Sunday, October 2, 2011


Image credit:
Blume, J. (1975). Forever. New York: Pocket Books.

Annotation: Two high school seniors experience the highs and lows of love they are convinced will last forever.

Katherine and Michael are convinced their love will last forever. They meet on New Year’s Eve and fall into a journey full of the joy and curiosity of a first love. Who wants to think about the end for the relationship? They are prepared to be together for the rest of their lives, but then they are separated for a summer.

The story captures what falling in love for the first time is like, with all the ups and downs of saying “I love you” and fights. Although Forever has explicit scenes of teen sex, they are honest, realistic accounts that show the first time isn’t always a sweeping epic but can be awkward. Those scenes sometimes have influenced people to want to ban Forever from teens, but because of the book’s honesty, it can be a good starting point for discussion of teen pregnancy, using protection and love lasting forever. Judy Blume also includes a note about safe sex at the beginning of the book. Teens going through similar experiences could find the book relatable. Although the book was written in the 1970s, few of the references are dated (mostly that Robert Redford was the teen heartthrob and the kids can drink at age 18).

Forever also includes references to other stressful topics teens deal with, such as suicide and a grandparent’s death. However, these topics could have been given more description to capture the depth of emotions felt because it seemed they were backdrops to the main emotional struggle: first love. Some of the relationship situations also could have used more emotional depth. For example, when Katherine is dealing with a new attraction, there could have been more emotional descriptions to prepare the reader for the way she reacted. In general, the story is a quick read, but the main focus of first love still is relatable for teens, capturing how one can react to the first time.

Award: 1996 Margaret A. Edwards Award Winner
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