Study Guide

The Truth About Forever Transformation

By Sarah Dessen


I already knew this was where they took people to tell them the really bad news: that their wait was over, their person was dead. In fact, I'd just watched another family make this progression, the ten or so steps and the turn of a corner, crossing over from hopeful to hopeless. (1.39)

Well, that's depressing. This passage recalls the moment that Macy found out for sure that her father had died. Do you think her loss of self happened right in that moment? Or was it a more gradual transformation.

This life was fleeting, and I was still searching for the way I wanted to spend it that would make me happy, full, okay again. (6.122)

All Macy wants is to change back to normal. Just one problem: she doesn't know how. At least that's what she says. Is it possible that she does know how, but just doesn't really want to yet?

A single corkscrew curl dropped down over my eyes and I stared at it, surprised, as it dangled in my field of vision, the smallest part of me transformed. (7.39)

Ah, symbolism. This one tiny piece of hair is curled—transformed—and sure enough, it's a harbinger of much bigger changes. Maybe that's why an outward change in appearance makes such a difference to Macy.

"See I told you," Kristy said form behind me, where she was standing smiling, proud of her handiwork, as I just stared, seeing the familiar in all these changes. How weird it was that so many bits and pieces, all diverse, could make something whole. Something with potential. "Perfect." (7.51)

We've heard that the clothes make the woman. That may be total nonsense, but in this situation, Macy's style makeover isn't all that different from her eventual identity makeover: it's all about combining the familiar with the new.

"It's the same thing," I told her.

"What is?"

"Being afraid and being alive."

"No, she said slowly, and now it was as if she was speaking a language she knew at first I wouldn't understand, the very words, not to mention the concept, being foreign to me. "Macy, no. It's not."

It's not, I repeated in my head, and looking back later, it seemed to me that this was the moment everything really changed. When I said these words, not even aloud, and in doing so made my own wish: that for me this could somehow, someday, really be true. (7.213-17)

This might just be the catalyst that started Kristy's whole emotional transformation. Kristy makes it pretty clear that life isn't all about being afraid. So what do you think: should Wes get most of the credit for helping Macy or should Kristy? Who first cracked her shell?

Too much time in a place like this could really do a person some damage. I mean, look what it's done to them

But I was thinking about what it had done to me. Being here miserable, day after day. (10.153-54)

Did the library make Kristy even worse off than she was before? Or did it push her to make a change because of how miserable it was?

"But then, once I did the heart-in-hand stuff, I got interested in how things moving made a piece look different, and how that changes the subject." (11.95)

Wes's artwork is full of transformation. Can we project that transformation onto Wes as a character? Or are we reading a little too much into it…?

Get changed, she said, which was ironic, because all I'd wanted to tell her was that I already had. (16.74)

Clothes seem to mean a lot to Macy and her mom, as far as identity goes. Maybe it's because they're an outward sign that everything's fine. If you can dress the part, you can be the part.

"And then, this summer, she finally finds some friends and something she likes to do. But then one tiny slipup, and you take it all away from her."

"That has nothing to do with what we're talking about," my mother said.

"It has everything to do with it," Caroline shot back. "She was finally getting over what happened. Couldn't you see the change in her? I could, and I was barely here. She was different." (18.72-74)

Macy's transformation was cut short for a while by her mom. Was Deborah justified in her actions? Is it possible that she saw Macy changing and didn't want to be left behind in the not-over-it dust?

But as I stood watching her, I realized how truly hard it was, really, to see someone you love change right before your eyes. Not only is it scary, it throws your balance off as well. This was how much mother felt, I realized, over the weeks I worked at Wish, as she began to not recognize me in small ways, day after day. (20.30)

This attitude shows a transformation in itself. From protective of her mom to angry to understanding. It might be scary to watch a loved one change, but it's the way of the world. And by the end of the book, it seems like all of the Queen ladies—Macy, Caroline, and Deborah—can understand that.