The Problem With Forever – Jennifer L. Armentrout

What an incredibly unique story. It’s hard to wrap your head around the trauma that Mallory and Rider went through as children, and it was hard to see how differently their paths diverged after.

Synopsis

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

Review

What an incredibly unique story. It’s hard to wrap your head around the trauma that Mallory and Rider went through as children, and it was hard to see how differently their paths diverged after.

This story explores nature versus nurture in a thought-provoking way. It discusses privilege and birth lottery without being explicitly preachy or gratitude-inducing. Why would Mallory ever “deserve” more than others? Why does the system give up on certain people or certain neighbourhoods? It’s so sad to see potential whittled away, but it is reality for so many.

Mallory had Rider definitely produced swoon-worthy moments. I also loved the hints of Hector and Ainsley. Mallory truly has a great support system (Rosa and Carl!), and I am so glad she has a second chance to live better.

The concept of “forever” is frequently addressed, but it kinda fell flat for me. And I know it was intentional, but it really bugged me to read… about people… who spoke with so many… pauses. There were times when Mallory would stop, but even by the end, she still hesitated quite a bit. It was so distracting.

Still — a million tears on my part later, and I truly believe things are on the upswing for these poor children.

Related Reading

  • Where the Stars Still Shine – Trish Doller
  • Perfect Chemistry – Simone Elkeles
  • The Serpent King – Jeff Zentner

Rating: 4/5

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