Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: Always and Forever by Karla J. Nellenbach

Goodreads Summary:
Mia's first reaction is outright disbelief. Obviously, a mistake has been made. Sixteen-year-old girls don't die. But, when the diagnosis is confirmed, she dives headlong into anger. If she has to die, why should it be of cancer? In fact, anything would be preferable to cancer. Better for her to say when, where, and especially how.

Determined to meet death on her own terms, Mia devises scheme after scheme to get the job done. A “fall” down the basement stairs, driving her car off a bridge, and even a dance with a train all end in her survival. 

And through it all, Mia keeps her family and friends at arms' length with her destructive and hurtful behavior. With each failed suicide attempt and burned relationship, she slowly realizes that it’s not the dying that she’s afraid of, but the life she’ll be leaving behind. Now, that life is in a shambles. As time begins to slip through her fingers and death is upon her, Mia fights to rebuild the bridges she has destroyed, but can she do it before the clock runs out?

Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Source: LibraryThing Giveaway

As soon as I read the blurb for this book, I had an inkling I would be a sobbing mess while reading it. Although Always and Forever was certainly a tearjerker, it wasn’t merely a story about a girl dying from cancer. It was also about going through the stages of grief and being able to find love and acceptance along the way.

The author did a superb job of depicting Mia as an average high school girl. Her relationships and behaviors felt very realistic for a sixteen-year-old girl. I loved her friendships as well as a healthy relationship with her parents. Her behavior after finding out about the terminal diagnosis was also well done. It was easy to imagine a young girl trying to push everyone away in order to protect them from her impending death.

I went back and forth on my feelings towards Kal. At first, he was way too mushy for believability. He felt too romanticized and all the sobbing and poetry reading put me off. However, by the middle of the book he grew on me and I ended up liking him a lot more. It was great to see a three-dimensional YA male character that the main character didn’t fall for simply because he was hot and mysterious.

I enjoyed that the book was told in first person and gave the readers a chance to really get into Mia’s head and understand her motivations for wanting to end her life before she succumbed to cancer. Present tense may have worked better though since we know from the beginning she’s going to die.

If you’re in the mood for a sweet story that will cause spontaneous bouts of crying, then I highly recommend this book. The writing was beautiful and I’m going to be on the lookout for future books from the author.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful review. I struggle when reading books where the main character undergoes such pain. Hell, I struggle writing books like that, too. I'll add this one to my 'maybe' list. Well done. WRITE ON!