I am enjoying the Shelf Discovery challenge probably more than any other reading challenge I have ever participated in. Many of the participants are using the challenge as an excuse to read books that they haven’t read since their childhood. Ultimately, I’m not a re-reader, so instead I am using the challenge to read childhood books that I missed out on. As you saw a few weeks ago with my review of Wifey, I missed out on a few of Judy Blume’s books despite the fact that I was a big fan of hers as an adolescent. When I joined the challenge, Forever and Wifey went on my list immediately because I had never read them and I don’t know that I would have ever had as good of an excuse to read them now.
Forever is the story of Katherine. She is a senior in high school and a virgin. She has had a boyfriend before, but she broke up with him after he pressured her to have sex with him. Since that point, Katherine’s interest in prospective boyfriends and sex has dwindled until she meets Michael, a senior from another school. Emotionally, Katherine and Michael’s relationship seems to develop at a fast pace. Katherine is still guarded sexually though, and it takes her awhile to trust Michael enough to have sex with him.
I thought Forever perfectly encapsulated the typical high school relationship. What teenage girl thinks that she won’t marry her high school boyfriend and live happily ever after? I know I was guilty of it! Katherine and Michael had a fairly strong relationship and were very respectful of one another, but the relationship fizzled out on Katherine’s end when she went away to summer camp to work as a tennis instructor. She met another boy at camp and at first they were just friendly with one another and then the relationship started evolving to the point where Katherine realized she had feelings for the boy. She is caught in a tug of war because she loves Michael and doesn’t want to hurt him or the relationship they have, but at the same time she no longer feels the same way towards him.
Forever evoked all these long forgotten emotions that I had from high school. I don’t think I have ever read a book geared towards adolescents that is as realistic as this one. Katherine’s feelings from beginning to end were very much like the feelings I had in high school. I imagine it takes a lot for a book to take you back ten years in time, and that is what Forever did for me.
I think Katherine did have her flaws, however. She seemed so naïve and innocent about sex which I couldn’t believe of a senior in high school. I am not referring to the fact that she was a virgin, but just her attitude towards sex and her body in general. On the other hand, she is grown up enough to go to Planned Parenthood on her own and get put on birth control pills. Something about her character just didn’t flow for me in that sense.
Regardless, Forever is a book you should read if you’re a fan of Judy Blume. Or even if you’re not familiar with Judy Blume (although I’m not sure how that could be possible!). I also think Forever is a great book for teenagers because the perspective is realistic enough that it conveys a powerful message.
I read this book for the Shelf Discovery challenge.