Publisher: Viking Juvenile (May 11, 2004)
So you can’t really be into YA fiction without hearing about Sarah Dessen and her humongous fan base. In fact I have been purposely ignoring her books cause the title, the covers, everything about them just screamed melodrama to me and that’s something I try to avoid. I’ve seen WAY too many Korean dramas that just left me sad for way too long. Nevertheless, I wanted to at least read one.
So now after finally reading a Dessen novel, what are my first impressions? I mean I’ve seen How to Deal and I know it’s based off of two other of her novels, but essentially the spirit of that movie was in this book. There’s a sad repressed girl having some sort of family problem. There’s a death and the characters are trying to deal with grief as best they can. Of course one can’t do this without an awesome best friend and a swoon worthy boyfriend. I guess after reading so many fantasy books I just wasn’t impressed with the ordinariness of this book. Yes, the sentiments were sweet, and the writing and conversations between characters were meaningful, but I wasn’t blown away. And this seems to be most people’s favorite Dessen novel. I’ll have to read some more to get a better handle on things I guess.
Despite saying that I think the The Truth about Forever has a quiet sort of confidence about it. I’m willing to put aside my personal preferences for all things fantastical and unrealistic to say this book was good for this contemporary genre. I appreciate that Sarah is writing about true issues realistically and wants to give a message in her book. I read an interview where she mentions that The Truth about Forever was her wanting to write about the idea of being “perfect,” and about embracing imperfection. I can get on board with that. That’s what this book was about.
Macy witnesses her father’s death over a year and a half ago and still hasn’t properly mourned for him. Instead she tries to stay in control of her life by having the perfect boyfriend, best grades, neat appearance and even a job at the library (cause you know only perfect people have jobs at the library…har har.) On a side note, Macy reminds me of Scully from The X-Files, always saying she’s “fine” when she is not, and not wanting to appear weak or out of control.But the only thing that really makes Macy happy and able to forget the past is the chaos that is Wish Catering. She feels human there and meets awesome people like Delia who runs it, sisters Kristy and Monica who are full of life and idiosyncrasies. Bert obsessed with the end of the world and Wes, fresh out of reform school and dealing with the death of his mother. Throughout all this Macy learns to transition and move on.
Overall, if you like YA books at least read one Dessen book. I’m not on her fan-train yet,but hey, many other people are. You could be too.
If so what happens to be your favorite Sarah Dessen book? Or better yet, what are some of your reasons for identifying with her characters?