Title: The Forevers
Author: Chris Whitaker
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genre: Teen fiction/Young adult, Thriller
Book format: Pre-publiscation proof copy
Sweet Strawberries: Sweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description:  They knew the end was coming. They saw it ten years back, when it was far enough away in space and time and meaning.
The changes were gradual, and then sudden.
For Mae and her friends, it means navigating a life where action and consequence are no longer related. Where the popular are both trophies and targets. And where petty grudges turn deadlier with each passing day. So, did Abi Manton jump off the cliff or was she pushed? Her death is just the beginning of the end.
With teachers losing control of their students and themselves, and the end rushing toward all of them, it leaves everyone facing the answer to one, simple question…
What would you do if you could get away with anything?

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is an interesting and fast paced thriller which I have mixed feelings about after reading it.  Ten years ago it was announced that asteroid Selena was on a collision course with earth.  Ten years later and everyone’s preparing for the potential end to the world.  But when Mae’s former friend Abi is found dead at the bottom of a cliff, people begin to wonder if she jumped or was she pushed.  And as the last 30 days countdown to the Selena, more secrets are revealed as everyone begins to show their true selves.

This is an interesting story and on a subject which is very much on trend at the moment.  I love books around the subject of a potential apocalypse (what’s wrong with me? Lol) and the moment I read the description of this book I knew I wanted to read it and was excited to find out what would happen.  The story is very fast paced, like a good thriller, and follows teenager Mae who goes to her school in a small town near the coast known as West.  The story’s setting was interesting with the beach being a place the characters frequent and the interesting contrast between families like Mae’s, and the very rich houses in another part of West.  I like Mae’s character, despite her slightly cold attitude towards others.  Her personality was well defined and I love her relationship with her sister Stella and her grandmother and what happens with all of them throughout the story.

Mae’s family set up and back story was interesting and I just loved her relationship to Stella and what happens with her and especially scenes with a dog later in the story.  The difficulties Mae has with her family are interesting and in fact Mae’s personal story with her family and her friends made for some of my favourite parts of the book.

I enjoyed getting to know some of the other characters like Sail and Mae’s best friend Felix too, who was always funny, scenes with him making me laugh almost every time as he continually tries to impress a girl at school with disasterous results.  As the story moves on and the days count down to the impact of Selena we see so many different things happening with everyone.  There are a lot of revelations throughout the story, and like a lot of thriller stories these did keep me interested in reading and there were a few shock moments, especially towards the ending where I didn’t know what would happen and was surprised and shocked when different secrets were revealed.  However the story overall was a little difficult to follow due to the pacing and speed at which everything happened.

I enjoyed the way the story developed overall and I did like the flashbacks into what had happened in the last ten years, but when it came to what was happening in the main story, I often felt like it was rushed and the scenes changed before I even realised.  The story almost jumped from one place to another and some scenes happened so fast that I didn’t even realise that the characters were somewhere else than where they had been, until another character interacted with them.  While I do like fast paced thrillers and I do understand that the author has tried to rush the plot in this fast-paced way, I do feel that the jumps were just too fast, often spoiling what would have been a really good scene, and I would have preferred a bit more description here and there to help me know what was happening or to make me feel more for the characters.  For the most part I did enjoy the story but the fast-paced changes made some of it feel almost like a dream, just happening too fast and I often felt a disconnection with the characters as their feelings weren’t shown that much either.  I do think I would have connected more if only there had been a bit more description.

The story does have a satisfying build up and ending although the last scenes around a certain character who had overcome something difficult did feel a bit sad to me, and the way the story ends is interesting although if I’m honest I don’t know if I loved the ending that much as I always prefer a happy ending than something in between, however what happens to Mae overall and her close friends was good and I did like the overall story idea and the smaller moments when characters were being silly or having close discussions.  In general though I think the ending was satisfying, but just not what I would have preferred, though what ending you could give to everything that happened is a good question as so much happens to everyone in this story and so many things are revealed!  The book doesn’t have anything too offensive.  There are a few uses of swear words including the f word plus a few mentions of sex related things which may be a bit much for younger teens and some shocking revelations but nothing more.

In the end I have mixed feelings about this book.  While I like the general story, the apocalyptic nature of the tale and everything that’s happening to the teens at West, for me, there were issues with the pacing and the fact that I just didn’t connect with any of the characters as much as I had hoped.  It’s an interesting read and it’s certainly something that some might be interested in reading, but for me the pacing just felt a little too fast, the story jumped and it just spoiled the enjoyment for me unfortunately, and I was left feeling a little disappointed that I didn’t love it more.  From reviews I have read I can see some people have really enjoyed this though, but for me it was just a bit too difficult to read and I just didn’t like the story and characters as much as I had hoped.  So I would recommend it as an interesting read to see what happens but it depends really on how much you don’t mind the overly fast-paced plot with quick changing scenes, though it hasn’t put me off from trying another book by this author in future. 🙂

What do you think of this book?  Do you like books that focus on apocalytic events?  What about thrillers?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