Please let me be candid. When I first read this book’s blurb, I thought “this eerily sounds like Abbi Glines’ Until Friday Night.” And, then, I thought, does Ms. Glines know? She should! But before I went up in arms for Ms. Glines’ sake, I read another reader’s review on “TPWF” where she wrote, “if you like UFN, you’ll like this one.” So, I took her advice.
I didn’t expect to like it, but I did. The last Jennifer Armentrout (a.k.a. J. Lynn) book I read, “Tempting the Best Man,” made me want to roll my eyes, hurl, and die. That was incredibly ironic, because I really liked her “Wait for You” series. Most of it anyway. While I was extremely wary at first when I got a hold of “The Problem with Forever,” it took me 2 days to change my mind. That’s how long it took me to finish the book – with minimal skipping.
“The Problem with Forever” is a Young Adult contemporary novel, published by Harlequin Teen. Obviously, I’m not its targeted audience/reader, but if you’re like me and just want to read a good book, then you won’t find a problem with Armentrout’s “Forever,” especially if she echoes your oft-cynical sentiments: “Forever was something we all took for granted, but the problem with forever was that it rally didn’t exist.” With a line like that, say hello to Armentrout’s hook, line, and sinker.
This is the story of Mallory Dodge and Rider Stark. Both were the foster care system; both were treated badly. Mallory was lucky – she had Rider to protect her while they were both being abused, and she eventually got adopted by a couple of married doctors. Rider was just as lucky. While he didn’t get adopted by rich folks, he still managed to get in a home where the family actually loved him as one of their own. Where Rider helped Mallory cope with their childhood trials, at the age of eighteen, Mallory returned the favor to her best friend turned boyfriend. She also battles, and seemingly overcomes, her fear of speaking during her first public high school semester.
There are, indeed, echoes of Glines’ “Until Friday Night” in the book. Moreover, there were glimpses into the plots from “Step Up” (the Channing Tatum movie where his adopted little brother was murdered in a drive-by) and from “Ten Things I Hate About You” (where the heroine reads a heart-felt soliloquy in front of her romantic hero during class) in this book. While I didn’t quite like the subtle copying done (regardless of whether or not it was a conscious act), it’s tolerable. This is, after all, a story about teenage angst and first love. There’s not much to high school drama, as anyone who’s went there would attest. Grin and bear it, and you, too, shall prevail. Eventually.
Speaking of eventualities, I, for one, would like to see Mallory and Rider in a future setting. Don’t get me wrong: the ending in “TPWF” is not a cliff-hanger. It just ends while they were still in high school, which, while okay, could be pushed a bit more. I mean, doesn’t anyone else want to know? What did Rider eventually end up doing? How about Mallory? I’m thinking there may be follow-up high school Harlequin Teen stories on their friends, Ainsley and Hector, and maybe also on Paige. If so, um, I’ll read other people’s reviews and opinions first before I buy them.