Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Book Review: Forever, by Judy Blume (2007 edition, Simon Pulse)

Recommended for ages 14-18.

Judy Blume’s 1975 classic follows the relationship between two high school seniors, Kath and Michael, and their decision to become sexually active.
Kath and Michael meet at a New Year’s party and begin dating. Michael pushes early on for their relationship to become sexual, but Kath, a virgin, is nervous. As their relationship proceeds, she decides that she is in love with Michael and they make love. They tell each other that their love is forever.
Concerned about their children becoming involved at such a young age, their parents each send Kath and Michael away for the summer. While teaching tennis at a summer camp, Kath finds herself attracted to a fellow counselor and breaks the news to Michael. Michael shows up at the camp to talk to Kath, but she breaks it off with him.
Judy Blume is a classic YA author. Like most classics, Forever‘s subject matter stays current: the same issues that come up in the book, written in 1975, are present in young relationships now. The feelings of first love, the pressures that come with intimacy, and what does “forever” really mean? If anything, with kids maturing more quickly and becoming sexually active at an earlier age, books like Forever are every bit as important now as they were almost 40 years ago. Ms. Blume writes in a language that teens can understand – she never sides with the parents, instead treating them as rational while allwing the reader to see things from Kath’s point of view. She writes internal conflict well. She creates real characters who readers will remember long past their teen years.
Forever has received the ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award for Outstanding Literature for Young Adults (1996). It also appears on the American Library Association (ALA) list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000 at number seven.
Author Judy Blume’s website offers information on all of her books, plus an extensive section on censorship and advocacy.

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