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 the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces 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.
Description taken from Goodreads.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I will probably not get along with super popular romance authors. It’s not my genre, and when it tries to get deep, I usually don’t feel the grittiness of it. I wanted to love JLA because I’ve heard such great things about her writing and because I met her at BEA and she was amazing, but I wasn’t a fan of The Problem with Forever.
The book could’ve been about 100 pages shorter.
I don’t know if this is just a me thing or it’s a book thing, but there was little to no plot? I quickly deduced that this isn’t the kind of the book you read, it’s the kind you skim, and even then, the story felt super long to me. The pacing dragged, especially in the middle. There was nothing going on that was super memorable. Mostly it was a bunch of drama. I mean–half the book was Mouse and Rider reuniting and deciding to throw away the other aspects of their lives in favor of being with each other.
Anddddd it’s instalove.
Pretty self explanatory, but Mouse and Rider are just destined to be together from the second they get back together. They don’t care about the other people around them. The gist of it is that Rider ends up skipping a bunch of classes to hang out with Mouse because apparently he’s just smart enough to pass anyway. Yeah, that doesn’t fly.
But I do have to give JLA credit for this: there’s no cheating in the story.
Rider already has a girlfriend when Mouse shows up, but he doesn’t cheat on her. He breaks up with her before he gets in a relationship with Mouse, and I appreciated that. Also noteworthy was the fact that JLA at least tried to humanize the mean girl, Rider’s girlfriend. She doesn’t have the most stellar past either, and I was able to understand why she was the way she is. JLA pours a lot into each of her characters, and even though some of them were cliché, I still loved many of them.
Death as a plot point?
It’s hard to discern sometimes whether elements like rape, sob stories, murder, diversity, etc. are plot points or true parts of the book, but I didn’t truly care about what was going on in the story. I think part of it is that The Problem With Forever doesn’t feel like an Ellen Hopkins book.
To me, nothing about the story was gritty or grungy. I get what the author was trying to do, and I appreciate her research into portraying cultures accurately, but I appreciated it more than I actually felt it. A lot of serious events ended up feeling like plot points for me instead of critical parts to the message of the story. Most of them were rushed over, and I thought they were, generally, pointless. Again, maybe it’s just me, but that’s how I felt.
And getting onto the issue of Mouse.
A lot of bloggers have noted Mouse’s “transformation” throughout the story as the highlight of the book. I can see what they mean, and what Mouse went through was horrible, but I have to direct you back to the plot point problem.
In addition to that, Mouse didn’t seem broken at all. JLA’s writing felt like she was trying too hard to portray Mouse as a victim, and it wasn’t working out for me.
“My name is Mallory…Dodge.” I drew in a deep breath, speaking to no one. “And I like…I like reading. And I don’t like…I don’t like who I am.”
Okay? Was that supposed to make me feel something? There were so many points to the book that would’ve been perfect had they been just a little less.
Then there’s Rider, yet another boy with a ridiculous name who lives for our heroine.
Frankly, I’m getting pretty tired of male main characters like this. The Problem With Forever teetered dangerously close on the edge of becoming the Mouse show, where it’s all about her and how much everyone loves or hates her, but Rider was definitely free-falling into the abyss.
If you’re a fan of JLA, this is probably not the review you should be reading. There are plenty of people who love her work, and I’m reviewing strictly from the perspective of someone who hasn’t read anything from her before. For those of you who aren’t sure about this book, I think it boils down to one thing: do you enjoy reading about high school drama? If you are, this may just be the story for you. If not, you should probably read something else, maybe Katie McGarry. She has many of the same elements, but without so much spinning around in circles. 1 star.