Title: The Problem with Forever
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: 17th May 2016
*E-ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
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.
Jennifer L. Armentrout is one of my favourite authors, therefore when I saw her latest book was available on Netgalley to review I fangirled and hit that request button straight away. When I saw I had been accepted, I pretty much did the happy book dance, you know which dance I mean, we all have one.
The problem with forever is both heart breaking and heartwarming, as Mallory goes on a journey to start her senior year at high school, her only year in a real school after being home schooled. People believe she is mute because of her anxiety, panic attacks and overall nervousness to talk due to her past, but she isn’t. She just needs to get used to her surroundings, on numerous occasions she states how ‘she doesn’t like who is she’ and the story follows how she overcomes this.
An interesting element to the story was Jennifer Armentrout’s incorporation of the nightmares and past memories that plague Mallory and we assume Ryder as they share a past, these are included in chapters by being formatted into italics therefore we can distinguish that it is a memory. This allows for a more detailed and developed story, and as a reader it is almost as if you we are their experiencing it as it happens therefore you can establish the fear Mallory felt.
The Problem with Forever is a roller-coaster of emotions, I won’t be a spoiler sue and go into detail to reveal the big moments in the book because A LOT happens. The book features an array of diverse themes and characters, from dealing with child abuse, adoption/foster care system, gang violence, illness as well as death. This book truly packs a punch, I did have to reach for my tissues at one point.
In terms of characters, I didn’t have any characters which I hated or disliked. At first I wasn’t a fan of Paige but as the story develops you understand that she is just like Mallory, her life isn’t perfect and she is misunderstood. She’s stand offish in order to protect herself and the ones around her. The way she acts isn’t always the best but having now finished the book I feel like it’s because she doesn’t know any other way.
A major plus I found reading this book was Jennifer Armentrout’s writing being so realistic, she doesn’t make the romantic element of the story just appear and then there is a happy ever after. She features some trials and tribulations that Ryder and Mallory go through in order to get to a somewhat level space, the ending sentence of the epilogue sums this up in a perfect way ‘Forever is a work in progress, but I can’t wait for forever’. Therefore acknowledging that this book isn’t like a fairy tale, Mallory doesn’t find her prince or knight in shining Armour and her life is suddenly great, instead she acknowledges how there is still work they must do but they know what their end goal is and that is each other.
I fully stand by that this a book worthy of 5 stars, it is brilliant. I love its incorporation of such deep themes such as Mallory and Ryder being abuse survivors. It’s realistic and what I would describe as being an honest portrayal. I will also take this moment to say how I just love the book cover as well, the different colours in a water colour arty way on the white background makes it stand out and it will look so pretty on a bookshelf! I think the choice of using just the title rather than having a picture is a great choice because it allows us as readers to picture Mallory and Ryder in our own way rather than having models on the front which influence our imaginations.
Are you a fellow Jennifer Armentrout fan? Are you looking forward to her new book? Let me know in the comments, we can fan-girl together!