Recommended age/grade level: late teens 14-18 roughly. It is sexually explicit so maybe not entirely appropriate for younger children, not yet ready to explore the realm of sexuality.
Interest Level/Reading level: As stated above, the story is about first loves and first sexual experiences. It would be interesting to anyone exploring this area of their lives for the first time but also it has a very nostalgic feel to it, maybe for those older readers. Judy Blume is a great writer and the reading level is fairly straightforward.
It was a quick read not only because the writing was easy to understand but also the suspense and the story kept me wanting to continue to read. I think that this book might be more appropriate for girls as it is written from a female perspective, although it might offer some insight if you could get a teenaged male to read it. It is not very “girly girl” so a male might be able to get into it maybe if they were experiencing a similar situation.
Plot Summary: Forever is a story of first loves. Katherine is a senior in high school when she meets Micheal, also a senior, at a friends New Years Eve party. Micheal immediately shows interest and the two spend every moment they can together. Not long after the issue of sex is brought into the picture. As Katherine comes to terms with losing her virginity she falls more in love with Micheal than she ever could have imagined.
The two discuss their plans for college in the fall and how they were going to be together every weekend and that Micheal might even take a semester off to spend time with Katherine in Denver. As the summer draws closer it becomes apparent that through no choice of their own the two must spend some seven weeks apart. Katherine is forced to work as a tennis instructor at her sister’s camp in New Hampshire while Micheal goes to work in North Carolina with family. At camp Katherine discovers that first loves don”t necessarily last forever. She meets a boy named Theo and the forever that she and Micheal share is questioned.
Personal Notes for Using the Book: The story is a very realistic portrayal of what first love is really like. The fact that Katherine falls so hard for Micheal and they truly believe that they will be together forever is something that everyone feels the first time. The way in which this forever is questioned is also quite true to reality.
There are also a lot of other issues that are brought up momentarily in the novel that aren”t deeply discussed like maybe they should be but they are brought up and could initiate conversation. Other issues include, birth control, pregnancy, suicide, sexual orientation, and death, just to name a few. In my opinion it might not be a book to be taught in class, it is more for personal pleasure but it definitely would be an interesting book to initiate discussion.
Evaluation: I really enjoyed this book. It was very realistic and didn”t put a cheesy spin on the kids love. Most books like this I feel tend to have a feeling of condesention when dealing with teenagers and love because many people feel they “can”t” experience it. But Judy Blume does and incredible job at reaching out and making kids feel as if they are real people.