Author: Judy Blume
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Originally written in the mid-seventies, Forever is a story of first love between high school sweethearts Katherine and Michael. In this novel about teen sexuality, Blume perfectly captures the messy, hormonal, rollercoaster emotions of amorous high school seniors. From unplanned pregnancy and birth control to virginity and sexual orientation, Blume explores hot topics from the perspective of teenagers during a sexual revolution.
I appreciated Blume’s matter of fact writing style in Forever. Her use straightforward language was unexpected given the book’s romantic genre yet an appropriate use of voice for the young narrator. Katherine is a strong heroine. Cautious and kind, naïve but open to learn and try new things. She had her dramatic moments—storming out of the room in tears or talking back to her sensible parents—but overall, was a smart and relatable girl. Michael, Katherine’s love interest, is another strong character. As a former high school teacher, I can attest that Blume’s depiction of a teenage boy is spot on. From his mannerisms and jokes to his raging hormones, his character rings with authenticity.
Forever is described as a groundbreaking novel, and I can see why. It tackles teenage sexuality in a very sincere way. Although first love may feel like forever, that usually is not the case. If I were a parent, I would want my teenager to read this book. I feel it would spark some meaningful conversations. I also recommend this novel to anyone who writes young adult fiction or is struggling with developing a teenage character. Although Forever was written in 1975, it is truly relevant today. Next time you are looking for a first love story, consider given this gem a read.