The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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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 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.
The Problem With Forever was an emotionally haunting and beautiful story. Reading the prologue alone, I knew that I was stepping into a book that would forever be ingrained in my heart. Not only because this was a first for me, since I cried from the prologue. To think about children suffering through that type of physical and emotional abuse hurts me to the core. But that wasn’t the only reason why this story will stay with me forever. Mallory and Rider enraptured me with their feelings. I became obsessed with The Problem With Forever as we transitioned to High School in the first chapter, and that obsession never once wavered.
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.
Mallory Dodge was unlike any other character I have met. She was timid, she was overwhelmed by noise, and she had been trained not to make a sound. While she was a foster child, she spent her youth learning that sounds and noises brought attention to herself. And with attention came physical and emotional abuse. And while I have never once felt nervous, overwhelmed or panicky about the thought of speaking to others, Mallory made me feel terrified right along with her. My palms were sweaty and my stomach was tossing and turning with nervousness. Mallory made me feel every single thing she did! Yet as the story unfolded, we got to see Mallory push herself out of her comfort zone again and again. I loved how we got to watch Mallory grow and find strength within herself. She was an amazing woman!
“Do you recognize me?” His voice was still barely above a whisper.
His eyes continued to hold mine, and I spoke what turned out to be the easiest word I’d ever said in my life.
But what Mallory could never had predicted was running into Rider Stark on her first day going back to public school. Rider was a foster child who had grown up in the same house as Mallory. They had been together from the age of 3, until they were separated at 13. Although four years had passed since they last saw each other, it’s hard to forget that they were each others world. Especially for Mallory. Not only was Rider her best friend, but he was her protector too. He took beatings that she was meant to take. He sacrificed himself to protect Mallory and keep her safe at all costs. Until they were ripped apart.
My heart exploded as those strong arms pulled me against his chest. There was a moment where I froze, and then my arms swept around his neck. I held on, squeezing my eyes shut as I inhaled the clean scent and the lingering trace of aftershave. This was him. His hugs were different now, stronger and tighter. He lifted me clear off my feet, one arm around my waist, the other hand buried deep in my hair, and my breasts were mushed against his surprisingly hard chest.
Rider was breathtaking. Not only because of what he did in the past for Mallory, but those actions continued through to present day. Rider stepped back into Mallory’s life and became her protector all over again. He would do the sweetest things like ditch a class so that way Mallory would have someone to sit and eat lunch with. Just wait till you see everything he did for Mallory, he was such a good guy! But some aspects of their relationship did change over time. Sexual tension was strumming between them and it was sigh and toe curling worthy. Rider literally gave me chills with his words and mannerisms towards Mallory. So yeah, I became a little obsessed with him lol. Rider was charming, sexy, sweet, loyal, dedicated and the intensity of how much he still cared for Mallory lifted off of the pages. It was impossible not to fall for him.
I pulled myself out of the memory, but there were so many of him coming to my rescue for some reason or another until he couldn’t, until the promise of forever had been shattered, and everything… everything had fallen apart.
I loved how it felt like I knew Mallory and Rider inside out, especially with the flashbacks to their younger years. Whether it was just a short moment or a longer memory, we got to watch their friendship unfold. And we also got to truly understand all of the horrors that they lived with. It was easy to grasp that they only had each other to rely on. And how their past helped form them into the person that they would become.
His lashes lowered and the lopsided grin appeared. “I always knew you’d be beautiful one day.”
My breath hitched as I sat straighter. What was left of the pizza , just the crust, was totally forgotten . My ears had to be smoking crack or something.
A flush swept across his cheeks as one side of his lips kicked up. “I just never thought I’d get to see how beautiful you’d become.”
The Problem With Forever also contained moments with Mallory’s best friend who I absolutely adored! It was refreshing to see a strong female friendship, and I can’t wait for Ainsley’s book! And I was happy to see that Mallory’s adoptive parents played an active role in some very important moments in Mallory’s life. But when I closed that last page, I was struck by how extremely grateful I am for my life. I was reminded of all of the positives that constantly surround me, no matter how little or big they are. And I’m so glad that message, whether intentional or not, sunk it’s claws into me. So of course I loved every single moment in The Problem With Forever, and I hope you will too.
*ARC kindly provided by Harlequin TEEN via Inkslinger PR in exchange for an honest review*
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About Jennifer L. Armentrout:
About Jennifer L. Armentrout: # 1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.
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