Wine Pairing: I recommend an Albariño for this one. It’s a highly acidic and vibrant wine, which pairs well with this book, because The Problem with Forever is such a REAL story. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s important, and it includes SUCH vital messages and authentic characters.
Mallory “Mouse” Dodge grew up in a foster home. To say it was less than idyllic is an understatement. She learned to survive by keeping silent. Staying quiet meant staying alive. Her only spot of brightness was the other foster child living in her home, Rider Stark, who was always willing to risk everything to protect her.
Years later, Mallory has escaped her terrible situation and been adopted by loving parents, but she is still battling the demons of her past. Speaking to or in front of others is painfully difficult for her. After years of counseling and home schooling, she decides she wants to attempt to complete her senior year in public school.
When Mallory bumps into Rider in Speech class, the bond the two formed as children quickly deepens. As they begin spending time together, it becomes clear that the world Rider lives in is much different from the world Mallory now lives in with her adopted parents, who are both doctors.
Armentrout vividly depicts what life can be like for those living in poverty and what that kind of desperation can drive people to do. This book not only highlights those very real difficulties in ways that are both so emotionally hard to read but also very important. Because sadly these situations are real, and raising awareness about that is so very important.
The other important theme Armentrout explores in this book is mental health, and she NAILS it. Not only do we watch Mallory struggle with her own mental health, but we see her accept it and force herself to battle against it, so she can achieve what she wants in life. Her story is so incredibly relatable and inspiring.
Anyone who struggles with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issue will feel stronger just for reading this, which was definitely my experience with it personally.
*All wine recommendations are, of course, for those of legal drinking age only.*