Standalone or series
First time reading this author?
Why I picked this
I enjoyed We Begin At The End by the same author which has a young protagonist, and thought he’d taken a good approach to children being failed by the adults in their lives which might do well in a young adult book.
Review copy or purchase
I read this with a gifted copy courtesy of publishers Hot Key Books and as part of a Tandem Collective readalong. This review represents my own thoughts on the book.
What it’s about
The end of the world is coming. With a month before everything’s over the teens of the town of West have to decide whether they want to live their forevers now.
Who knew that a book about the end of the world could be funny, uplifting and heartbreaking all at the same time? Author Chris Whitaker has brought the talent for characterisation and dialogue which he demonstrated in his bestselling novel We Begin At The End to the world of young adult fiction, and he doesn’t miss a single note.
In The Forevers we explore the coastal town of West through the eyes of Mae and her classmates and friends. They’re 17, and they’ve spent most of their lives under the shadow of Selena, the planet killing asteroid which has monitored on a direct trajectory for Earth for the past 10 years.
Imagine becoming a teenager knowing that you’re unlikely to see adulthood. Not just you, but every single person you know.
Although the book starts with the discovery of the body of Mae’s former best friend at the base of cliffs, the striking thing is how normal everything seems in West. We come in one month before Selena is expected to collide with Earth, and after nine Saviour missions to change its course have failed. Still the kids go to school, people go to their jobs, they laugh, they cry, they love, and some of them leave or die.
The Forevers is the answer to this. A concept Mae and her friend Amy developed, when they were still friends and Amy was still alive. It’s about taking back their future, owning who they are in the here and now and recognising that they can’t put off being their whole selves in the hope of a miracle.
Mae is a brilliant character, she’s strong, but caring. At the start she’s this outsider, but other teens and adults are drawn to her strength and her honesty. The banter between her, her friend Felix and his movie-inspired mission to get the girl of his dreams to notice him, and her little sister Stella, is brilliant. There are some real laugh out loud moments.
With a limited time left to live what would you do with it? If reading great books is part of that plan then The Forevers should make it on to that list.