You know that feeling where a book is so good all you want to do is keep reading to find out what happens, but you also never want it to end? That’s how I felt about The Truth About Forever.
This was the first time I’d ever read any Sarah Dessen, and picked this one up after seeing it recommended at Forever Young Adult. I am a sucker for any coming-of-age/romance story (proof is here, here, here and here). TTAF is exactly that, with a down to earth, sympathetic heroine, fully realised supporting characters and totally swoon-worthy boy (or sa-woon, as Kristy would say)
TTAF is narrated by Macy, who is 17 and dealing with some pretty horrible stuff. About 18 months previously, her father died completely unexpectedly, dropping dead at the side of the road, Macy by his side. Since this happened, Macy and her mother have compressed all their sadness somewhere deep inside themselves and have told themselves (and everyone else) that they are fine. Just fine. With Macy’s outspoken older sister married and living away, the two of them build their own little world of quiet, repressed grief and calm, each trying to compensate for their pain by being as perfect as possible. Perfect is Macy’s world now; she gets perfect grades, dresses neatly and has the perfect boyfriend who is obsessed with order and rules, all of which makes Macy feel safe. Life, essentially is boring and monotonous – but easily managed and very well planned with no nasty surprises.
Jason, Macy’s boyfriend, goes away for the summer, leaving her to fill in for him at the library. After a particularly hard day of feeling lonely and rebuffed by her co-workers, Macy reaches out to Jason via email and breaks one of their unspoken rules – she admits to feeling disordered and emotional. Jason promptly suggests they ‘take a break’ and Macy is left even lonelier before. She bumps into a motley crew of caterers at an event thrown by her over-worked mother, and is totally drawn in by Wish Catering and their odd team of staff: Delia, Bert, Monica, Kristy and Wes. Lovely, lovely Wes. But more on him in a minute. Macy, on whim, ends up taking a second job with Wish and suddenly life starts to pick up – both in chaos and in fun – and Macy starts to wonder whether perfect is worth it, and what she might have been missing, feeling afraid and alone all those months.