Summer Romance: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, copyright May 2004, available in hardcover and trade paperback formats. YA novel for grades 7 and up: kisses only.

This is yet another strong novel about teens dealing with real life. The Truth About Foreverspeaks of grief and loss as well as living in the moment and enjoying life at the moment. Macy Queen is the narrator of this story and it is through her eyes we see how her life has changed since dealing with the death of a loved one and discovering a new love in the course of one summer.

As the novel opens, the summer has started. Macy and her family have recently had a death in the family. Macy’s father, during a routine morning jog, collapses and dies from a heart attack in front of her. It’s a memory that won’t fade. Since her father’s death, Macy decides to removing herself from the world by shedding her old life prior to her father’s death and keeping only to herself. Macy’s boyfriend, Jason, is preparing to go to Brain Camp for the summer. Macy thinks that Jason is just what she needs in her life. Someone who’s in control of everything and who doesn’t believe in chance or fate. Macy agrees to work for him during the summer at the info desk at the library. A job Jason takes seriously and expects Macy to do the same.

Macy establishes a routine in her life that she allows to consume her: working and studying for her SAT exam. She perpetuates a false facade of perfection to her family. It seems that she doesn’t allow herself any time for fun or friendship. Her sister, Caroline seems to have been the rebellious one in the family: sneaking out at night to meet boys. Macy is more predictable where Caroline was wild and out of control. Caroline eventually gets it together, graduating from college, marrying and settling down.

Macy’s mom, Deborah, decides to hide behind work. Work is her refuge from life and all it’s ugliness. It’s something she can control. Deborah started a real estate business, Wildflower Ridge Homes, with her husband and was successful at it. After his death, she continues to give even more of herself to her job and less to family. Caroline is the one who tries the breach the family’s code of silence of dealing with the death of their dad by renovating the beach house that he loved so much. However, this only causes more heartache and grief in the family. The agenda seems to be to pretend that everything is alright on the surface and stick to safe topics and avoid the ugly truth.

And so it goes with Macy and her routine of work and study until she meets Delia and gang from Wish, who caters a party for her mother that goes disastrously wrong. Delia runs Wish, named after her late sister who died of cancer. Very pregnant, Delia runs this business with her two nephews Bert and Wes and with Kristy and Monica. To say that chaos is their middle name is putting it mildly. Soon, Macy starts to work for them just to do something different and unpredictable. It’s a change. Something different. Unfortunately, Macy’s mom see her new change as a negative and discourages her relationship with Delia and the rest. That’s it in terms of the plot that I care to discuss or divulge. You’d have to read the book to get the rest.

There are a few story arcs that eventually culminate to the end of summer where you see new beginnings and endings. Also there’s a nice romance that develops that doesn’t ever seem forced or contrived. There’s a natural flow to it that I found refreshing. The memories of first love. Remember the late night walks? Or the two of you alone, sharing your most inner most secrets in the dark with the cute guy whose oblivious of his effect on young girls. Sa-woon. Nor does he care. Sa-woon, again. It’s a bit idealistic but who cares, I loved it. The dialogue is realistic; the issues of death and grief were nicely handled and balanced with an uplifting message of living in the moment. The overall tone of the story wasn’t depressive at all despite the topic of death plays an integral part in the story. However, the story does evoke a little of everything emotionally from you, leading you to be a bit more reflective of life in general. I loved the ending.

I identified with Macy and what she was going through. Macy was a very engaging narrator. The secondary characters helped round out the story and were just as memorable as the protagonist but they never overshadowed the narrator. I used to have an aversion to first person stories but when you read a story like this you have to admit that it’s not always the the point of view that is at fault. More or less the power is in the mighty pen and the talent of the author. First person does have it’s limitations but if done right, it shouldn’t be that noticeable to the reader. Fault likes with the author not the format is my theory for why first person doesn’t always work well for me. Third person pov is what I would prefer but I do have keepers on my bookshelf with first person pov.

Anyway, I loved this story. I loved Macy as the narrator. I related to her. Loved the secondary characters that included Delia and the gang. Enjoyed the romance while it was a bit frustrating watching the two of them misjudge or miscommunicate with each other slightly at times but then it’s necessary for the climax of the story. It certainly added to the anticipation. I remember Jane mentioning that she’d read this book like five times or something. I know this is one of her best books ever, so you know I had to read it. I plan to read more of Ms. Dessen’s work. I’m sure her other stories probably won’t top this one; who knows, they might but anyway, I think she has a great voice to tell stories with and I strongly recommend this title for readers who are looking for a good book to read. It’s a quick read, too. I took my time with it because I didn’t want it to end. My grade, A.

