Welcome to today’s stop on the review tour for The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout!
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JLA is just one of those authors whose books you can’t help but enjoy. The Problem with Forever is the first of her contemporary YAs that I’ve read (I usually read her NA or fantasy books), but it was just as fantastic as I expected, if a little different from what I usually read from her. Besides the gorgeous cover, what really attracted me to this was the intriguing blurb – the fact that the main characters are long-lost friends who bonded over tragic circumstances. Mallory and Rider’s story turned out to be gripping and intense – from the very first page, I couldn’t put it down!
As a foster child, Mallory Dodge grew up in an abusive home, but the one person who was always there for her, who promised to protect her forever, was Rider Stark, a foster kid who grew up alongside her. While Mallory was able to get out and get adopted by good people, she never knew what happen to her dear friend – until now. The last person she expects to run into during her first day of her senior year of high school is her long-lost friend, who she’s never been able to forget. And it seems like he’s never been able to forget her either.
Mallory suffers from some pretty intense anxiety, including public speaking, due to PTSD from her childhood. As a defense mechanism, she’s quiet, awkward, and struggles to speak out. I could feel how much she hated this aspect of herself, but felt so helpless to change anything about it. Her growth and development is slow and gradual, though not without struggles, but it really felt so honest and real. JLA did a wonderful job with Mallory’s character, with making her relatable and genuine. She’s the kind of heroine I easily found myself cheering for.
Life was like doing this speech. It wasn’t necessarily about the end result, but more about trying.
I could… I could get behind that.
Rider is your typical cocky, bad boy senior… except he’s not. He’s actually so much more than that. He’s loyal, headstrong, and incredibly protective of Mallory – he always was since they were younger. He’s also so supportive of her, helping her try to overcome her public speaking issues. He once again becomes Mallory’s savior… but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need saving himself. Much as Rider would like to think their traumatic past only affected Mallory, he’s so messed up inside from it that he doesn’t even realize it. My heart broke even more so for Rider than Mallory, because as Mallory grows and heals, Rider only comes to believe that he has no self worth.
Forever was something we all took for granted, but the problem with forever was that it really didn’t exist.
This book… it’s painful and heartbreaking to read, but the changes Mallory and Rider make are nothing short of awe-inspiring. The inner strength within these two is a powerful thing to witness, made all the more sweeter after the tragedy and struggles they’ve overcome. I also loved all the secondary characters and how important and influential they are in Mallory and Rider’s lives, from Mallory’s adoptive parents to her best friend, from their speech teacher to Rider’s adoptive brothers. They all have an impact on the story and the main characters, which made this book feel all the more real to me.
The Problem with Forever is a raw and powerful read, and it’s one everyone should give a try. If you love JLA, get ready for an intense, highly emotional read – it’s a fantastic YA contemp you won’t regret reading!
Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.
A Messenger Bag filled with a Kindle Fire, Signed THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER, Signed Copies from Jennifer L. Armentrout and Katie McGarry, and Book Goodies and Swag for 1 Winner