Monday, July 1, 2013

Audiobook Review: The Truth About Forever


The Truth About ForeverAuthor: Sarah Dessen
Narrator: Stina Nielsen
Release date: October 13th 2005
Publisher: Recorded Books
Lenght: 12 hrs 14 min
Buy: Amazon

A long, hot summer...
That's what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy's father.
But sometimes unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister's project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl's world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?

For the longest time, whenever someone reviewed one of Sarah Dessen’s books, I had to start my comment with the words “I’ve never actually read anything by her before…” and to be honest, I was getting tired of it. So when an audiobook came my way, I decided to change that once and for all.

You all know that contemporary YA makes me uncomfortable at times, even when it’s not about something I can easily relate to. To make matters worse, The Truth About Forever hit too close to home, but instead of abandoning it like a coward I usually am, I kept listening… and I soon found myself wanting to hug it and run away from it at the same time.

Like Macy, I know all about being that girl whose dad died. The weight you carry when you lose the most important person in your life is as familiar to me as my own skin. Therefore, feeling her struggle was easy for me and I especially understood her need to tiptoe around her mother, trying to avoid hurting her at all costs.

It was clear right from the beginning that Macy’s relationship with Jason was based on all the wrong things. It was convenient, isolating and passionless, not something a sixteen-year-old girl should be in permanently… or at all. Right from the start, I saw Jason as just another integral piece of her coping mechanism, and as such, he didn’t invoke any kind of emotional response for me, except mild annoyance and maybe a bit of pity.

Enter Wes, a normal boy with his own problems and a kind soul. He and Macy start a tentative friendship and, through an ongoing game of Truth, open up to each other. Suddenly Macy finds herself talking about things she’s never talked about before, and the experience is liberating. Theirs is an extremely slow-burning romance, and the emphasis is always on their friendship, although it doesn’t hurt that Wes is as gorgeous as they come.

The Truth About Forever is, in some small way, a love story. But more than that, it is a story about friendships and grief, about learning to communicate when staying quiet is the safest thing to do.

The narrator, Stina Nielsen, is excellent. Her voice is calm and soothing, and she avoided bringing unnecessary drama to the story. There were times when her voices sounded just a tad too old to belong to a 16-year-old girl, but that’s a minor thing that can easily be overlooked. I admit there were times when I wanted to drop the audio and just read the rest because 12 hours is a very long time to spend listening to a fairly uneventful book, but I’m glad I didn’t give up. It made the final part so much more rewarding.

Sarah Dessen and I have just started our adventure, and I still need to read something by both Sarah Ockler and Sara Zarr or you people will come at me with pitchforks. But there’s no need for extreme measures. I promised, didn’t I?




32 comments:

  1. I can honestly say I have never listened to an audio book! May have to start giving it a go I think on my drive to work or something!

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  2. I found this one pretty enjoyably. I love Sarah Dessen's way of creaking relationships between family members and love interests. All are refreshing and genuine. His was no exception. Shame that you didn't enjoy it as much.

    Lovely review, Maja! <33

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  3. Sarah Dessen has a way of writing very real relationships and teen drama. She's got a gift, even if it does strike too close to home sometimes. I'm not sure I would have lasted through a 12-hour audio but go, you!

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  4. I'm one of those readers too who starts every Sarah Dessen comment with I haven't read a book by Dessen before! I'm glad that you finally decided to give a book by Dessen a go. I think that I would really enjoy this book despite some of the issues you had. And seriously Maja get onto reading books by Ockler and Zarr, Ockler has quickly become one of my favourite authors! :)

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  5. So. I still have to start my comment with "I've never read anything by Sarah Dessen" and dammit Maja, I'm really tired of it too! I will get to her sometime soon. I WILL! I'm really liking the sound of this one, you know me and slow burn romances, I live for them.

    And this:

    "But more than that, it is a story about friendships and grief, about learning to communicate when staying quiet is the safest thing to do. "

    Gorgeous. Definitely need to start my Dessen experience with this one I think!

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  6. I'm still going to have to start my sentence with "I've never read anything by Sarah Dessen" but I am such a Contemporary snob at the moment that I can't get enough of romances at the moment, so I know I will need to read one of hers soon. I haven't quite found a book that relates to me personally even though in contemps I feel a very real connection with the characters. Lovely review, Maja

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  7. hahaha... I've never read anything by Sarah Dessen either. Well, you can't say that anymore. :P I picked one of her books up from a book sale but was told that is NOT the one to start with, so I'm waiting for another one to be in my possession. I'm not a huge fan of contemporary either so the fact that you still did enjoy this gives me hope I will too. Fabulous review, Maja. :)

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  8. You're not the only one...I have yet to read anything by Dessen, or any of the other Sarah's you noted. I need too, I know. I always wanted to read Dessen but it will happen. I'm glad this was a relatively good story and I like to hear the romance was a slow build.

    -Lauren

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  9. I love Sara Dessen but Sara Ockler is still a favorite (even more so than Dessen!). I am glad you liked this one even if you didn't love it.

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  10. I am right there with ya. I have yet to read Ockler or Dessen or Cabot and several other popular contemporary novels. It is hard to stay patient with an audiobook when you know you can read it twice as fast. This sounds like an emotional punch and I am glad you connected with it.

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  11. Well, I still haven't read anything by her, but I swear you have me convinced I need to read one! I think I would read this one instead of listening to it since I can throw or slam a book when it gets to be too much. As much as you have me fearing this one, you have me wanting to read it too. How do you do that???

