Friday, March 16, 2012

Review: Forever... by Judy Blume

Title: Forever...
Author: Judy Blume
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: April 24th 2007 (first published 1975)
Pages: 192
Genre: Contemporary YA; romance
Source: Bought
Find out more: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads description:
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?
First sentence:
Sybil Davidson has a genius I.Q. and has been laid by at least six different guys.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This is a hard book to review. On the one hand, you have to see it for its historical importance and what it did for YA, but on the other hand, you have to look at it as just a normal book like any other. And while of course I appreciate how revolutionary it was as the first book to openly address teenage sexuality, I found the actual story lacking.

The writing is good - it reminded me of Elizabeth Scott's writing, since both styles are simple, flow nicely, and are just easy to get lost in.

Kath is a pretty good character, easy to relate to, but not all that special. If this were a book published today, I'd say Kath is clichéd and the typical contemporary YA female MC, but since this is one of the first of these kinds of books, I can't really criticize that - it's more that all those other books are rip-off of this one than the other way around; I just read them in the wrong order.

Michael's character, though, just didn't work for me. He's a very flat character, in my opinion - he's pretty sweet, but doesn't have much going on other than being nice to Kath - there aren't many character traits or interests of Michael's the reader knows about. It also annoyed me how he pretends to be all patient and everything but really pressures Kath into sleeping with him. Kath is always saying how different Michael is from her first boyfriend Tommy, who broke up with her because she wouldn't put out, but really, Michael's not much better. He says he loves her, but that's the only real difference - he's also trying to make Kath feel guilty when she says she's not ready to sleep with him. 

And since I didn't like Michael, I couldn't really connect to the whole romance storyline. The romance moves too fast - it's not insta-love, exactly, since they're not together right away, but once they're already together, the relationship gets serious too quickly to be realistic, in my opinion. I also disliked the focus on the sex. I can definitely see how this book was seen as scandalous when it first was released, and how it is still challenged today - almost half of the book consists of sex scenes, basically. But how descriptive that aspect is isn't what I mind, since that's normal in YA books nowadays. Still, I disliked how much Kath and Michael's relationship focused on the physical aspect - I don't mind the sex scenes, I just would have liked to see some more normal conversations between the two of them, would have liked to see them together in everyday situations more.

My favorite part of Forever... are the secondary characters. Sybil, Erica and Artie are all fully-developed and interesting characters, and I really enjoyed reading about each of them and the issues that are addressed because of these characters. I would have liked to see the novel focus more on these storylines, as I found them more realistic and relatable than the romance.

I know I mentioned a lot of negative aspects in this review, but really, that's just because I can compare Forever... to the hundreds of other YA books I've read, which those who were teens when this book was published couldn't do. I didn't like the love interest or the romance storyline, so I wouldn't recommend reading Forever... because it's a great romance. It's a quick, sweet read with a nice writing style, though - I did enjoy reading it, and I think it's worth a read, even if it's just to see what one of the first YA books is like.

If you've read this book, what did you think?


  1. PatriciasParticularityMarch 16, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Great great point about looking at this book in its impact on the YA Literature world. I know I had a small problem with separating its historical importance and its medium while reading this. I felt disconnected from the romance but I do think the bigger picture and goal of the book was exploring a teen girls 'coming of age' in a world of pressure, which is wrapped up in Michael.  In looking at this way I saw Michael's lack of character development to be representative of reality's lack of explanation when teens are pressured into things, in particular sex.  Do teens today, or anyone for that matter, explain themselves when they are exerting pressure?? I hope that makes sense lol. 

    But I'm with you in that I have a very hard time NOT comparing YA books with each other.  I think it is impossible not to do so.  Great review!

  2. Thanks! That's a really good point you make about Michael, makes more sense that way. I didn't think of that! :)

  3. As a kid I loved Judy Blume! I wonder how I would feel about one of her books if I read them now...I can understand why this would be tough to review!


Please leave a comment - I love to hear what you think!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...