Forever – Judy Blume

The 2011 MacMillan version of
‘Forever’
“Sybil Davison has a genius I.Q. and has been laid by at least six different guys. She told me herself, the last time she was visiting her cousin, Erica, who is my good friend. Erica says this is because of Sybil’s fat problem and her need to feel loved – the getting laid part, that is”

Katherine is a senior at high school. Its New Years Eve when she meets Michael at Sybil’s party. She thinks nothing of him at the party but when he turns up the next day under the pretense of picking up his records and tells her the real reason he came round was for her she knows she’s got it bad for him. Other the next few months their relationship grows and the attraction turns to love… Things start to become more serious and when they decide that their love is forever their relationship turns more physical. The pair are unbreakable, or they should be, once Katherine’s parents make them spend the summer apart. 

***
Obviously Forever is one of those iconic teen books that have been around forever and that everyone has read… or most people over a certain age have anyway. Judy Blume is like the grandmother of YA, she wrote YA before it was even a thing and while the message in forever is still a good one, I think it has kind of aged.
I loved the story and its messages. I loved the way that Katherine and Michaels relationship grew and the way that Katherine did make him wait for her right time to lose her virginity. There was more going on than just the relationship but you could tell that Katherine thought that was one of the major aspects of life at the time. I thought she was quite mature in her handling of some things but immature in others, and that’s one thing that made me mark the book down a little. 
Katherine is 17 when we meet her at the start of Forever. She turns 18 a few months later, about halfway into the book and to be honest, if the book was set in modern times she’d be waaaaay too old for the thoughts she had, and thats why the books a little dated. If you consider the time the book is set and how people were in 1975 then the book and its characters would have been perfect. It has the shock yet realistic value from that point of view and I can see why there were so many states that called for it to be banned… though obviously I don’t agree that it should be. The book talks about sex very openly and very explicitly and I liked that Katherine showed her maturity in that way. As I was reading I was reminded of Sara Manning’s book Adorkable and the main character in that implying that if you can’t talk about sex then you aren’t mature enough to do it and this book does kinda have the same premise. 
However nowadays I have it on good source that kids as young as 12 are having sex. It’s no longer a huge thing that you want to do in senior year, at the high school prom or at college. Its a year 7 thing for some kids and modern day children will probably read this book and think ‘what? she waited until she was 17!” Even when I was a teenager (5-10 years ago) that was considered quite old for losing your virginity! 
The age annoyed me becuase of the way that Katherine was treated by her parents too, I thought it was quite sad that she couldn’t make her own decissions and do what she wanted at 18 but then I remembered that it was probably quite different then and not the same as it was when I was 18! 
Original cover
I loved that the book handled teenage relationships and their intensity so well. I like that it also explored teenage pregnancy, drinking, mental health and death as some of its themes and not everything was about the relationship between Katherine and Michael. I would recommend this to teenagers of today because its worth a read but I think I would probably warn them of its age before they read it, and perhaps to maybe think of Katherine as 16 not 18… 
Forever was originally published in 1975. The most recent version of the book was published in March 2011 by Macmillan. My copy was published in 2001, also by Macmillan and I purchased it from a charity shop. 
  • I used to love Judy Blume books back in the day! I wonder if they ever think of updating them for a modern audience. I can imagine they’d be quite dated by now.

  • I remember reading this at 12, hiding it from my mum in case she took it away from me!

    I agree that it’s probably a little out of date now, but I think it’s still a valuable read for younger teens.

  • Awesome review! Can you believe I’ve never read a Judy Blume book?! o_O But I think I’ll start with this one now. Thanks so much for posting! x

  • Oh my this was The Book when I was in secondary school- secretly passed from bag to bag at the back of the class room!
    I have to admit that I haven’t read it again- I think that perhaps I on’t just to maintain my rose tinted sentimental memories.
    And I totally agree with the premise- if you aren’t mature enough to discuss sex, particularly contraception with your partner, you are not mature enough to be having it(wow now I sound old!)