Trigger Warnings: Suicide, Self-Harm, Abortion, Disordered Eating, Domestic Abuse, Child Abuse, Homophobia, Paedophilia, Child Sexual Abuse, Fatphobia, Slut Shaming and references to Rape
Yeah, those are a lot of trigger warnings, but before we get into this review, we had to start with them. This is a hard book to read. Not only is it about the world ending, but these characters all have hard lives on top of that. This book is short, so though it’s difficult, it is quick to get through. I was lucky enough to be sent a physical copy of this book thanks to the folks of Hot Key Books, and I’m very glad I read it. I think it’s going to be one that will stick with me for a long while.
What would you do if you could get away with anything? Mae and her friends know they only have 30 days left to live. After coming across the body of her childhood friend, her ghost seems to haunt them all, and Mae wants to find out what happened. But people are more willing to do the deadly things they’d never dreamed of doing before, and chaos will take over the school and town.
This book is a heavy read. I can’t underscore how heavy it is. You see all those trigger warnings above? The characters with difficult lives don’t just require one trigger warning each. It’s multiple. I expected this book to be dark. It’s about the last month before the planet dies, after all, but it was so much more than I expected. I thought this would be a fun and fast thriller. It’s not. It’s a deep look into the darkness of people’s hearts and what they might do if they didn’t think they had to worry about consequences. And Chris Whitaker does that so well.
I’m not sure that this is a book I’d reread because I don’t think it would have the same effect on me. I finished this yesterday and have started two other books since. And yet, I’m still thinking about it. Abi’s words, the talk of Forevers. They still haunt me. And that is exactly what this book seems to want. I’m sat here thinking about how I can make my life mean something by just being who I am. And I think that’s something we could all learn from. To the creeps and the weirdos, that’s for sure.
With this book being about the world ending, there’s a lot of talk about religion. Or well, Christianity. It may have been nice to see other religions represented. But the kids go to a Christian school, so I suppose it’s not surprising. A few of the kids are in the choir, Mae’s best friend is the Reverend’s son, and there is a lot of questions as to whether God is real or not. As someone not at all religious, this didn’t impact me much. If anything, it did bore me a little. I didn’t care about the church or what certain people thought. But at the same time, it didn’t feel like the religion was being pushed on me.
The writing was interesting. It wasn’t lyrical or floaty, but something about the style felt quite thoughtful and literary. It’s not a style of writing I particularly go out of my way to read. But it suited the book and was easy enough to read. This isn’t a very action-packed book; it’s more introspective, and that definitely makes it stand out. I just tend to prefer a little bit more action and a little less philosophy.
I would definitely recommend this book. Just make sure you’re in the right frame of mind to read it. It’s dark and clever and it’ll definitely get you thinking. But it’s also one that you might need to recover from after.
Title: The Forevers
Author: Chris Whitaker
Age Range: YA
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Release Date: 08/07/21