Title : The Problem With Forever
Author : Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre : YA Contemporary, Realistic fiction
Goodreads summary :
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.
The thing I’ve realized by reading this book is : mostly all the contemporaries (especially YA ones) I pick up on a whim turn out to be a bad decision. Like, I should just stop doing this, and slowly just reduce reading YA contemporary because it’s not getting me anything except for wasting precious time.
Anyway, ranting can be done later. As for the book, I did not like it. Like, at all. I really wanted to love the book, and tried hard in the first half of the book to like it, but – didn’t happen. By the end, I was just tired and frustrated and skimming through it all.
1. Back-story : Both the story and the back-story are really good stories. Which makes me wonder how much better the book could have been had the author executed the book well. The book is essentially about a girl who has faced abuse and trauma in her childhood at her foster parents’ home, and as a young adult, how she comes to terms with the repercussions of that abusive period. Initially, I thought the book would solely deal with her mental and emotional confrontation with the abuse, and how she would deal with it, but alas! That aspect of the book, however, soon meanders into an amateurish, stupid love affair.
2. Portrayal of the effects of child abuse : In the first half of the book, as long as it’s about child abuse and its effect, the book does a good job of portraying its effect and impact on the mind of our main character. That part is realistically done, with the main character being unable to communicate (having always being silenced in childhood) and how she has difficulty with her fears. But, again, the stupid romance soon overshadows it all.
1. The romance : Since I’ve already mentioned it, I’m gonna start of the cons with the romance. The romance was stupid, and if the author wanted to really make this into a love story, she could’ve added at least a bit of fluff, or drama or something. Even though the romance is unimportant and unimpressive, it clearly overshadows the more important themes of the book (trauma) and takes the center-stage and we have to keep reading about Rider’s (the guy) lips and hair and body and whatnot. And it’s annoying AF. Please stop? Because I know he is a good-looking guy but I don’t have to keep hearing it on every single page!
2. Lack of feeling/emotional base : Let me give you an example. [SPOILERS] When the main character finds out that her best friend may go blind, this is what she says and thinks : ‘”It’s…it’s okay to freak out about something like this”, I reassured her. This was an official freak-out situation.’ Dafaq? This was such an immature, stupid, baseless process of thought. And it LACKED FEELING. It was like, while going out for a party, the character comes to know her dress is ripped at the side. Now that might be an ‘official freak-out situation’. Like, what even is that? Maybe she could have reacted with a bit more emotion? Not just this, but the entire story is filled me lack of feelings or emotions. Even the love dialogues, or the parent-child relationships…every dialogue was written in a very unfeeling manner.
3. The writing :
“You’re so beautiful”. His gaze dipped, tracking the lacy edges of the bra. “Never thought I’d see you like this. So freaking glad I have. You’re so beautiful, Mallory”. That line, to me, is the epitome of shitty writing. Horrible, horrible. Clipped, emotion-less, bland crap. And honestly, if YA contemporary is not backed by good writing – it just becomes a pointless thing to read. I mean – sure – any genre without good writing is a bad deal, but especially with YA contemporary, where stories are becoming more and more generalized day by day – the writing is usually the saving grace of the book. Which, this book lacked.
4. Characters : Most of the characters were really underdeveloped, and soon lost their purpose in the book. Mallory, who starts off a girl dealing with trauma, soon gets lost in romance and my main issue was how the sucky romance overshadowed everything. Rider was a typical good boy, and apart from his helping Mallory deal with her issues, no other facet of his character is revealed. Paige, Rider’s ex is your stereotypical ex-girlfriend with no clear personality, and who’s present in the book ONLY to create a glitch in their love affair. The funny sidekicks are exactly that – lack of character and personality, and just present for spewing out stupid jokes.
5. The ending twist : About 70-75 % into the book, a sudden twist happens, absolutely out of nowhere. A sidekick is killed, and the circumstances which lead to his killing have no fucking background or relevance to the story. [SPOILERS] The sidekick is basically killed for some trouble he ran into (something related to drugs) and the thing is, there is hardly a one or two-liner reference of any drug issue before that twist in the end. Like…the whole book, there is harldy any mention of characters doing drugs (there is probably one small dialogue) and then in the end, just to create a twist and a shock, the author very ridiculously introduced a death just to create a shock element. It was just so ridiculous, like my character is killed due to drug issue, but there isn’t even any drug aspect in the book. It’s just all about a simpy love affair.
A ‘good book’ or a ‘good read’?
A bad book. A boring read.