Welcome to The Bookish Babe's stop on The Next Forever Blog Tour. You can find the complete tour schedule here. My stop includes a review and interview with author Lisa Burstein.
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Publisher: Entangled Ever After
Publication Date: 1/13/13
One night in college can change everything…
Away at college, Amy just wants one night alone without her high school sweetheart, Joe. So when he invites her to go to the library, she heads off on her own instead. How she ended up at a house party with the mysterious bad-boy Trevor is another story…
Joe so isn’t going to the library. He needs space from Amy, too, so he’s decided to rush a fraternity, to get back the swagger he had in high school. But it doesn’t take long for the brothers to invite him to the real rush here the beer is flowing and one particular girl has set her eyes on Joe.
Over the course of one wild night, both Amy and Joe will have to decide if their futures belong with two new people, or whether the next forever will have their first loves in it.
"The next forever was all that mattered."
I am truly at a loss with my review. I want to talk about The Next Forever, and how amazingly honest and insightful I found it to be, but I can't make my heart go there.
Lisa Burstein is a gift to young women, and the people who love these girls. I wish, so much, that Pretty Amy and The Next Forever had been around when I was younger. How much easier my life might have been if I had been able to hand my mom, dad, or boyfriend (now husband) one of these books and said "You truly want to know me? What's going on inside my head? Here, read this." I find so much of myself in Amy that it is scary. And the way in which Burstein is able to convey the angst, the questions, the doubts that consume Amy's thoughts... it truly blows my mind.
The Next Forever is not "Pretty Amy 1.5: Amy and Joe Live Happily Ever After". What it is is a honest, sometimes heartbreaking look at what happens next. The doubts Amy has about her choices, her ability to think and speak for herself. Joe has his own worries. He's a "saver". What will he become to Amy if she no longer needs him to rescue her from herself. For this, I give Burstein major love. So often in books, we want that happy ever after, wrapped up nice and neat. But that's not life, and it's not fair to always portray it as such. Like we all do, Amy and Joe realize that each day is takes work, each day is a gift, and each day is it's own forever.
Once again, Lisa Burstein has proved to me that her books are invaluable, must-reads if you were, have ever or will ever love an "Amy". THANKS, Lisa, for giving all of us a voice.
...but I felt like I'd gone from the shadow of Lila and Cassie to the shadow of Joe. Not that Joe ever made me feel like I was in his shadow.
He made me feel like the sun.
But I was still measuring my significance because he was in my orbit. If I said yes to him, would I ever stand on my own? ~24%
"Wow," she said, her whole body hunching. "You really love her, huh?"
"I'm trying," I said.
"Well." She licked the top of her bottle. "When you get tired of trying, you can always call me."
The thing was that I knew, for Amy, I would always try. ~67%
Interview with Lisa Burstein
Was it difficult to get back into Amy's head for this novella?
Lisa: A little, but also Amy is so close to who I was in high school and college that she is kind of just me.
I love that Joe gets his own point of view. How was it writing a guy?
Lisa: Easier than I thought. Luckily I had my editor letting me know when he was being too girly. Also, I lucked out in that Joe is a sensitive guy which allowed me to be able to let him be in touch with his feelings. The one thing I am amazed by is that in every review, love or hate the book, no one has said that Joe didn't ring true as a guy. I am proud of that.
I loved the fact Amy still faces her "bad girl" past, and her feelings of inadequacy. Was that something you knew you were going to touch on going into writing The Next Forever?
Lisa: I did. Her and Joe needed to still be facing that conflict and she also needed to still be facing it internally. I understood that this would give the novella the depth it needed. When you are writing something shorter giving it depth can be hard because you only have a finite number of pages. I also knew that Amy's struggle with all these things wouldn't be solved at the end of The Next Forever, nothing about Amy is ever tied up in a neat, little bow.
I like that Amy and Joe, even though they're a couple, need space. That's something I don't find a lot in books. Was that an important point for you?
Lisa: I think it is real. I know that when my husband and I were in college (yes, we met there), it was something we struggled with. It is important to have your own life as well as have a life together. I think this is an issue couples face at all stages of their relationship. How to keep that delicate balance between me and we.
Okay...How was it writing your first intimate scene?
Lisa: HA! Well, scary. I had never written anything beyond heavy make-out so writing actual SEX was totally new and different and terrifying. I just thought what would I want to read in a sex scene and I went with the tender rather than the explicit. For Joe and Amy, I think it couldn't be any other way.
Thanks to Lisa for taking the time to answer my questions. I think her answers help explain why I love her books so much.
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