My umpteenth reread of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl made me realize how compulsively readable the contemporary books that made my 2014/’15 were. So the queen of the genre, aka Sarah Dessen, had to make a comeback for my next reread.
They just don’t make them like this anymore. I’ve yet to experience a new summer contemporary read that receives the surrounding hype of Stephanie Perkins’s Anna and the French Kiss, Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone, and Dessen’s The Truth About Forever. Reading this made me recall how I achingly miss that feeling of fun and ease those iconic books that scream of summer provided when I needed it the most. I mean, remembering my reading experience of these books now feels like sifting through teen memories, and even though I didn’t encounter the described events personally, I experienced so much joy reading them that they simply feel like mine. And it’s exactly this rush of emotion that I haven’t felt in a while with a YA book.
Now, I definitely feel the keen need to revisit more of the kind in the near future. But in the meantime, I’ve compiled a list of things I adored within this reread:
- The tiny random moments of resemblance Fangirl shares with The Truth About Forever (I had to note it down with the former book still so fresh in my mind): Wes’s pickup truck coming to save the day (Levi’s red truck), Macy’s denying invitations (Cath), Bert pushing the doors with too much gusto (Reagan’s quirk).
- My favorite catering crew to exist in fiction, aka Wish Catering, with their tiny mishaps somehow always solved before the night is done. I definitely had to rearrange my expectations when it came to them since I recalled the dynamics between the crew a tad different, but still, they were so good.
“They honestly seemed to believe that things would just work out. And the weirdest thing was, they did. Somehow. Eventually. Although even when I was standing right there I couldn’t say how.”
- One of my favorite scenes arose out of Macy sharing with Kristy her experience of being in a relationship with Jason, whose constant need for perfection makes her fall short again and again in his eyes and consequently makes her doubt her every move… So Kristy makes sure to pass onto Macy her confidence.
“—would totally want to hear say she loved him. You’re smart, you’re gorgeous, you’re a good person. I mean, what makes him such a catch, anyway? Who is he to judge?”
“He’s Jason,” I said, for lack of a better argument.
“Well, he’s a fuckhead.” She sucked down the rest of her beer. “And if I were you, I’d be glad to be rid of him. Because anyone that can make you feel that bad about yourself is toxic, you know?”
“He doesn’t make me feel bad about myself,” I said, knowing even as my lips formed the words this was exactly what he did. Or what I let him do. It was hard to say.
“What you need,” Kristy said, “what you deserve, is a guy who adores you for what you are. Who doesn’t see you as a project, but a prize. You know?”
“I’m no prize,” I said, shaking my head.
“Yes,” she said, and she sounded so sure it startled me: like she could be so positive while hardly knowing me at all. “You are. What sucks is how you can’t even see it.”
It brought to mind this empowering exchange from Skam:
- The ongoing “gotcha” scare game shared between the two brothers, Wes and Bert, reminded me of the trailer for the upcoming film Tag and the true story behind it, titled: I’ve played a game of tag for 23 years. The game came from a bad period in life that later blossomed into a more concrete focal point for the brothers.
“Truthfully, it’s just this dumb thing we started about a year ago. It pretty much came from us living alone in the house after my mom died. It was really quiet, so it was easy to sneak around.”
“Plus,” Wes continued, “there’s just something fun, every once in a while, about getting the shit scared out of you. You know?”
- Speaking of, seeing Wes care for his younger brother, Bert, who’s beyond nervous to go to a very important engagement (…Armageddon club), was a huge sa-woon worthy moment for me.
“Calm down,” Wes said, stepping around me into the room and walking up to Bert. He untangled the tie, smoothing the ends. “Stand still.” Then Bert and I both stood and watched as, with one cross, a twist, and a yank, he tied the knot perfectly.
“Wow,” Bert said, looking down at it as Wes stepped back, examining his handiwork. “When did you learn that?”
“When I had to go to court,” Wes told him. He reached up, plucking the piece of tissue off his brother’s face, then straightened the tie again. “Do you have enough money?”
Bert snorted. “I prebought my ticket way back in March. There’s a chicken dinner and dessert. It’s all paid for.”
Wes pulled out his wallet and slid out a twenty, tucking it into Bert’s pocket. “No more cologne, okay?”
- I do have to mention, though, that after the initial excitement slipped away, I couldn’t help but notice the few irks that came to bother me: the way Macy’s mother was characterized, Kristy barely appearing after Macy and Wes grow closer, Wes himself not being given enough character building so that he essentially resembled a mirror image to Macy (both have lost a parent, both have a bf/gf on hold, both can’t accept a compliment, etc.), and it was too unequivocally convient to feel real. And then it also hit a bit of a rut when the catering crew, who were one of the biggest highlights for me, didn’t appear in the following scenes.
Overall, I had a nice walk down memory lane by rereading The Truth About Forever, but the memory of the book still holds more appeal for me than the actual book.
I did, however, really enjoy this Rex Orange County song that gets the mood of this read:
I’ll find a spot that’s just for me and see if I can cope without An ounce of pain, without an ounce of pain Said the likelihood just frightens me and it’s easier to hide But I can’t ignore it endlessly, eventually things die