The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout – Book Review

Blurb from Goodreads

Growing up, Mallory Dodge 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, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at a public high school.

But she never imagined 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 realise that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded.

Yet soon it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory must make 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.

My Review

This is not a review. It is a nonsensical angry rant. Filled with spoilers!!!

Read at your peril!!!!

Mallory and Rider grew up together akin to brother and sister. From toddler / young child age to approx 14 years old.

And now they are in to each other….

Yeah I’m unnerved by that.

Okay they’re not technically related but as we all know family ain’t always about blood. Just… If they’d been in the home together from the age of 10 maybe??? Like it’s just a little ick. And I feel creeped out. Maybe that’s my deal but yeah… To me it just smacked of a Stockholm syndrome style love affair with a side of pseudo incest

The character of Mallory:

Took me about 3/4 of the book to remember her name… She kept being referred to as Mouse and I dunno… I was like who’s this Mallory chick??

Really don’t have many feelings about her. I like that she wasn’t instantly cured by love and we were told about how she had therapy and stuff…

So yeah. I guess you’re not entirely badly written Mallory….

The character of Rider:

I mean where do I start….

Yes he had an arc and problematic stuff got focused on in the end but I really did want to smack his face for how he treated Mallory in the beginning.

The whole Mouse nickname. Great. Way to reinforce her negative coping mechanisms with her abusive past!!!!

Also. You did treat Paige like a dick. Don’t care that you felt bad later. Don’t care that you think you didn’t deserve love. You were self-entitled around her and if you thought you didn’t deserve love then why were you with her at all leading her on????

Mallory and Rider’s romantic relationship

I don’t think that Mallory and Rider’s relationship is okay. I think it is problematic and I wish to explain why.

Mallory and Rider are not blood-related, and I do not know the specifics surrounding the laws of step-sibling relationships around the globe, but it is definitely frowned upon to have sex or be sexually attracted to someone you were brought up with from early childhood.

And that is the important factor here.

They were brought up together as siblings in their formative years. It is not as if they met as young adults with raging hormones and were suddenly attracted to abs and curves. Young adults who would already have had adequate emotional development and would therefore not see each other as ‘true’ brother and sister.

They were instead reared as foster brother and sister from the earliest of ages. And therefore I think that the book did not look at the psychological impact of how two little children living together in a house where they suffered immense physical and emotional abuse could suddenly be sexually attracted to each other as young adults.

It was simply ignored and that to me is incredibly problematic.

The book romanticises their childhood connection into a romantic and subsequent sexual connection without the therapist, Mallory’s step parents, the teachers at the school, or the old lady who was Rider’s guardian questioning it? With their friends never batting an eyelid???

Instead their friends, in particular Ainsley, actively encouraging it!!!!

Without any people close to either Mallory or Rider suggesting to maybe pause their romantic relationship?

Or at least slow it down and not perform sexual acts with each other before thoroughly discussing it.

Before confirming that their sexual love was not based on their craving of emotional love from the only other person in their childhood who gave them stability.

That is highly problematic and the biggest example of an emotional or personal issue that was under-developed in this novel… there are more!

So to me their relationship is what I term pseudo-incestual because these issues are swept under the carpet by a writer who did not give enough gravitas to that situation.

This type of step-sibling relationship is usually the remit of hardcore taboo erotica that comes with strict warnings on the cover that it should not be read by minors.

Whereas this is a young adult book that is read by minors.

Not cool JLA. Not cool.

The character of Paige:

Can we talk about the representation of the character Paige??? Like please….. It’s immediate hot mean girl who is just put in the book to keep our lovebirds apart and I’m like no.

EYE FREAKING ROLL

Could she be more freaking one dimensional. Like please JLA!!! For one brief moment could you not give into yet another negative female stereotype?????

And even when we do learn about Paige’s background it’s used not to make us empathise with her but to empathise with Mallory and it’s just such manipulative BS.

LAZY ASSED WRITING 101!!!!!

And about 85% or whatever. I can’t remember exactly but when there’s more ridiculous drama with her TO TRY TO BREAK OUR LOVE BIRDS UP ……

Just.

I’m tired.

I am tired JLA. Paige’s purpose in the plot, however craply you plotted it, was done. DONE!!! You did not need to reintroduce her as predictable, time old #conflict *rolls eyes AGAIN*

No instead you should have blimmin focused on Mallory and Rider figuring out who they were as individuals, as a couple, how they were both dealing with their abusive pasts instead of being oh you needed her and not me in your time of crisis, let me run away dramatically and find solace with my soon to be blind bestie who is teaching me about living for the now because she’s totes *inspirational* STOP USING DISABLED CHARACTERS TO INSPIRE THE ABLE BODIED!!!! THAT TROPE IS HORRIBLE AND OFFENSIVE AND OMG JUST STOP ALREADY!!!!!

Also that epilogue:

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Please.

