Published by Harlequin Teen on May 17, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
For 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.
I was drawn to read The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout from the moment I saw its stunning cover. After hearing great reviews from bloggers that I trust, I decided to pick up the book from the library. I was in a bit of a reading slump, and needed to read something I knew would be quick, yet heartfelt. The Problem with Forever is definitely the book I wanted at just the right time.
The story is told from teenager Mallory’s point-of-view. Mallory grew up in an abusive foster home, but was adopted four years ago by a loving couple. After being homeschooled, Mallory decides to attend public high school for her senior year. It is there when she comes face to face with her hero and best friend from childhood, Rider. Mallory and Rider quickly rekindle their friendship, and perhaps become something more.
The Problem with Forever opens with a bang and creates a lot of tension in the reader. This shocking opening scene immediately sucked me into the story, and I read the book at a very quick pace. I really enjoyed that this book focuses on the foster care system in the United States, and also mental health. While I am not highly educated on these topics, it felt like they were handled very well and with respect. I admire that Armentrout chose to wrote a book about such difficult topics in a non-preachy way.
In addition to the book’s subject matter, I really enjoyed the characters. Mallory is a very sympathetic character, but so is Rider and many of the teenagers Mallory meets at school. They have flaws, but they try to be better people for themselves and those around them. It is so nice to see a young adult book with realistic characters in situations that many teenagers are facing on a daily basis.
My one critique of the novel is the writing style. The Problem with Forever has a cliché feeling that many of the romance novels I’ve read share. There is something about it that makes me cringe at some points. For example, there are a few times in the book where Mallory is “worrying her lower lip,” and many others where she spends a bit too much time describing Rider’s body. While there is nothing wrong with this writing style, it is just not my cup of tea. That being said, I read Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout a couple years ago and I much preferred the writing in The Problem with Forever.
All in all, I really enjoyed my read of The Problem with Forever, and definitely recommend this book if you are looking for an emotional read. I laughed, and I cried, and I fell in love with the characters. I know I read this book at the perfect time, but I think it is one I would enjoy even when not in a reading slump. I am definitely interested in reading some of Armentrout’s other work now, after having a good experience with this book.
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