My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I’m starting to wonder if New Adult books are really anywhere close to being my cup of tea most of the time. Really the only NA title I’ve actually liked/loved was Melina Marchetta’s “The Piper’s Son” – which had the development, strong characterization and even unlikable characters that still managed to be likable given the tough situations they faced and the challenges in their respective relationships. “Beautiful Disaster”, “Thoughtless”, among quite a few other NA titles I’ve read have all proven to let me down with the bad writing, contrived situations and underdeveloped/heavily unlikable characters who don’t have an ounce of realism to them at all.
“The Next Forever” pretty much follows in that same line for me, though I guess on one hand this could be a realistic scenario if it didn’t feel so contrived. I really did not like this book; I feel guilty saying that so blunt because usually I can find something positive to say about a book even if it proves to not be my particular taste. I’m having a hard time trying to name positives here, if there were any at all.
I suppose it’s worth noting that this book starts off with a couple in trouble – Amy and Joe. This is a direct sequel to the author’s book “Pretty Amy” (which I haven’t read, but I have a feeling that whether you’ve read the former book or not, the portrayal – or lack thereof – would still be problematic here). I could say that I liked the fact that there was such a distinct show of strain in their relationship, and I somewhat hoped that I’d be able to see what prompted that strain a little more. They’re at their wits end with respect to their relationship, particularly after Joe asks Amy to move in with him. The two end up lying to each other about where they go that night, and test their ability to stay faithful to one another in a series of encounters. One thing leads to another in terms of misinterpretations, they argue it out, eventually coming to terms with each other. I wish I could say that coming of terms felt satisfying, but since I found the characters to be so infuriating in their respective portrayal, actions and internal dialogue, I can’t say that I was rooting for either Amy or Joe. I just didn’t find anything to cling to here. It felt like the story was milked for drama, and I just couldn’t ever find myself connected to the story or its characters. Usually even for characters I dislike, if they’re written where I can see their respective thoughts and perspective, I can understand it and follow. This, unfortunately didn’t hold my attention and I found it a struggle despite being a short read.
I don’t think it deters me from wanting to read “Pretty Amy”, but my first impression of Burstein’s work here was not good based on “The Next Forever.” I just felt it dropped the ball on many aspects of the story and it failed to pull me in.
Overall score: 1/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Entangled Publishing.