I know some readers won’t touch books that are labeled YA novels and it’s a pity. A lot of the time, the themes in YA are very adult allowing the difference to be seen through the eyes of the young. My thanks to Rachel for bringing this genre to my attention and of course to Jane for mentioning how much she loved this book. Read this book. It’s very good. I can’t promote this book any better than that. Anyway, good reading to you as always.


About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Grade A Reviews, Teen Fiction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

61 Responses to Summer Romance: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

  1. Jane says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the use of the pullquote to include an excerpt. Will totally be stealing that idea. πŸ™‚ As for this book, Sa-woon. I believe that there are some couples destined to be together from the minute that they meet, no matter the age. In my neighborhood, there are three couples, married for more than 15 years, who had dated since their teens and married young. It’s believable. And even if it wasn’t, I would want to believe.

    This is my favorite book by Dessen. The others are good but this one really struck a chord with me. There was another one about mothers and daughters which I really loved too (it doesn’t have a romance though). Her voice and style is so clean, no extra words, characters or description. It all matters.

    I loved the visual of Wes’ tattoo peaking in and out of his shirt sleeve.

  2. Avid Reader says:

    I love reading this book and didn’t want it to ever end. Sigh.

  3. jmc says:

    I read this book last week. Loved it. :wub:

  4. AAR Rachel says:

    This is a great book. I need to read it again soon. Enjoyed your review! I didn’t realize it was such a favorite for Jane – 5 times! Wow.

  5. Avid Reader says:

    [quote comment=”14660″]This is a great book. I need to read it again soon. Enjoyed your review! I didn’t realize it was such a favorite for Jane – 5 times! Wow.[/quote]

    Well, I might have exaggerated just a tinny bit there but I know she did read it multiple times which is why I’ve kept this book in the back of my mind.

    JMC – wasn’t it wonderful. I’ll be rereading it myself. Are you planning to read her latest, Just Listen? We should compare our thoughts on that one, to see how well we like her voice/style of writing. Alas, I won’t be diving into it right away.

  6. jmc says:

    I have another Dessen book TBR, That Summer. I have This Lullabye on my hold list at the library, but I’m way down on the list.

  7. Tiffani C says:

    this was the most amazingest book i have ever read
    its inspirational romantic and touching. its my new favorite
    everyone should read this book it will change your life

  8. Caliegh Jo says:

    amazing book. grand author.
    the best book i have read all year. keep em coming =]

  9. leslie says:

    caution: there might be spoils in my post, so if u haven’t read it, READ IT. jk [= if u havent read it, please do not read further on

    just wanted to state my opinion.

    i read this book, it was nice [: SA-WOON ahahah. i love love love the part where she impresses wes with her badassness? Hah
    the girl hella KNOWS how to quit a job :]

    “sharing your most inner most secrets in the dark with the cute guy whose oblivious of his effect on young girls. ”

    man oh man, I wanna find a guy that’ll pay attention to me and listen to what i have to say ^^^ like that. Thats hot. and if hes cute, even better!
    not that looks are important, its all about personality haha

  10. Sarah says:

    I just wanted to say, I’ve read it seventeen times, and it never gets old. It’s such an amazing book. Probably the best out of all of them. Just Listen is my second favorite by you. :] But anyways, Macy is such a relative character, I related to her a lot. Only having one love for a long time, focusing your time around them, etc. Macy is so spectacular in this book, she’s amazing. She may not realize it herself, but she is. & Wes, don’t even get me started! First off, the way you described him, is probably every girl’s Prince Charming. He’s gorgeous, funny, cute, athletics, and my favorite, artistic. He does so many things for Macy, it goes to show that one person, can change your life. :] Enough of my babbling, it was an amazing book, and I loved it. :]

  11. Avid Reader says:

    Hi Everybody, thanks for dropping by my blog. I loved this book and Wes is just so swoon worthy. I have Just Listen waiting TBR. I hope to get to it soon. I think Ms. Dessen is really talented and I related to Macy and loved the romance in this book. Glad to see so many fans of this book out there!

  12. Emily says:

    I’m reading this now and I’m on page 130 or so, and I lovelovelove it! I got this because I own like 5 other books by Dessen and they always get to me, I cry during a lot of them (like Dreamland, one of my favourites) and I adore ’em. πŸ˜€

  13. Avid Reader says:

    Hi Emily! Glad you’re enjoying The Truth About Forever. I’ve just discovered her myself and have collected quite a few of her books so far.

  14. Tieqqa says:

    this book is a total sa-woon WOHOO!
    but sadly this wasn’t my favourite by Sarah Dessen.
    I have a soft spot for This Lullaby πŸ™‚

  15. andrea says:

    i am doing a book report on this, and I have multiple climaxes, and I cant pick which one it really is.
    is it when the beach house is finished, the end of the game Truth, macy tells Wes about her dad, or when Macy runs the first time on years that leads to the end of the game Truth??????????

