Merry Wanderer of the Night  + [YA]

Review: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Almost every time I hear people start talking about Sarah Dessen, the overall favorite of her books seems to be The Truth About Forever . I think I've only ever talked to one person who picked a different Dessen as a favorite. And, now after reading it, I can definitely see why.

Allison from The Allure of Books and I were talking on Twitter during the 24 hour read-a-thon and she basically threatened violence against me if I didn't make this book an immediate priority. So... I did. (Although, Allison — I'm calling you out. You definitely own me a Melina Marchetta read ASAP, per our arrangement). And, I was not disappointed.

Macy is having a really hard year. Her dad just died (she was there when it happened and feels insanely guilty about it), her mom has become a work-a-holic control freak and her steady, dependable boyfriend is going away for the summer to a brainiac camp for geniuses. Life around her is chaotic, but she refuses to allow herself to feel out of control. She studies regularly and does exactly what is expected of her, and stays 'safe'. She can't allow any cracks in her perfect "I'm fine" facade, or everything will fall apart. But then, after an almost disastrous catering event, she meets a group of all new people who live their lives completely differently. She starts to work for the catering company, intending to only take on the odd job when they need the extra help, but it soon becomes much more than that. Because with this group of people, she is finally starting to open back up, finally starting to feel alive and happy again. She's scared of it at first, doesn't really know how to embrace the feelings, but when she does, man, does she shine.

One of the things Dessen is most known for and talked about are her boys. And oh my goodness... This boy here does not disappoint. Wes is such a deep and interesting character. He has a story, like all interesting characters do, and he's been hurt by life before. His experiences in life really give him a chance to connect to Macy on a level she has never felt before. He gets her. He sees her as she is, and wants to be around her anyway. Because of complications to both of their current relationships (of the "Lets take a break" variety) they aren't necessarily looking for a relationship and are instead content to be near each other and be friends. And I love this! I love that they are comfortable around each other, open and honest. They play a game, something that I would love to try, but would be absolutely scared to death of. It's a truth game, and the only real rule is that you take turns asking questions, and when you are asked, you must answer, or you lose. It allows them to learn so much about each other, things that you don't normally learn for a long time. The amount of trust it takes to play a game like that honestly is astounding to me and, I think, really helps to demonstrate the level of emotion between these two.

Although I genuinely loved the development of their relationship, their resolution is the only complaint I have with this story. Dessen spent the entire book building up a relationship based on friendship, attraction, and mutual respect between these two. There was so much going on for the whole story and it just made me anxious to see how their story was going to resolve itself. And then it did... And that was it. She spends 367 pages building us up, waiting for something to happen and then she uses 3 pages to make it so. And then tacks a 4 page epilogue on after that. Wait, what?! All that build up for 3 pages?! Sigh... It felt a lot rushed and a lot underdeveloped. The book is already pushing 400 pages. I doubt anyone is going to care if you add a few more... Anyway...

Each member of the supporting cast is equally fleshed out. There are no stock characters here, no half-drawn cardboard cut outs. Every single person you meet on these pages is complex, unique, and wholly real. This book is full of people I wish I could get to know in real life. They are just so much fun, so honestly real and so... so full!

This is a book full of life and hope, and the knowledge that there will be a tomorrow beyond the pain, and that things can be alright again. It's a book I highly recommend. If you only ever read one Dessen book, it should probably be this one.