July 5, 2011

Early Book Review: Forever

Title: Forever
Publisher: Scholastic Press (an imprint of Scholastic Inc.)
On-Sale Date: July 12, 2011
Length: 390 pages
Format: ARC paperback

At the end of the previous book we are left with an emotional pause in the story.  Now Grace is a wolf and Sam is waiting for her to return.  We don’t know if Sam is really cured, but we know he’ll be blamed for Grace’s sudden disappearance.  The only reason Grace lived to a third book was because of Cole.  He might be a self destructive pain, but he is also a genius.
In Forever, Cole must figure out what makes him and Sam and Grace and all the others turn into wolves.  He needs to figure out how to make them grow their human skins again, and he needs to figure it all out under a time crunch, because Tom Culpepper will not rest until the wolves of Mercy Falls have been annihilated.
Sam, Grace, Cole, and Isabel face their most dangerous dilemna yet.  They’ll need each other to survive it all if they can stop arguing, long enough.

This was a book of waiting.
Waiting for Grace.  Waiting for spring.  Waiting for Sam and Grace to be SamandGrace.  Waiting for a cure.  Waiting for answers.

Waiting for the waiting to be over.

I fell for these characters all over again, because these were characters I already loved.  These were characters I already cared about.  I wanted nothing more than for SamandGrace to sustain and conquer every obstacle.  I wanted Cole to have a breakthrough, and I wanted him to be okay.  I wanted Isabelle not to be angry anymore.
I wanted death and extermination to not be a possibility.

Every character had a similarity.  They all had a musicality about them.  They were written powerfully, and had the ability to say the most with the least.

Sam was heartbreaking in Forever.  There was so much pain and sadness written into his character.  He encountered things that he couldn’t overcome within the confines of Forever.  Things that would stay with him, and help shape him.  It was unbelievable to imagine even a fictional character carrying all that sorrow.
But even damaged, Sam could not break.

Cole was amusing.  A self destructive amusing, but we wouldn't want him any other way.
At the end of Linger, we were lead to believe that Cole would play a key role in Forever.  He was the genius wrapped in the body of a ruined rock star.  Cole was someone who came to Mercy Falls to get lost, but ironically, he found a purpose.  He believed he was already too far gone to be helped, but in helping the wolves, he found that he could live with himself again.

I read these words with wider eyes.   Emotion blead through the lines of this installment.

Everything was unexpected, and everything was predictable.
There were parts you could have foretold.  And there were pieces that you could not have seen coming.  It was the obvious that broke you.

Forever was where all the pain and all the hardships were collected in one final story.  The characters that lived past and lived through Forever would find happiness and solace in each other.

There was one tiny miracle that readers would be grateful and thankful for.  But I questioned why.

Near the end you’d picture the perfect fantasy of what you wanted to happen.  And you realized that you couldn’t make these characters live happily ever after.  Forever was filled with reality when the foundation was made of make-believe.  In reality.  Not every character.  Gets a happy ending.

There were times where the characters switched roles.  The logical became emotional.
Except for Cole.  He was forever a logical voice even though his methods were entirely unorthodox.

Time was a ticking bomb.  Time was always an issue.  But when characters found happiness time stood still.  Time didn’t matter for those fleeting moments.

Many times it seemed like none of these characters ever got a break, but you could not have gone through what they had and have everything fall perfectly into place.  Sometimes these characters had to hold onto what was most important and let the rest go.

Finishing Forever, I felt numb.  Then numbness gave way to sadness.  Sad that it ended.  Sad for the things that happened.  Sad for things that didn’t.  Sad that you never got a concrete answer.  Sad that you wouldn’t know.

It was sad for so many reasons, and it made me sad for so many more.  You’d think the ending was simple, but it wasn’t.  You knew the characters deserved to be happy, but there was so much against them.  There was so much lost and not enough time.  Not enough answers or explanations.

Beginning Forever you could picture the direction the plot could take, but this book could not be contained to only one path.  There were too many characters for everything to slide into place.  It would have been impossible for each of them to get everything they wanted.
These characters were written raw and emotional.  Their feelings were laid out for the reader.

Every story has to end but this ending felt so abrupt.  After living with these characters for years, and after the events of Forever there should have been more closure.  I’m left with a feeling of longing.
It could be quite possible that this was the author’s intention, because I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this novel.  I haven’t let go of the story yet.

There were so many questions.  Not all were answered.
We’re left with the unknown.

I wish it didn’t

Forever was truly an emotional read and only left you questioning.

Premise: 5/5
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Disclosure: I received an advanced copy when I attended Book Expo America in NYC this year. This did not influence my review in any way.

1 comment:

  1. I love the characters, the plot, and the setting. Plus the author wrote the ending to this series in a great way!
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