Book Reviews

Review: “The Truth About Forever,” Sarah Dessen

December 27, 2011
Review: “The Truth About Forever,” Sarah DessenThe Truth About Foreverby Sarah Dessen
Series: Standalone
Published by Puffin on May, 2004
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 383

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.

I’ve been in a reading slump lately, and what better to jog me out of it than reading a great Sarah Dessen contemporary? The Truth About Forever is a charming coming-of-age tale, yet in my opinion, not as great as the two other Dessen books I’ve read in the past.

I think what I struggled with most about The Truth About Forever was the slow pace. While I am used to contemporary books being generally relaxed and laid back, this one seemed to drag on with nothing exceptional happening. Like all other Dessen books, it’s character-driven, but this time the absence of a stimulating plot was quite noticable.

I did enjoy the characters, particularly the Wish crew and our narrator, Macy. Each character is quite fleshed out and likeable, something I’ve come to expect with Sarah Dessen. Each voice has a story to tell and a lesson to teach, and Sarah Dessen does it in quite a poetic way. It’s something I particularly marvel at with her storytelling. That being said, while I loved the characters, I just wished that they’d have done stuff.

The Truth About Forever consists of catering disasters, property selling, working at a library desk, and that’s about it. We shuffle between these scenarios constantly, with our narrator Macy at the helm. The stuff I really loved – the Truth game between Macy and our leading man, Wes – didn’t happen often enough for my tastes. I was constantly waiting on them to ‘fess up about their feelings for one another, but it never really happened until the final pages.

I liked Wes, I really did (there are so many readers I’ve seen gush about him, too!) but there seemed to be too little of him when compared to the romantic relationships in the other Dessen books I’ve read (Just Listen and Along for the Ride). I was looking for a romance-driven contemporary and this book didn’t quite deliver.

However, it is a great story of one girl understanding her place in the world, and what she has to do to be happy in it. If you’re a fan of Sarah Dessen and have yet to read this one, you will probably want to do so. While it isn’t exactly as stimulating or as much of a page-turner as her other books, I think it’s pretty much a ‘classic’ when considering her body of work.

Recommended to: Fans of Sarah Dessen should pick it up. However, if you’re looking for a more ‘romance-driven’ contemporary, give one of her other books a shot first.

About Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen is one of the most popular writers for young adults. She is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many novels, which have received numerous awards and rave reviews, and have sold more than nine million copies. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband, Jay, and their daughter, Sasha Clementine.


  • Reply Kylie1403 December 28, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I was given my first ever Sarah Dessen book for this Christmas… I can’t wait to dig in…. Great review.. i love your honesty

  • Reply Cass (Words on Paper) December 27, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Nice review. Yeah, some contemps I’ve read have bordered on slow and boring, rather than just calm and relaxed. I’m glad that the characters were nicely developed though. I’ve only read one Sarah Dessen book, but I’m excited to read more. :)

  • Reply Erin W. December 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Great review. While this was a slow read for me too – and not my favourite of the author – but I love anything Sarah Dessen writes!

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