This Lullaby ) gracefully balances comedy with tragedy and introduces a complex heroine worth getting to know. While recover"/>

THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER

Sarah Dessen, Author . Viking $16.99 (384p) ISBN 0-670-03639-0

In this contemporary romance, Dessen (This Lullaby ) gracefully balances comedy with tragedy and introduces a complex heroine worth getting to know. While recovering from her father's sudden death, Macy clings to things that are safe and predictable, notably her brilliant, oh-so-steady boyfriend Jason. ("Anything he did, he did well," Macy explains. "A lot of people might find this annoying, even loathsome. But not me. He was just what I needed.") When Jason goes off to "Brain Camp" for the summer and announces (via e-mail) that he wants to put their relationship on hold, Macy must find happiness and reassurance on her own. Much to her sensible mother's dismay, Macy impulsively takes a job at a disorganized catering company, working for very pregnant Delia, a woman who thrives on chaos. As a caterer's assistant, Macy endures flying meatballs, spilt wine, irate clients, inebriated guests and, at the same time, feels more alive than she has since her father's death—especially when she's around Wes, the sensitive, artistic bartender who seems to understand Macy better than anyone else. On one level, the novel traces the growing intimacy between Macy and Wes; on another, it examines the healing process as Macy allows herself to grieve. Readers will cheer Macy on as she tentatively reenters the world of the living by taking risks and relearning how to act spontaneously, embracing change rather than avoiding it. Ages 12-up. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/03/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
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