(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Harlequin on May 17th 2016
Genres: Fiction, General, Romance
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes a riveting story about friendship, survival and finding your voice
Growing up, Mallory Dodge 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, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at a public high school. But she never imagined 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 soon it becomes apparent that she's not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider's life spiral out of control, Mallory must make 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.
I love when books live up to their hype, don’t you? It’s official: I have read a contemporary JLA book. Until now, I’ve stuck with her paranormal stuff, and I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to branch out. The story was honest and raw, and I got lost in it quickly and easily. Mallory made a believable narrator, and I want my own Rider. But let’s be honest, with a cover as beautiful as this one, it would have been a hearty disappointment if the story inside hadn’t been as beautiful.
“Words were not the enemy or the monster under my bed, but they held such power over me. They were like the ghost of a loved one, forever haunting me.”
Mallory “Mouse” Dodge had not always been the daughter of surgeons. She used to be the girl that hid in her closet and waited until her best friend told her it was okay to come out, that the fists were no longer flying. She hadn’t lived in that environment for four years, but it still haunted her. JLA focused highly on how our past shapes our future, everything we do; however, through Mallory, she also stressed that the past is the past. The future was waiting to be explored, but first Mallory had to come to terms with her presence. She had to discover who she was outside of her past circumstances. I really liked her character. I enjoyed how her inner dialogue mirrored what she said to people. She didn’t talk a lot, and when she did talk it was broken and uneven, some of her thoughts were. She would repeat and start over sentences in her head, and it really made me understand and get to know her.
Imagine Mallory’s surprise when she comes face to face with the boy she thought she had lost forever. Rider Stark didn’t have to grow on me because I instantly loved him—for everything he was and for everything that he did for the new Mallory. I only saw him through Mallory’s eyes, and it created a necessary atmosphere of uncertainty and confusion. Because the Rider that I fell in love with along with Mallory was not the Rider that he saw when he looked in the mirror. Through nearly 500 pages, I grew to understand him, using ambiguous hints at what happened to Rider when he was in the foster home with Mallory. He and Mallory helped each other in ways they didn’t understand at first, watching it all unfold through art and facing fears.
“Rider was hot with two extra Ts. There was no questioning that, but it went beyond physical hotness. Underneath all of that good stuff was a really…really good guy. A shiny heart.”
When secondary characters have such a presence, it only makes me want more even after I’ve turned the last page. Mallory didn’t have a lot of people, but she did have her best friend, Ainsley. She was bright and lively, and she had her own issues. I have to know more about her character, to see how her story will unfold, so I’m really hoping there will be more. Hector and his brother, Jayden, also played heavily into the development of the novel. So much so that I don’t want to say too much and give anything away. As far as how the secondary characters are connected, I totally felt a spark between Hector and Ainsley. Please tell me there’s something there, right?
Through it all, this book had a wonderful message. Forever, an equivocal topic to those that think they have a grasp on the subject. Mallory had to come to terms with what forever meant, the forever that a young boy promised her as she sat scared in a closet, and the forever that stretched before her. Full of heart, the broken and mended, The Problem With Forever will stay with you after you’ve turned the last page.
“Yesterday the mere idea of falling in love, being in love, was as terrifying as it was exhilarating. Now it was just one of those things.”