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.
Releases: May 17, 2016
Review by Yvette:
You know when you read a book and you get this feeling, this indescribable certainty that it's going to crush your heart? Well, I think Jennifer L. Armentrout set a new record for the shortest amount of time it took for a book of hers to obliterate my heart with The Problem with Forever. It’s not often that a book grips my heart from the first sentence and doesn’t relinquish its hold until the very end, but the author takes such care in placing readers inside the mindset of protagonist Mallory Dodge that I empathized with her story. With characters that manage to be both complex and relatable, a narrative with so much depth that new revelations are unveiled with each chapter, and a romance that's breathtakingly beautiful in its innocence, The Problem with Forever is the type of book that leaves a lasting impression.
What I love most about Jennifer L. Armentrout’s books is that, no matter the genre or subject matter, the author combines heart-racing emotion and playful levity with a gripping storyline, which always results in a page-turner. In The Problem with Forever, our heroine, Mallory Dodge, is a high school senior, starting her first year at public school in an effort to be “normal”. But Mallory is not, in fact, “normal”. As a result of growing up in foster care, Mallory suffers from PTSD, which makes it difficult to perform such a seemingly simple task as speaking to another person. PTSD is something I’ve seen addressed in various forms in movies, television, and literature, but I’ve always felt a certain amount of detachment from these characters. With Mallory, however, we get to know her on a shockingly intimate level, learning her hopes and her doubts, what haunts her, what motivates her...what’s it like to experience life through her eyes. Mallory’s story is both a gut-wrenching and hope-filled journey about conquering fears and finding yourself, and it’s impossible not to root for her success.
The Problem with Forever is Jennifer L. Armentrout's most thought-provoking, emotionally impactful book to date and the reason for that is largely the relationship between characters, Mallory Dodge and Rider Stark. Mallory and Rider grew up in the same foster home, with Rider acting as Mallory's protector. Although four years have passed since they last saw each other, they share an impenetrable bond, forged by years of being each other's sole source of comfort and friendship. This bond naturally evolves into a romantic connection, one that evokes that butterflies-in-the-stomach, perma-smile-on-your-face feeling of first love. Theirs is the type of budding romance that sweeps you up with its possibilities – the type that makes you want to race through the pages to get to the next moment when Mallory and Rider are together again. As far as heroes go, Rider is the very definition of swoon-worthy with a bad boy façade, but a character that’s strong, brave, sweet, and kind. Their story isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, though, because like Mallory, Rider is not without secrets. Rider’s journey to self-discovery is just as vital to the development of the narrative because his and Mallory’s fates are interwoven, as they have been as long as they’ve known each other.
When I think back on this book, what I'll remember the most is how it made me feel. I laughed. I cried. I swooned. My heart melted. My pulse pounded. Basically, I was powerless against the emotions I was experiencing. The Problem with Forever is the first book I’ve read this year that has made me suspect that it was possible for my heart to break free from my chest. What’s not to love about a book capable of having that effect, especially when it’s written by a gifted storyteller such as Jennifer L. Armentrout?
*complimentary copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 6 Stars