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  12. This is the only Sarah Dessen book I've read and I'm a fan! I love how easily you can relate to any of the characters and form a bond with them. Macy and Wes are the sweetest couple ever, I loved that their romance was gradual and slow building. I'm going to read more SD this month and can't wait for it. So glad that you enjoyed it, Maja! Wonderful review!

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  13. Amazing review Maja. I know how it feels to continuously read blogger reviews of a popular author, (Cassandra Clare in my case) and always say I haven't read her work yet. I'm so happy you started in the world of Sarah Dessen and that this book relates to your own life. Its so hard to talk about serous life problems but I do want to read this book that focuses on learning to speak.

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  14. If the narration is good, I'll have to check this one out on Audible! Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Aww, I'm sorry you didn't love this one. I wasn't able to find a Dessen that worked for me for the longest time but I wound up loving this one and Just Listen. Still, I'm glad you tried and did enjoy the narration. Great review, Maja!

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  16. This is my favorite Dessen book, so while I'm a bit disappointed that you didn't love it as much as I did, I'm thrilled YOU FINALLY PICKED UP ONE OF HER BOOKS! I'm glad you had that deep connection with Macy, although I'm saddened to hear why. Even though you wanted to run away from this one, I'm glad you endured it till the end. Lovely review, Maja. <3

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  17. I haven't read Dessen yet, but I did read a book by Ockler recently and really liked it. There are so many Dessen books that sound good, so it's hard to choose where to start. Glad you pushed through!

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  18. I honestly don't even remember if I've read this one before but I've heard it's a lot of people's favorites. I'm glad you gave it a try! I'm so sorry that you were able to connect with the character (I made that sound odd...), but yay, as well? UM moving on, this book doesn't sound very eventful at all, but perhaps it's one of those books that don't need a plot to push it along. Yay for a good audio! *adds to list* Beautiful review, Maja! :)

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  19. I love this book! I can see why it would be hard to listen to the audiobook of this because sarah dessen's books are more of a personal read, if you know what I mean.
    But its the ending that makes the book. Great review!

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  20. I know that feeling of wanting to hug and run all at the same time

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  21. I'm so glad you're enjoying so many audio books! You know how much I love them. I'm going to have to quote you and say "I haven't read any of her books yet" but I may have to grab this audio myself!

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  22. I absolutely ADORED this book by Sarah Desson! In fact, I'm pretty sure it's the only book I've read by her. I can't remember much since I read it so long ago, but I love how the emphasis is on Wes and Macy's friendship<3 I do remember loving their relationship/romance too! Hahaaa don't worry, I won't be part of the group that comes at you with pitchforks- I haven't read anything by Sarah Ockler or Sara Zarr either!

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  23. I've two or three Sarah Dessen Books and enjoyed them :) Glad you finally gave her a try! This is one of the ones I still need to read and I have three on my shelf I need to get to. Great review!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

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  24. Wonderful review I still haven't read a Dessen book but I am delighted you did and your review is stunning:)

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  25. Great review, Maja. Contemporary is definitely not for everyone especially when it,s a subject that's a little sensitive for us. I love these types of books though and I've read my first Dessen book (though that one was a very light summer read) and i loved her writing. Plus I'm always looking for good audiobook recs! :)

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  26. Back from my blogging break!

    Oh my gosh, Maja, I can't believe you hadn't read anything by Dessen before this one! The Truth About Forever is a good one to start with since I know it's a lot of people's favourite Dessen novel. Mine just happens to be Lock and Key and Just Listen :)

    I haven't read anything by Sara Zarr so if you do read something of hers and are in the mood for a readalong, let me know.

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  27. Oh, I'm so happy you liked this. Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite contemporary authors, and I am in love with The Truth About Forever (okay, maybe I'm in love with Wes. Hee). This Lullaby is a close second favorite. :)

    I also love Sara Zarr, so I hope you enjoy her when you read her stuff too. :)

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  28. One of my favorite things about your reviews, Maja, is how much of YOU you bring to them. In this case, I'm sorry it's the loss of your dad that connected you to this book.

    I read my first Dessen a few months ago and even though I liked it, there was something missing for me overall. I'll have to try my luck again with my first Zarr soon. Great review, Maja.

    -Maggie

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  29. Heh, I always start off my comments for Sarah Dessen reviews with "I've never read anything by her before," as well! And you know, it is pretty annoying! Sarah Ochler is another one, and John Green and Melina Marchetta. So I should really get around to that. And maybe by audiobook would be a good way to go. Good to hear that you were able to get through the story and not have to abandon it despite the subject matter. *Hugs*

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  30. I'm glad you finally "read" a Sarah Dessen, Maja. I'm loving audio books as well and using them to read books I probably wouldn't pick up otherwise. It's unfortunate that the narrator seems a bit old for 16 because I know the narration can have a huge impact on whether you enjoy a story or not. Great review. :)

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  31. I totally understand you there, Maja! I'm not a contemp fangirl myself, but I'm trying to listen to at least one book by some of the bigger names. My one and only Dessen read was Just Listen, which was all right but didn't wow me. I've heard that her books are all very similar in protagonists and themes, so I'm not quite sure whether I should continue with her or not. I am glad, however, that you were able to get some enjoyment out of listening to this book (even though 12 hours is a ridiculously long time!). Lovely review.

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  32. Look at you go reading a Dessen book! She's actually not my favorite contemporary author, though this is my favorite of hers (so far). I agree completely with your assessment of Jason, and I LOVED Wes. This is a moving review.

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