192 pages, Paperback
Published on March 9, 2001
Summary: When you build up something in your mind — really imagine it, wish for it — sometimes, when it actually happens, it doesn't live up to your expectations.
True love is nothing like that.
Especially not for Katherine and Michael, who can't get enough of each other. Their relationship is unique: sincere, intense, and fun all at the same time. Although they haven't been together all that long, they know it's serious. A whole world opens up as young passion and sexuality bloom.
But it's senior year of high school, and there are big changes ahead. Michael and Katherine are destined for another big "first": a decision. Is this the love of a lifetime, or the very beginning of a lifetime of love?
So, why am I doing yet another review from years ago, actually written in the 80s, back before I was even born? Well, as much as I'd love to be writing only reviews for new novels, a) I have a limited budget and can't always buy the latest novels; b) My goal is 365 reviews in 365 days and that doesn't exactly allow for pickiness; and c) Since most readers don't always read the latest novels, it's nice to see reviews of novels that were released a while ago. I feel like sometimes older novels get shoved aside too quickly to make room for new ones. Okay, stopping my random, boring rant now.
Overview: Forever... is a romance about first love and first expierences. this novel's short, and I know some die-hard Blume fans that all said it was fantastic and realistic and heart-wrenching. And I even remember being in 6th grade and begging my parents to let me read this novel. Well, honestly, I'm glad they said no all those years ago. Forever... is sexually explicit and while it is honest, it also seemed a little too sex-related. The whole novel basically revolved around Michael pushing Katherine into sleeping with him. In fact, over half the novel was spent on why Katherine doesn't want to do it and why Michael does. After the first 100 pages, Michael got a little less obsessive and I actually kind of liked him once he wasn't so sex-crazed. He kind of seemed sweet and they made a cute couple. But the author cut out basically everything but their relationship from the book, making it seem like Katherine was a clingy, obsessive girlfriend who only cared about her boyfriend. The rest of their lives were hinted at, with a few mentions of other activities, but they were few and far between. Also, it seemed like some of the details included within the story seemed random and useless. For instance, Katherine would go on for a few pages about Michael and her, then mention her father was attractive, and then go back to describing her relationship. The story was realistic and sad and cute at times, making it a not terrible novel, but not one to go running out to grab.
Katherine was nice, shallow, and clingy. Michael was sweet, sex-obsessed, and dense. Now, I know these descriptions can be a bit contradicting, but that's the overall view I was left with of them. And I was slightly confused by how Katherine went from wanting to hold off, to feeling sorry that she had made Michael wait all that long. In all honesty, she didn't make him wait long at all, in fact, their relationship went to the next level really, really fast. They were cute together and after a while I cared about them and hoped things ended up for the best. The other characters, their friends, Artie and Erica, had an interesting story, along with Sybil, their other friend who gets pregnant, but Blume's focus was solely on Michael and Katherine's relationship so they were left underdeveloped. My biggest grievance with this novel was Katherine's parents, though. I know this book was written in the 80s, but did dads normally encourage their daughters to date multiple guys at the same time back then? And since when do parents get to say what jobs you take? It upset me that Katherine let her parents dictate so much of her life, and how strangely her dad acted. On a side note I found it creepy that Michael named his, er, manhood, Ralph. Do guys really do that? Because I might have to re-think some things if they do...
The story was the book's downfall. I actually liked the premise and started in on the book soon after I received it because I expected an easy, light, simple read about the firsts of serious relationships. And that's what I got, for the most part. Until the end, that is. Okay, so spoiler, but I'm not going hide it because I'm going to explain my problems with the ending for a while. It seemed like Blume had pre-determined that Katherine and Michael weren't going to last. They were close, cute, and totally in love with each when they have to leave for different states for a few weeks. They wrote each other every day, and I liked the way they included a bunch of their letters to each other. Then Theo, an older, more sophisticated man steps into the picture and suddenly Katherine isn't in love with Michael, she's only in a relationship with him. And then Michael comes for a visit, wants to sleep with her (which, let's be honest, can't really be blamed, since they'd done it multiple times already) and Katherines screams at him and then they're over. I did a double-take on that one. What?! They were just in love, and then, bam! Katherine's moved on and poor Michael is left behind. I understood their fight, but it seemed more like an argument than a relationship-ending fight. Blume needed to think this one through for a while longer, in my opinion. And the hopeful ending, where Theo calls? Yeah, that didn't magically make the heartbreak go away like I think Blume intended it to.
The writing was mostly good, with a few errors. 1) The random insights into Katherine's life was weird and random. I don't think most readers cared that her nanny once had a crush on her dad, or that her mom likes toast. These ramblings seemed like meaningless page-fillers to me. 2) Blume was intent on focusing the story on their relationship, which was fine, except that nothing else was included. Some sub-plots were much needed and completely absent, save maybe one tiny story about Artie's depression. 3) Blume seemed to have made bullet points on a page, thought, okay, I'll write about this, then this will happen, then this, then this, so on, so on. And while I'm all for planning ahead, it seemed like the characters were in a play themselves, trapped in a pre-made world where their fates were pre-destined. There were some good things: the writing was accurate, realistic, and did well in portraying first love. Blume accomplished her goal of showing how your first isn't necessarily your last, just like the fact that forever isn't a realistic goal.
Cover: 4 stars
Characters: 3 stars
Plot: 3 stars
Writing: 3 stars
Overall rating: 3 stars