Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publiation Date: May 17, 2016
Source: I bought this at Barnes and Noble!
Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | GoodreadsFor 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.
The Problem with Forever was worth all of the $18 I spent on it. If you don't know, I'm a stickler when it comes to money, but I decided to treat myself to a trip to Barnes and Noble and picked this book up in the process. Jennifer L. Armentrout is a go-to author for me. While I wouldn't call her a favorite author (I do have small issues with her writing), she never fails to entertain me. Armentrout usually writes paranormal books. I've only read one other contemporary books by her, The Dead List, a thriller, earlier this year and enjoyed it. Needless to say, I didn't really know what I was getting into with The Problem with Forever, which is contemporary. Thankfully, The Problem with Forever met my expectations and then exceeded them.
Several heavy topics are in this book, including physical, drug, and alcohol abuse, self-worth, speaking out, our corrupt foster care system, and more. What was most impressive about The Problem with Forever is that Armentrout tackled each subject head on, but without being offensive. I love how she called out society for judging people based on their address, or a few bad decisions that have been made. She shined light on a stigma many people have towards people with low income.
What you have to keep in mind is that this book isn't a romance, it's a coming of age story. Yes, there is a romance in this book, but it doesn't take center stage, and it shouldn't. The Problem with Forever is Mallory's story of learning to accept and speak up for herself. I loved reading Mallory's experience in high school. Though I don't have much social anxiety, it does creep up now and again, and I was able to easily relate to her because of my own experiences. Mallory's character development has to be my favorite aspect of this novel. The strides and accomplishments she achieves were so rewarding. I kept cheering Mallory on throughout the novel!
One issue I had was the underdevelopment of the secondary characters. The Problem with Forever develops Mallory, Rider, and Mallory's best friend Ainsley well, but it was lacking for everyone else. I would have loved to see more development for Hector, Jayden, Paige, Kiera, and even Mallory's parents, Carl and Rosa. I think the story would have been more impactful if there was more of them in the story, rather than just Mallory and Ridge 24/7. However, it could be argued that they weren't present in the novel because Mallory herself was such a reserved person.
My other complaints are just small, inconsequential things. For instance, I started getting really annoyed whenever Rider's dimple came up. It was mentioned so many times, and I just got irrationally annoyed with it. Like, I get it. He has only one dimple, not two and it makes Mallory swoon every single time she sees it. This is an example of the small issues I have with Armentrout's writing, as mentioned above.
Mallory herself was a great narrator. As mentioned before, I loved seeing her grow and become more confident in herself! Her soap carving hobby just made me like her even more! I appreciated that it wasn't just tossed aside as a fun fact and that it was present throughout the novel. Though I would get frustrated at Mallory and the decisions she made sometimes, I knew where she was coming from. So while I didn't agree with her all the time, she wasn't the stereotypical YA main character who makes rash decisions and acts out.
Overall, The Problem with Forever was a solid contemporary read. The main characters had great chemistry together and were well developed. While I would have liked to have the secondary characters a bit more fleshed out, it didn't compromise my reading experience that much. I'm very much looking forward to Armentrout's next foray into the contemporary genre.
With that, I give this book
4.25 out of 5 Stars!