The neatness of it all made me want to rip my eyes out (sorry Ainsley)

Like one thing was that the book didn’t show that Mallory was cured of her issues over night but certainly more time needed to be shown to have elapsed for the happy ever after, snuggled up on Rider’s hot abs post SAT ridiculousness.

*SIGHING*

But the major problem with this book is that we have too many underdeveloped characters with personal problems and issues.

STOP THROWING EVERY FREAKING ISSUE YOU CAN THINK OF INTO ONE BOOK!!!

The characters of the Step-parents

Clearly have issues surrounding grief and the death of their daughter. They haven’t fully accepted it and definitely are viewing Mallory in some sort of replacement aspect.

  • Was this fully explored?
  • Did we get inside their heads?

NO!!!!

The character of the Step-daddy

I have a dead troubled brother???? Well that’s convenient isn’t it. NO! I need more. I need to get inside his thinking processes more. He needs to feature in the novel more.

The character of the Step-mum

Okay I like the step-mum. Can’t remember her name but kudos for finally having some positive female adult role model parental rep in a ya.

The character of Ainsley

I AM A FABULOUS BEST FRIEND WHO WILL GO BLIND AND TEACH YOU TO VALUE EACH DAY AS IF ITS YOUR LAST

Always love the inspirational sick/disabled character…

It’s alluded to that she ain’t dealing so well but no. LETS MAKE IT ALL ABOUT YOU MALLORY….. God she’s a crap bestie

The character of the dead teenage younger brother of hector.

Like that’s great. I finished this book 24 hours ago and I don’t even remember his name ONLY THAT HE TEACHES RIDER THE SAME THING THAT AINSLEY TEACHES MALLORY if you can’t have an inspiring sick friend then a dead one will do just the sam…

The character of Hector.

What even was your point as a character? You worked in MaccyDs. Literally the only thing I remember about you.

The character of Keira

Yet another under-developed female side character. Like okay it’s nice to see a nice cheerleader but her anxiety issues were just…. I can’t. I NEED MORE. STOP TELLING ME STUFF ABOUT CHARACTERS AND MAKE ME FEEL IT INSTEAD!!!!!

In summation

Honestly I could have written this book. My friend Gabby and I read it at the same time and were messaging each other and we knew every plot twist that was coming. I hesitate to use the words plot twist as there was nothing twisty about this book.

I’m done.
I am so done with this style of book.

The book says the problem with forever is that forever doesn’t exist or some such crap. Sadly reading this felt like it took forever so I would have to disagree with that. It’s a no from me.

11 thoughts on “The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout – Book Review

  1. YES! I LIVE FOR THESE REVIEWS!

    Anyways, 🤣🤣🤣

    I definitely understand what you mean when it comes to their incest relationship. I read a book like that called Never Contented Things and was just horrified. Ick, no.

    Now, I do like a manga series that have two step kids who end up together but they are also teens, went to the same school, and knew each other before their parents decided to get together. Which I think is completely different than what JLA tried to do here. (Maybe I’m wrong and I’m just a gross weirdo too 🤷‍♀️🤦‍♀️)

    I know this is long, I’m sorry!

    Now I have only read one book by JLA and honestly, I wasn’t impressed. I haven’t picked up another book by her and I don’t think I ever will.

    Okay, done. 🤣❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh you are welcome! 😂😂😂

      I totally get you though. It’s just not right when the characters are brought up together from the youngest of ages. Because that’s a sibling relationship irrespective of blood! But that difference you described could definitely work if they met when they were 16ish because you haven’t developed that sibling like bond that exists in this train wreck of a book! 😅😅😅😂😂😂💙💙💙❤️❤️❤️💚💚💚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh no, this one really doesn’t sound good at all! I hate when a disabled character is used to teach an able-bodied character a lesson too. As you say it’s so offensive!!! I think it’s lazy too, like the author can’t be bothered to come up with a good way to have a character evolve 😣 your rant was very entertaining though 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh it’s so offensive! Such an ableist thing to incorporate into a novel, and so many authors do it! I’m so tired of disability and/or illness of another character being used as a convenient plot device to inspire the able bodied. It’s time for this problematic trope to become a thing of the past!
      And thank you for reading 😊😊✨💫💙💙

      Liked by 1 person

  3. LMAO!!! I LIVE FOR THE SALT 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Oh, this was just what I didn’t know I needed right now. But this book sounds like a hot hot mess. I haven’t read anything JLA before although I’ve seen quite of her books mentioned around the blogosphere. I think I might have one on my shelf but I’m not sure. I will proceed witch caution! Thanks for the laughs, friend ❤ LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol you are welcome Dini. This book was an utter mess. My gosh there were so many things wrong with it. Mostly just entirely ineffectual writing. JLA simply does not have the gravitas of prose required to sensitively handle these delicate subjects. It was far too tropey and super ill advised. Just a problematic book from start to finish 🙈🙈😅😅😅

      Like

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