When Carolina and Trevor meet on their first day of school, something draws them to each other. They gradually share first kisses, first touches, first sexual experiences. When they’re together, nothing else matters. But one of them will make a choice, and the other a mistake, that will break what they thought was unbreakable. Both will wish that they could fall in love again for the first time…but first love, by definition, can’t happen twice.
Told in Carolina and Trevor’s alternating voices, this is an up-close-and-personal story of two teenagers falling in love for the first time, and discovering it might not last forever.
I’m not going to lie, I really want to like Forever for a Year more than I did. I was excited to read the book after reading the description, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but I just found most of the plot to either be overused or flat-out predictable. A big positive is that it was fast-paced and a generally easy read all around. However, I struggle with calling this a YA book that truly stands out. In my opinion, it just didn’t bring many new things to the table and that was a really big downside for me personally.
In a way, it makes sense that the two take a while to officially get together. Carolina was considered a geek in middle school and desperately wants to become popular. Trevor is the new kid who was the popular guy at his middle school. The only person he knows is his obnoxious cousin, who went to Carolina’s middle school and was much more popular than her and also a bully. His cousin tells Trevor that he shouldn’t associate with people like Carolina. In short, it takes a long time for them to get together, and it start to drag on longer than it should, even considering the circumstances. What bothers me so much is that when they do start dating, it’s instantly love. I mean, they haven’t been dating for over five minutes and both of them are wanting to tell the other that they love them?
One of the things I enjoyed the most about the book was the narration. Gottfred flips back and forth between Carolina and Trevor, giving us a fascinating perspective on what is going on inside the teenager’s heads. It’s also written in a stream of conscious type manner, so we get to see some of their instant awkward interactions and what they are thinking during these moments.
Forever for a Year shows the messy and realistic sides of falling in love for the first time. The thing about first love is that it feels really amazing while you’re falling for the first time, but then it can end in a painful heartbreak. It’s a difficult concept to talk about while writing a review, but I love that it doesn’t just show the fun part of love and end it there. The part that sucks is the side that many teens naturally struggle with, and it appearing in a teen book exposes them further to this indescribable experience through these two characters.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the storylines involving both Carolina and Trevor’s parents. I think it was entirely too predictable. Despite this, I also realize that this was a necessary plot to help the pair see that they have parents who are both very human and screw up. At the same time, though, I wanted to hear more from Carolina and Trevor’s lives. It would have been cool to see more scenes involving Trevor and his friends from cross country or with his annoying cousin.
This wasn’t a terrible book, but it’s not my favorite either. I think part of this is that I unfairly compare it to Eleanor & Park, a book that could be considered cheesy at points, but that I found endearing. It’s unfair to compare the two because Eleanor & Park had such a huge impact on me and I don’t know if I’ll ever love another book like that again. The big takeaway from Forever for a Year is that it feels real to me. It gets heartbreak and the ups and downs of relationships right. If you want a quick summer read, I totally recommend this one.