete lack of doubt that the two people involved--in this case Macy and Wes--will never be together. This formula, while old, can be pulled off. In the case of Anna and the French Kiss (Stephanie Perkins) there was serious doubt, making it a great book. In the case of Lola and the Boy Next Door (Stephanie Perkins, again), there was never a doubt the two would hookup, making it a not so great book.*
So what we really need is anticipation and doubt mixed with a little WHAT THE F**K IS WRONG WITH YOU TWO? because without that anger, I'm just not going to be happy with the outcome.
So I had anticipation. I had doubt (I still have doubt). I have that WHAT THE F**CK IS WRONG WITH YOU TWO? and I have--and will continue to have--a growing fondness of all things Sarah related. So what went wrong?
There is something I didn't like about this incredible little book with great characters and a nice story and a lot of awww moments, and a lot of damnnnn moments, and a few WTF moments. I was 95% done with The Truth About Forever when it hit me: I am reading a book about the loss of a parent and enjoying it.
So there isn't anything wrong with this book. Not a damn thing. It was my response to it that I blame. It's not as light-hearted and airy as a Perkins novel. That comparison does not work. It's more dark and sinister and heavy then I originally thought. But this is what Sarah Dessen does well. She takes her characters, gives them issues, and heals them as much as possible (no one can be completely healed). Then she sets the characters free.
This book is not a Are They Gonna Hook Up Novel. This book is another Dutch Tulip Man. A bundle of possibilities and doubt with a heavy subject and knack for pissing me off at the right moments. Five out of out, Sarah. A fucking five out of five.
Full Disclosure: I purchased this at Half-Priced Books.
*I thought it was okay.