A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that B. T. Gottfred's Forever for a Year is about two high school freshmen experiencing the emotional roller coaster of first love and a first sexual relationship. Told from both Carolina and Trevor's points of view, the brief alternating chapters read like stream-of-consciousness diary entries. There's enough graphic sex (including oral sex and intercourse) to warrant a "sexually explicit" warning label. But the book does show readers that sex will have consequences and that first love -- no matter how passionate -- may not be forever.
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What's the story?
For both Carrie and Trevor, freshman year is a new beginning: Carrie is reinventing herself as Carolina, and Trevor has just moved to town and is entering a new school. They meet on the first day and, despite pressure from friends who are against the relationship, fall in love and soon begin to explore and then act on their sexual feelings for each other. The relationship portrayed in FOREVER FOR A YEAR is filled with the usual teenage "loves me, loves me not" angst, and both teens are coping as best they can with parents whose marriages are often on shaky ground, as they weather almost every storm that seems destined to pull them apart.
Is it any good?
This book has a split personality: One side shows a sweet, realistic look at first love, and the other offers up enough sex to verge on soft porn. On the positive side, the voices of Trevor and Carolina are distinctive as they chronicle their relationship in alternating chapters that offer insight into how differently boys and girls act and react to love and sex. And both Carolina and Trevor are likable and relatable as they stumble, fall, and find their way through freshman year. Ultimately, it's a story that could have offered a window into how teens explore a first serious relationship but has been hijacked by too much sex.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the realities of teens having sex. What are the emotional consequences of having a sexual relationship?
How realistic do you think Carolina and Trevor's relationship is for high school freshmen?
Several characters cheat in their relationships, both innocently and not at all innocently. Would you forgive someone who cheated on you?
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