Study Guide

The Truth About Forever Genre

By Sarah Dessen


Young Adult Literature

Okay, gumshoe. Get ready. What clues do we have that this book is young adult literature? Maybe that it's about a teenage girl (a.k.a. a young adult)? Oh, and that it's written to appeal to other young adults? And how about the fact that it follows this girl as she grows up.


If you're looking for a stellar example of just exactly what young adult literature is, The Truth About Forever is it. It's so deeply immersed in the world of teens today and so true-to-life that any teen reading it will be able to relate. (And let's be honest: probably the adults, too.)

Family Drama

If you dig right down to the heart of this book, you'll find that it all revolves around family. Sure, friends and love interests are a big part of the game, but why is Macy living this half-life in the first place? Because of her dad. Who determines the course of the rest of her summer, once she gets in trouble? Her mom. And who spends the whole book drawing her and her mom out of their refusal to face their grief? Her sister. The interplay between the family members is the skeleton on which the whole story is built. Okay, creepy metaphor, but you know what we mean.

Coming of Age

Wait a second—coming of age? Doesn't Macy end up less responsible and mature by the end of the book? Well, things aren't always as they seem. Over the course of the novel, Macy's perfect act is wearing thin, and she starts to realize that not everything can be controlled. Allowing herself more flexibility to roll with the punches of life, even if that means quitting a job or missing work to help a friend, is actually a sign of maturity for her.

We're not saying you shouldn't honor your commitments, but life is unpredictable. And dealing with that fact is what helps Macy grow up.