I’m back with another Jennifer L. Armentrout book, because she’s amazing and I just finished this book and I can’t help myself from gushing right now! Here is the summary from Goodreads:
Growing up, Mallory Dodge 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, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her se
nior year at a public high school. But she never imagined 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 soon it becomes apparent that she's not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider's life spiral out of control, Mallory must make 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.
This book, guys. THIS BOOK.
It has ALL the feels. It is beautifully written with compelling, realistic characters. I was hooked by page one. I’m a sucker for the trope of childhood friends reunited later on in life, and this book delivered in every conceivable way.
I don’t read a ton of contemporary stories, since I’m more of a magic and fantastical and paranormal kind of girl. But every time I read a compelling contemporary, like “The Problem With Forever”, I wonder why I don’t read more of these. They can be so powerful and teach us so much about our own lives.
Mallory’s inner thoughts, her anxieties, her fears, her bravery, her struggles, her emotions, her dreams--they are written with such detail that I felt all of it. She is a courageous girl who has risen from nightmarish childhood, and no matter how hard it is for her to follow through with her goals, she doesn’t stop. Her struggles and her growth were all believably written.
Rider . . . There are no words. Or maybe there are too many words. He is heroic, flawed, courageous, and (of course) super attractive. He is fiercely protective of those he loves. I mean, he was like six and a half years old when he put himself between Mallory and their abusive foster parents. He is the boy who wears confidence and arrogance and a “I don’t really care” kind of attitude, but underneath he is dealing with so much. He feels like there’s no point in really giving himself a chance at life, because no one else ever will. He broke my heart. He made me cry. He made me smile. He made me smile even while I was crying. And when he quotes the Velveteen Rabbit with that passage about being real . . . Oh my gosh, guys. POWERFUL.
I also loved the supporting cast, so much so that they deserve to be mentioned. Hector and Ainsley are great in their respective best friend roles to Mallory and Rider, and they each had depth and their own challenges that both balanced and enhanced Mallory’s story. Mallory’s adoptive parents are inspiring yet human, and, Carlos, I can almost forgive you for how you grilled Rider during that first, most awkward dinner. (Almost.) And Mr. BLANK should win teacher of the year! I adored him in every way, and I love knowing that the world has dedicated teachers like him.
I don’t do spoilers in these reviews, so I can’t tell you much more other than to say this book is incredible. It is moving, and deeply touching. It left a mark on me, and when a book does that, I know it was good! “The Problem With Forever” is a YA romance, but it goes deeper than that. Facing our demons, admitting our insecurities and flaws, and allowing ourselves to feel can be painful, but these are also the things that make us real. And being real for ourselves--and being real and there for others--is a beautiful, wonderful thing.
I completely, wholeheartedly recommend this book!
Content Advisory: There are some tough subjects dealt with in this book, including child abuse and violence. I thought the scenes were handled in a good way, but I want to lay out anything that might be a trigger. There is also some language (including a handful of F words) and one sexual scene.