When Carolina and Trevor meet on their first day of school, something draws them to each other. They gradually share first kisses, first touches, first sexual experiences.
When they’re together, nothing else matters. But one of them will make a choice, and the other a mistake, that will break what they thought was unbreakable. Both will wish that they could fall in love again for the first time . . . but first love, by definition, can’t happen twice.
Told in Carolina and Trevor’s alternating voices, this is an up-close-and-personal story of two teenagers falling in love for the first time, and discovering it might not last forever.
I’m having a hard time deciding how I feel about Forever for a Year. The writing is fluid and the story is compelling, but I had a hard time liking Carolina. If she’d said “gosh” one more time, I was sure I’d slam my head into a brick wall. But author B.T. Gottfred captures the emotions of first love so authentically, it’s hard not to like the book. That rush of feelings, of falling so hard that the other person is all you can think about, is so perfectly portrayed.
Carolina tries to reinvent herself for high school, leaving behind her nickname of Carrie and hopefully her nerdy middle school self. A talented soccer player and brilliant student, she’s got a pretty healthy ego. Trevor is a year older, having skipped school his entire freshman year as a result of traumatic family event. Trevor is new to the school and doesn’t know Carolina as anyone other than the pretty girl he’s crushing on.
Throughout the book, I found Trevor to be a deep, complex, and utterly fascinating character. Carolina came across as controlling and odd, and other than her looks, I could never figure out what Trevor saw in her. But then it hit me, he only saw the person she allowed the world to see. He never saw her inner drama and over-reactions to every little thing. And really, isn’t that how the world works? People see us for who we present ourselves to be.
The plot follows Trevor and Carolina for a year as they meet, fall in love, and experiment with kissing, touching, and sex. The two believe they are soul mates and everything is so intense with them, I get why they do the things they do. They’re young at 14 and 15, so their actions and reactions come across as completely believable.
As annoying as Carolina is, I can’t deny she’s three-dimensional. I may not completely understand all of her neuroses, but she’s like no other character I’ve ever read. Being inside her head was a crazy over-stimulating ride at times. It’s a busy place in there. Trevor is angry and dark and his head is an intense place to be at times as well, but his brain didn’t travel quite as off-the-rails as Carolina’s.
I think it’s the ending, along with disliking Carolina, that’s making it hard for me to really love this book. I started off rating this book at three stars, but the further I get into this review, the more I realize the story and characters made me feel a lot of different things. Not all of them are good, but it’s not an author’s job to make me feel good, just to make me feel. And he definitely does that. Angry, frustrated, amused, hopeful, sad, annoyed, but the ending left me feeling…unsettled. Happy or sad, I need a book to have a satisfying conclusion and I felt that was missing. But now as I edit this review, I wonder if that isn’t teenage love. Somewhat unsatisfying and unsettling.
Top Five Things I enjoyed about Forever for a Year:
1. The writing. This is by far one of the most believable stories I’ve read in a while about teen love.
2. Carolina’s dad. This guy was so hard to pin down. I’d hate him, like him, loathe him, then understand him a little, but I don’t know that I liked him. Still, he was truly interesting, which is all I want from a fictional character.
3. Lily. Trevor’s seven-year-old sister who talks like an adult provided some of the lightest moments in the book.
4. Trevor. He is such a complex, fascinating character and never once did I question his authenticity.
5. First love. Just because it’s so raw and painfully beautiful.
Forever for a Year is an authentic portrayal of first love and all the emotions and drama that entails.
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.