Tag: contemporary

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

The Truth About Forever by Sarah DessenThe Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Published by Speak on May 11th 2004
Genres: YA, Romance
Pages: 398
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
five-stars

In The Truth About Forever, when asked how she is coping with her father's death, invariably seventeen year old Macy Queen's answer is "fine," when nothing could be further from the truth. In actuality, she is drowning in grief while maintaining a flawless façade of good grades and unblemished behavior. Though she feels lost when her boyfriend heads to "Brain Camp" for the summer, she finds herself a job with the quirky Wish Catering crew, and meets "sa-woon"-worthy Wes, whose chaotic lifestyle is in direct opposition to her own.

As the two share their stories over the summer, Macy realizes she can no longer keep her feelings on ice. Though it feels like her future ended with her dad's death, Macy's learns that forever is all about beginnings.

This one hit all of the high marks for me. I think that Dessen takes a really good look at grief and how hard it is to bounce back from a death. We have several teens in this book that had tragic things occur and I loved the different reactions by all of them. And I thought the ending, while showing how one can move on, didn’t just slap a bow on things either.

Macy Queen is dealing with the death of her father. Her favorite person in the world dies before the start of this novel. Readers find out that Macy and her dad loved to go running together, and one day when she decided to sleep in rather than go with him, she finds him later on the ground having CPR administered to him. That moment and others haunts Macy. I maybe teared up a lot while reading this book. Probably because it hit close to home for me. Something similar happened to me in college with coming home to find ambulances surrounding my home and finding paramedics working on my father. My brother was upstairs hiding, and I was hit with the thought that my father was dead. You don’t understand a world in which you exist and your parents no longer do. It feels just as backwards to us as it does to parents when they have to bury a child.

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Image result for george greys anatomy my dad is dead gif

So believe me I got the character of Macy. You go from being in a fog and okay again so many times you don’t know what to do with yourself. Macy who is dating the most terrible person ever named Jason (seriously he is the literature version of Ted Cruz) is doing what she can be to be perfect for her mom and Jason. She finds herself opening up a bit though when she gets interested in the catering family that comes to one of her mother’s house selling events. Macy becomes intrigued by them and finds herself working for the catering crew because she finds them so loud and also just alive. The owner of the catering company, Delia made me laugh a lot.   But I also loved brothers Bert and Wes (Delia’s nephews) and sisters Kristy and Monica. There’s a running gag that Monica doesn’t really talk just mmmms and when she speaks in complete sentences at the end of the book I maybe fell over laughing my butt off.

All of the secondary characters felt very real to me. I get why Macy pulled away from her friends at school and quit the track team. You are just in self-protection mode there for a while. And we get to see how Macy’s sister and her mother deal with their grief as well. What I thought was great though is that as Macy meets Kristy and Wes and becomes close to them, she starts to realize that other people have their own private griefs too, but they keep moving forward. I loved that part of it, because believe me for about two years I had my head up my ass regarding what a pain in the butt I was to my friends who kept reaching out.

Once again Dessen nails the dialogue with teens and adults. I didn’t have an issue with flow in this one. I would say make sure you have a box of tissues nearby though. The scenes with Macy trying to hide her dad’s stuff from her mother’s trash purge, and her dream of trying to catch up to him had me sniffling.

Once again the book takes place in the town of Lakeview. I am wondering why this is not considered a series though? Lakeview in this one was a bit more interesting. We get to see Macy who is definitely on the right side of the tracks dealing with the stress caused by her mother who is trying to build up the community around them with designer townhouses. It felt a little more in sync with the world I was introduced to in “Lock and Key” and I enjoyed that.

The ending for this one definitely leaves you with hope for Macy and her family. You can tell they are not 100 percent healed (you never are really) but you can see them starting to come out on the other side.

 

five-stars

Snowfire by Phyllis Whitney

Snowfire by Phyllis WhitneySnowfire by Phyllis Whitney
Published by Fawcett on 1972
Genres: Gothic romance
Pages: 288
Source: Purchased: print book
Goodreads

In this gripping new novel of love and danger, Phyllis A. Whitney spins into magnificent focus the icy weather and fiery passions of a chic eastern ski resort. The slopes are fine but for Linda Earle, who hasn't come to Graystones for winter sports, the atmosphere is terrifying. Seeking to clear her brother of a murder charge, Linda finds her search for the truth hampered by her attraction to the mysterious Julian McCabe. It was Julian's wife who had been murdered and now Linda's presence has aroused new terrors. Is Linda going to be the next victim?

In a lot of ways, I am the perfect audience for this book.

Phyllis Whitney is one of the big gothic romance authors from the 1970’s. This is the second Whitney I’ve read – the first being Window on the Square. Whitney writes in both a contemporary and a historical time period. Window on the Square is historical. This one is contemporary.

To understand why I am the perfect audience for this book, you must understand something of my childhood. I was born in the midwest, and my parents fell in love with skiing when I was very young. I recall chartered bus trips from Omaha, the place of my birth, to Breckenridge and Aspen, Colorado, with the kids bedded down in the front of the bus, while our parents – the adults – played cards, smoked cigarettes, flirted and drank cocktails in the back. It was a raucous good time.

We moved to Idaho specifically for the skiing when I was in the fifth grade, and I spent every weekend on the slopes. I joined junior racers and my high school ski team. I threw myself down the mountain as recklessly as possible, and warmed up in the lodge and made fun of the ski bunnies who got all gussied up for the purpose, apparently, of sitting in the lodge and being hit on by the ski bums.

I don’t know if Phyllis Whitney was a skier, but she nailed 1970’s ski culture, from the fondue to the snow bunnies to the apres-ski gluhwein.

fondue

Graystones, the house at the center of this book, was perfect – a Norman castle transplanted into the north woods. The mystery was engaging, with Linda, the heroine, going “undercover” as an apres-ski hostess to clear her younger brother, Stuart, who has been accused of murdering Margot, the wife of Stuart’s ski mentor, Julian.

Julian is the owner of Graystones. As in Window on the Square, Linda forges a connection with Adria, the small daughter of Margot, who believes that she has killed her mother – the parallels between this book and Window on the Square are notable. And, while I will admit that I think that WotS is the superior book, this one was quite enjoyable. The story comes to a climax on the mountain at night, with Linda fleeing, on skis, from the pursuing murderer.

Now, about the cover. I really like the cover that shows up on goodreads, but like a lot of these books, it was issued in other covers, and my actual cover is not available to choose! I think that the cover for this edition is a little bit misleading, though – because that dress looks like this would be a piece of historical fiction.

This, however, is my cover:

snowfire

Yes, it is just as crazy in person as it is in a photograph! So, this is a cheesy little book, but it is fun.

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