Is it True Love? Or, FOREVER FOR A YEAR–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing my review for a just-out YA contemporary romance from BT Gottfred. This is a realistic YA romance that features two kids “faking it until they make it” and finding their first love in the process. It’s bittersweet, with some wild turns.

Forever for a YearAbout the book:
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.

My Review:
3.5 Stars.

Carolina and Trevor are starting freshman year of high school in Riverbend, IL, a fictional town nestled into the North/Northwest side of Chicago. This is the kind of town with wealth disparity–haves and have nots.

Trevor’s family has recently moved from LA to join his mother’s family–his Gram and uncle still reside in his mother’s hometown. He lives with his mom, dad and 7-y/o sister who is precocious and means the world to Trevor. just over a year ago his mother had a botched suicide attempt. Trevor had a hard time dealing with it, and he stayed home from school for a year; he’s more than melancholy. He’s clinically depressed, but it seems that everyone’s focus is on his mom. Kid gives Holden Caulfield his money for all the “this world’s pointless and fake” internal dialogue.

Carolina is a geek. Has been for evah. Her best friend, Peggy, wants desperately to be popular, and Peggie has an in because her older sister is really popular. So Peggy’s sister has agreed to get the popular kids to like both of them–but Carolina’s a mental spaz. Her internal dialogue is equivalent to The Flash mainlining pixie stix. She is meant to be smart, but I mostly saw low-self-esteem. She admits that whatever someone tells her, she will do. I didn’t like her much, but, as the story got on and she stopped listening to Peggy and her insane sister, I admired her backbone.

Trevor and Carolina meet in the first class of the first day of school. Trevor shows up late, and leaves his bag in his dad’s car so he has no supplies. Carolina lends him some–without speaking a word. They have a few classes in common, and it seems as if they make a tentative connection, but it becomes this THING before it can ever be a thing, mostly because they hardly speak to each other. Others step in, and Trevor thinks Carolina must be a “fake” and disses her, but he still thinks she’s beautiful.

Fast forward.

They work out their communication issues, by communicating!, and begin dating. I’m not going to belabor this: they are physical and it’s on the page and their sex is not always protected. There are a lot of emotional issues going on, too. Carolina’s father has had an affair and her parents want to reconcile, but Carolina’s been so hurt, and protective of her mom that she’s obstructive to the process. Trevor’s mom is clearly not faithful, as well, and the emotional impact of both of these relationships influence the development of Trevor and Carolina’s romance. They consider themselves soul mates–pretty early on. This felt both overblown and just right–mostly because I had trouble believing doom and gloom Trevor could be so positive about Carolina. Carolina falling head over heels? Yep.

Both Carolina and Trevor are gaga within a month. I remember those times. It’s heady and overwhelming. Strange that the two parents who become their confidantes are the ones who are known betrayers; I think this was meant to convey the idea that just because a person is a lousy spouse doesn’t mean they are bad parents–and that chestnut was dropped at about 97% in, so my impression was spot on.

I felt like I knew what was going to happen–partly because of the name, but also because this book was billed as a new “Forever” (but with frankly less mature characters than burgeoning adults Katherine and Michael) so I knew this was going to be bittersweet. It was, without question. Expect big family drama, big dumb mistakes, and some betrayal.

Near the end I got frustrated because it seemed that Trevor needed to make a change and couldn’t be honest. That was his whole thing: honesty. He and Carolina had overcome some pretty crap stuff, but he demanded complete honesty and couldn’t even give it.

The final pages were even more frustrating. I can’t even fathom the situation between Trevor and Carolina at that point. Their story might not be over, but I was kinda over it.

In truth, it was a decent read. Not great, not bad. I wanted more. Some plot points were awkward: missing “friend,” jealous manipulative girls, gossip, schoolyard brawl, missed periods, stodgy parent v. permissive parent, barely any communication between the kids and the faithful parents, suffering grades…it felt a bit heavy on the moralizing.

Oh well. It’s freshman year. Everything is dire, even the love. If you don’t want to read about two 14-15 y/o’s falling madly deeply, then getting it on, and having issues, and having more issues this is not the book for you.

Interested? You can find FOREVER FOR A YEAR on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

bt gottfredAbout the author:

BT Gottfred is an author and director. FOREVER FOR A YEAR is his first published novel. You can connect with him online on his website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!