“In their minds, they still had forever. But we knew better. Forever was something forever was something we all took for granted, but the problem with forever was that it really didn’t exist.”
For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.
Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.
It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.
Mallory and Rider grew up in a foster home where the adults who are supposed to take care of them failed them. Neglected and mistreated these two try very hard to survive together everyday. Silence becomes Mallory’s shield aside from Rider who took the role of her protector. Until the night of a horrific incident that lead to their separation. Mallory found a new home with a couple who love her as their own child. While Rider is still part of the foster care. Though his foster family take care of him, he still doesn’t feel owning them. Years later, Mallory and Rider’s path cross again in high school. Rider is a reminder of the past – a past that Mallory is trying to bury behind in order to moved forward to her new life. But no matter how hard she tried, Rider is part of her life that she cannot erase.
Right from the prologue, Jennifer L. Almentrout trust the readers to the dark and heartbreaking scene of Mallory and Riders childhood life. Though I’m not really familiar with the whole foster system of America, I can easily feel the reality behind those scenes. And it is sad and heartbreaking to see how these children were failed not just by their foster parents but also by the system that supposed to take care of them.
Mouse and Rider are characters that are easy to sympathize with. They are both flawed characters but they are survivors. Both scared and imperfect but they are fighting their battles with everything they got.
Mallory is afraid of public speaking since she was conditioned to be silent when she was a child in order to save herself from beating. Now, growing up she can’t say much words to people around her. She’s literally counting every words that pour out her mouth in front of other people. It’s like she needs a reward when she utter few words. Readers will feel her struggle from her inner monologues.
“Words were not the enemy or the monster under my bed, but they held such power over me. They were like the ghost of a loved one, forever haunting me.”
Rider who usually neglected and unloved doesn’t see his own value. It’s easier for him to act tough and strong than to show feelings and let other people let in to his life.
Aside with Mallory and Rider’s battle, this book has lots of important message to tell. Like when one of the characters suddenly died, it reminds readers that we don’t have “forever”, and that we should start living our life. And with what happened to Mallory’s best friend, it reminds us to take care of the things that we usually took for granted.
“It’s not about getting it right the first time and it’s most definitely not about perfection, but if you try, you succeed. Just like you would in art. Or in life, for that matter.”
All in all, The Problem with Forever is an emotionally haunting, beautifully told, heartbreaking and hopeful read. More than the romance between Mallory and Rider this novel is a powerful story of survival and living.
* This review is based on an eBook I received courtesy of the publisher, Mira Ink UK.