  16. Avid Reader says:

    Hi Andrea, I would think the completeion of the Beach House would represent the main climax of the story. There were many subplots that you described, like Macy’s and Wes’s game of Truth and her running for the first time in years and so forth and so on. Hope this is helpful for you and good luck on your book report!

  17. Lizzie says:

    This is my favorite book of alllll time!!
    I’ve read it almost four times since I got it on Christmas day x] And before that, read it in 7th grade.

    Ahh gosh, it’s just amazing and I can’t stop thinking about it and wishing that I was Macy over and over again.

    The best visual image in the book was when the three girls are in the doublewide, watching Wes run past “his back was tan and gleaming with sweat.” o___o

    Haha well, anyway, this is by far the best modern romance story out there. I’m sure every girl would want someone just like Wes…or they’re crazy =]

  18. Becca says:

    You have no idea how much i loved this book!

    i want a sequel!!! lol
    please, please, please! πŸ™‚

  19. angel says:

    i love this book. i have probably read it at least 15 tiimes already lol

  20. maleah says:

    i enjoyed it SOO much. i cant even believe how fantastic it was and how it really touched me with what im going through right now.
    Delia had some fantastic quotes that i put up on my wall. i was just so inspired it was fantastic.



  21. Jacky says:

    i love this book and i am doing a report on it. does anyone know the theme(s) of this book?

  22. kelsey says:

    this is my all time favorite book; i never wanted it to end. sarah is an amazing writer. i love all of her books [:

  23. Tara Blaney says:


  24. broookerrr says:

    this book was the best i’ve ever read. i could totally relate to things that were going on. as far as Wes goes? YES! im in love with himm<3
    i really didnt want this book to end. it was honestly amazing. Sarah Dessen has a ture gift(: i think a sequal would be a good idea! id buy it in 1/2 a heartbeatt.

  25. Kerrie says:

    I’ve read all of her books. The truth about forever is my favorite one! ❀

  26. my favorite book. so relatable. i could read it a million times.

    actually i could probably read all her books a million times. (:

    get this: i had a game of truth/dare (mostly truth) going on with this guy i liked and i was reading the book for the first time. some coincidence huh?! too bad he turned out to be a jerk, and not like wes.

    but then again, if all guys were a wes or owen ( just listen) i guess Sarah Dessen’s books wouldn’t be as captivating and amazing! haha.

  27. Brittney says:

    so this book was absolutely amazing.
    im savvoring every page because i am so close to the end, but at the same time i wanna finish reading it and see what happens with wes and macy.
    so far this book is awesome, it makes sense in every way and i can relate to it in some ways more than others. this book has just the right amount of realistic fiction, it doesnt have any extra information that no one cares about, its gets to the point quickly w/o getting to the point ( i know weird explanation).

  28. Moranda says:

    Ive read this book twice
    and i have read ALL her other books
    including her newest one : Lock and Key , which was good i though
    not her best
    but my favorite was this book and dreamland. Dreamland was touching and very well written

  29. Jaclyn says:

    OMG!!! This is SUCH an amazing book, I couldn’t stop reading it. I cant tell you how many times I have wished I was Macy (except for the whole dad part) But i wish I had a guy just like Wes! I mean…. who doesn’t?? Annnnnyways this is a REALLY good book one of my favorites by Sarah dessen, I also like her other ones, but I have a soft spot for this one. I really recommend it!!

  30. Emilie says:

    i absolutley love this book… so i decided to do my book report on it, however i am supposed to find 14 main events and there were so many events i can’t decide which ones would be the most important.

    Please please please help me as soon as possible. i am sooo lost.

  31. shelbaii says:

    ahhhhh!! (:
    i absolutely adore this book.
    It’s one of my favorites, although
    Dreamland, Someone Like You, and
    Just Listen are also up there.
    Anyway, I’m also doing a report
    for this book, and I have the climax,
    but I can’t seem to figure out an exact setting,
    or a good theme for the story.

  32. Avid Reader says:

    Hi Shelbaii – A good theme for this story would be about moving past grief and enjoying life at the moment for what it is – at least that is what I take away from the story. Also being perfect is boring. What do you see? It is a multi-faceted story that incorporates a lot of themes. I don’t think you’d be wrong if you came away from the story with something else. As for the exact setting of the story – it’s contemporary but exact year I couldn’t say.

  33. Chelseaa says:

    i read it like 3 times over.
    I just like fell in love with this story.
    I got so into it, and just wishing I was Macy.
    Or wishing that I would meet someone like Wes.
    Jaclyn I agree, who doesn’t!
    Gahhhd. I love it. πŸ™‚
    I’m making my friends read it. πŸ™‚
    Hopefully they’ll like it too.

