Rummanah Aasi
 One of the main highlights of my summer of 2009 was meeting Judy Blume in person at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. I grew up reading Judy Blume and enjoyed her books as well as her frankness in discussing amongst many other things the confusion of puberty. Out of her popular books, I have not read the 'scandalous' Forever until now. It was book that my friends at school giggled about and one that I pretty much knew the story before reading it. Forever was written in 1975 and has been listed in the has been listed in the Top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2007. I chose to read Forever not because of its notoriety, but rather to see how this one book has paved the way for YA realistic fiction as we know it today.

Description: Katherine and Michael are your average teens. They meet at a party and sparks fly. They become close and then become inseparable. They both feel like they should take their relationship to the next level. When they think that their love will last forever, they are faced a summer apart where things slowly change? Will Katherine and Michael's relationship survive the obstacles facing their relationship? Will Katherine and Michael stay together forever?

Why the book was banned/challenged: In 2005, Forever was challenged at Fayetteville, Ark. Middle and young adult section by a parent claiming its “deplorable” content was unfit for young minds. The book was retained. Source: ALA

Review: Forever is an okay book but I wouldn't consider it Judy Blume's finest. There is hardly any character development outside of Katherine and Michael's relationship and the secondary characters are pretty much one dimensional. The dialogue is terse. Where Forever does excel, however, is being frank about sex. While it does have some graphic scenes (nothing more than your general rated R movie), the book is not a manual for sex. The book is actually a message to teens about the complexity involving sex. In lack of better words, it's a point of no return. You have to be mentally, emotionally, and physically be ready for the consequences that are associated with performing the deed.
   Blume does a great job in allowing Katherine to stand up for herself and vocalize when she is not ready. She is also smart enough to know how to take care of her body by going to medical facilties for birth control. As for Michael, I have no idea what Katherine saw in him. He has zero personality and is very forgettable.
  While Forever deals with a touchy subject, I highly doubt teens would want to go have sex because they read this book. I think that's not giving teen readers enough credit. Tweens and teens, girls especially, are bombarded with mixed messages of sex by the media. Not to mention the myths they hear from friends about pregnancy and STDs. I think teens reading Forever will appreciate writing a story where teens are responsible and can have a healthy physical relationship where no one dies, which is exactly what Blume intended.  

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: Since the book is about sex, there are some explicit scenes. There is also some strong language in the book. I would not put this book in an elementary school. I would also be hesitant to put in a middle school, however, I think it is appropriate for high school.

If you like this book try: The Lighter Side of Life and Death by CK Kelly Martin, Doing It by Melvin Burgess
3 Responses
  1. Twimom227 Says:

    I remember reading this book when I was in either middle or high school. Since I had no sexual experience, I did read it for the sex parts, trying to find out what "it" was all about. But you are correct - this book didn't change my mind about having sex or make me want to do it more or less... it was just an informative story for someone of my age and generation.

  2. Nat Says:

    I think Judy Blume is excellent---I remember reading and loving so many of her books growing up. She was so frank and I really appreciated that both when I was younger and now as an adult.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I really enjoyed this book. I wanted to see how a writer like Judy Blume would display the conscept of sex. And I was pleasantly surprised at her frankness about it.

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