Title: The Problem with Forever
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: YA contemporary
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes a riveting new story about friendship, survival and finding your voice
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 lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory must make 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.
This book has been on my TBR ever since I heard of it. I didn’t get to reading it until December when I read it with someone as a buddy read. I don’t buddy read usually because of the reading speed differences and I’m just more comfortable reading at my own pace. Nevertheless, it was fun reading with my buddy as we both read fast and were enthusiastic.
(P.S. if you’re wondering why I’m writing this review so late, I’m actually not. I’m writing this in Dec a week after I read the book, but I’m so far ahead in review posts.)
Mallory Dodge has had a rough life being a foster kid (who hasn’t, honestly) and the only best part of that life was Rider Stark, her only friend, her saviour, and her everything then. Years later, she’s now been adopted by a loving couple. Finally, for her senior year, she decides that she wants to overcome her fears and go to public school. She wants to be normal. Guess who she gets reunited with? Rider.
This book is not only about Mallory and Rider coming together romantically after all these years, but also them overcoming their own difficulties, especially Mallory. It’s all about self-development and becoming better and having the determination to work on yourself.
Mallory hardly speaks and because of this, in the earlier days, everyone assumed that she was mute. It was just an effect of PTSD. Every time she speaks to someone new or joins in on a conversation, even if she spoke seven whole words to a new girl, she becomes elated with joy. I loved reading about her happiness every time she took a step forward. She was trying so hard to be better and work on herself. If that’s not motivation for me to do better in my own life, I don’t know what is.
The book also had quite a few Spanish phrases, most of them without translations, which was a bit off-putting since I didn’t know that they meant and felt like I’m missing something. Fortunately, my reading partner knew Spanish so I could ask her.
I absolutely loved the characters. All of them had their own thing while also gelled together perfectly into the story. Every character had their problems, life, decisions and unlike many other novels, these other characters don’t always revolve around the MC.
- Mallory wasn’t perfect, but that’s what I liked. She didn’t always make good decisions and she wasn’t strong as hell. She was any other human being through those situations with her problems and achievements and goals. She didn’t get over her past so easily, and not definitely just because of the love interest. Everyone she knows played a role in it, most of all herself. I loved a point made in this book, that it’s YOU who is in control, and you must believe in yourself. It doesn’t matter about anyone else, it matters about you.
- Rider seemed perfect in the beginning. As if he came out pretty fine from everything that happened in the past, like he was over it without any help or therapy. But he also wasn’t. Rider saved Mallory from bad things in the past, and Mallory saves him in a way too, in this book, and I loved that. There was no guy makes girl happier only. It was there the other way round too.
- Ainsley, Mallory’s parents, Jayden, Hector, Paige.. basically all the side characters. They all had their own stories, lives and as I said, they didn’t revolve around the MC(s). I loved them all.
Rider and Mallory were too cute! It was so nice to go along with them through their relationship. It wasn’t a complete fairytale, but it was so cute. There was one point where it became too cheesy, but that was something new which we wouldn’t have found in other YA books. I legit squealed when they kissed for the first time. It was quite perfect, with all the imperfections, and I can’t come up with anything I didn’t like.
I really liked this book, and so did my reading buddy! We tried going slow and reading only a few chapters at once, and discussing; but that quickly failed because both of us couldn’t stop reading and ended up reading more than the limit we set. Finally, we just gave up and finished reading it and then discussed. I totally would have finished this book in one sitting if not for the buddy read.
(If you’re wondering why I give it only 4 stars after such a glowing review, it’s because I usually give 5 stars to books which make me feel a lot. You can say I’m a slightly harsh rater.)