I wasn’t new to Jennifer L. Armentrout before picking up The Problem With Forever, having read and enjoyed her work in the Meet Cute anthology and Wait For You, as well as seeing her name pop up regularly on Goodreads. In fact, a quick search on Goodreads just there tells me that she has 104 (!!!!) distinct works, so I guess that it is no surprise that she is pretty hard to miss in the YA fiction world.
The Problem With Forever is the beautiful story of Mallory Dodge, a girl who was taught to keep quiet to avoid getting into trouble. Her childhood nickname was Mouse as a result of her lack of speech which carried through even after she was adopted by two loving doctors and finally removed from the horrific foster home she had grown up in and suffered through. But, one good thing came from the group home, and that was her best friend Rider. After a horrible incident that was the final straw and finally helped her see the back of that house, Mallory and Rider lost all contact, until she decides she wants to switch from home-schooling to a regular high school. And who goes to this school, unbeknownst to her before her first day? Yep, you guessed it – the one and only Rider Stark.
I hadn’t expected the foster home aspect when I went into the book with very little knowledge of it beforehand. It really took me by surprise, because it somehow isn’t really something which I have found in many of the YA books I have read before. Jennifer slowly leaks the details as to what happened during the final ‘incident’, although I had managed to sort of get the gist of it as clues were revealed. The relationship between Mallory and Rider was so heartfelt and pure, and he was so overprotective of the Mouse he knew from the past. Saying that, it was amazing to get to see Mallory come into her own as the book progressed, slowly managing to integrate herself back into a normal teenage life with friends and school and being able to have a conversation, or even just speak a sentence out loud at all.
AND BOY DID I CRY A LOT IN THIS. I don’t want to say where and when I cried, because that would just completely ruin it for you, but there were certainly moments that floored me. One of these was a moment when I felt so proud of this fictional character for what she achieved, and another was a totally opposite, heartbreaking and sudden moment that catapults everyone into a state of shock. Be warned. This ain’t one to read in public, at least in the later pages. Or, speaking from experience here, stay well away when you are hormonal. WELL AWAY.
Speaking of the later pages, that is my one fault to this book. There were too many pages. I’d rename this The Problem That Goes On Forever, because even though I was enjoying it, it went on for too long. It’s not that there were boring bits, just that I feel like we should’ve got to the end a tad quicker. But I guess if that is the only fault I can find, that can’t be the worst thing ever.
The Problem With Forever portrays a beautiful message about learning to not just accept the past, but also come to terms with the fact that forgetting isn’t always possible. It’s about love and loss and managing to work through difficult times, and the importance of being able to lean on others around you and learning that this doesn’t make you weak.
If you are looking for something that will stay with you even after you finish the final page, this one is for you.