  34. cassidy says:

    i have read the book and i couldnt put it down
    i loved it and i am now reading just listen

  35. stephanie says:

    I LOVE THE THRUTH ABOUT FOREVER. I want me a Wes, but I’m not jealous, Macy & Wes are the perfect couple. Sarah Rocks for this book, I loved every moment of it. I loved Kristy, Monica (monotone rocks), Delia, & Bert.
    Where is the sequel?!?

  36. stephanie says:

    woops! I misspelled TRUTH, sorry.

  37. Julia and Stephanie says:

    we really enjoyed this book…
    we’re doing a report at school at this very moment.
    =) everybody should read this book!!

  38. nisha says:

    i really did love this book. i think that sarah did a very good job on this book and hopefully i could read some of her other books. i think the whole concept was jus awesome.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. Brooke says:

    Wow, this is such an amazing book, it inspired me to read more of her books, if not all. I’m currently doing a book report on it…
    i need help with the theme and setting though!!

  40. Brooke says:

    nevermind i got the theme πŸ™‚
    and if you haven’t read this book, READ IT!
    i lovelovelove it,
    and Dessen is my favorite author, next to Stephanie Meyer!

  41. Pingback: The Truth About Forever « A High and Hidden Place

  42. ashley says:

    hey! i couldnt help but notice all ur great books. i think we would get along good. im looking 4 a good, lifechanging book. any pointers?

  43. ashley says:

    hey, i saw u read the truth about forever. i read it last semester, and i loved it! it really made me appreciate life and see everything in a different way. it is a must read for anyone reading this me, ur probably skipping this thinking its a comment like everyone else, but trust me, if u like romance that touches u from the inside, u will love this book!


  44. ashley says:

    hey, avid reader, im almost done writing a book but i dont know how to end main character, matt, has just lost his best friend after being whisked away into the future and engaging for nearly a year what is the biggest struggle of his life.he’s about to go home again, to his real life where he is teased and forgotten and is nobody’s hero.even a girl he secretly admires barely knows he exists.i want an ending that is touching and has to make the

  45. Avid Reader says:

    Congrats Ashley on writing your first book! It sounds really interesting. Good luck to you on this endeavor.

  46. jocelyn says:

    heyy i love your books ! im a big fan , im doing a book project on this book and i just wanted to know what the genre was?

  47. anna merry says:

    does macy end up with wes?

  48. Avid Reader says:

    @anna merry: It would ruin the story if I gave away the ending πŸ˜‰

  49. Jasleen says:

    what is the setting in this story?

  50. Keishon says:

    @Jasleen: The Truth About Forever has a contemporary setting. Majority of the story takes place during the summer. Hopefully that helps.

  51. Jessica says:

    What would you say is the most important lesson that the novel teaches you?

  52. Avid Reader says:

    That you should enjoy life to the fullest and enjoy each moment as it comes. Love this book.

  53. Amanda says:

    I enjoyed this book but enjoyed her other two books (Dreamland, Lock and Key) much better. If you liked this book I would make sure to read her other books. You will not be disappointed! She is like a Judy Blume for this generation of young adults.

  54. Avid Reader says:

    @Amanda: I have those two books Amanda so thanks. Also, have you read her latest? Along For The Ride? I need to read it.

  55. Shamana says:

    I loved this book, alot of people in my class are reading books by her now. shes great. i have to admit, the book did take a while to actually get started. but it qwas great. i love how macy changed as the story went on. and the wish catering crew, i love all of them!

  56. Shanti says:

    @Jaclyn: I LOVED this book too!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is my ALL TIME FAVORITE book! And I would recommend it to anyone! This is a story that everyone can fall in love with.

  57. Nixi says:

    This is the most amazing book i have read in a looooong time after the twilight series!!!! I dont know why Sarah Dessen decided not to let Wes and Macy carry on with the truth game….. ;( So sad…

  58. Britt says:

    i love this book it goes in so much detail but doesn’t make it boring…! i really like how Sarah Dessen described all of the characters and what was happening! Wes seems like a fun cool guy! i would love to have a boy like that at my school! all of them are so immature and annoying! but i couldn’t put this book down and never wanted it to end! it would be soo cool if Sarah Dessen wrote a sequal or it became a movie but the movie would have to be exactly the same! Over all of Sarah’s book i have read this one is my favorite! there was always a part in the book that was intresting! LOVED IT!!!! really recommend it!!! πŸ˜€

  59. Poop says:

    πŸ™‚ loved this book!! what is the setting???

  60. eallyn says:

    I absolutely LOVED this book! I was si sad when it ended! It was one of those books that you cant put down because it is such a page turner!! I cant wait to read some more of her books. It is definately something I would recomend to a friend.

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