The Problem with Forever

Jennifer L. Armentrout. Harlequin Teen, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-373-21205-7
Seventeen-year-old Mallory Dodge is as meek as her old nickname, “Mouse,” and Armentrout (the Dark Elements series) layers her backstory with significant challenges: Mallory lived in foster homes, was abused, and is nearly mute and trying to learn to speak again without fear. Mallory’s present is filled with equally remarkable fortune: she has been adopted by kind doctors; sparks fly when she runs into Rider, her one-time foster home protector, at her new school; and people are generally patient, welcoming, and kind to her. Though Armentrout creates a diverse cast of characters (Rider, Mallory’s parents, and several other characters share Latino backgrounds), they tend to be short on dimension. Rider is an ever-understanding hero, his girlfriend is cartoonishly mean, and Mallory’s adoptive parents are nearly perfect. Mallory spends the bulk of the novel shrinking in the face of everything, and at times her innocent demeanor feels contrived. But Armentrout’s effort to gradually coax her protagonist from her shell via a supportive, loving community succeeds, and readers looking for an inspirational comeback story will find Mallory’s to be satisfying and hopeful. Ages 14–up. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2016
Release date: 05/17/2016
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-373-21224-8
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4592-9395-3
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