Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, lockfollolatu.cf THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER Also by SARAH DESSEN THAT SUMMER. seemed like he could go on forever, but then he stopped and looked at me. “What else?” he asked. I glanced back down at my book, as if somehow, the words. the truth about forever pdf free download Reading Lists, Book Club Books, Books To The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen Sarah Dessen is by far my.
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Books Download The Truth About Forever (PDF, ePub, Mobi) by Sarah Dessen Read Online Full Free. From the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Once and for All Expect the unexpected. Macy's got her whole summer. To ask other readers questions about The Truth About Forever, please sign up. Amicha Books to read after this (that aren't other Sarah Dessen books)?.
She thought that I would like her to achieve what I achieved. I knew this not even from my wife but from my wife's older sister who was closed to my daughter. So, where did I go wrong? Where is that balance between too little and too much? Where is that point to strike and the seesaw will stand still?
She thinks that Jason does not love her despite her trying to do her best in her work in the library. She feels the pressure that she has brought to herself. She assumes so many things that the unnecessary emotions have bottled up and so the seesaw is not balanced and her feelings are all mixed up and her life is in turmoil. I'm too old to appreciate her romance with the tattooed Wes and I did not really care about his dark past. Maybe my daughter would love this book.
But for me, I still liked this but not for that reason, that same reason why my Goodreads friends, liked this. I read this as a father and I liked it. Thank you, Tina, for recommending this book. Thank you, Sheryl for lending me this copy! Thank you, Maria for being my reading buddy. I struggled finishing this book. I felt the pressure but it was worth it! Thank you! View all 32 comments. View all 4 comments. This was one of my favorite books in early high school and still stands out as one of the first true YA books I ever found.
I'm doing this book for Penguin's ReadADessen blog tour right now and am all sorts of nostalgic. Macy's still trying to recover from her father's sudden death that she witnessed over a year ago. She's tried to make herself as perfect as possible so life can be safe and predictable, but she still feels inadequate. Her boyfriend looks ideal on paper super smart and spending This was one of my favorite books in early high school and still stands out as one of the first true YA books I ever found.
Her boyfriend looks ideal on paper super smart and spending his summer at Brain Camp , but is actually seriously boring in person. So enter the awesome characters: Delia and her catering crew of Wes, Bert, Monica, and Kristy. They're working an event at Macy's house and end up offering her a job when she steps in to help them. She initially refuses, but then accepts and gets swept up in this eclectic new family she's found.
I loved this crew so much in high school that I went out and catered a few events, no joke. Throughout the story the new friends help Macy drop her "perfect" facade, relax more with the unknown in life, and start to really be herself. Wes is my favorite Dessen guy for sure no wait He and Macy have an ongoing question game that's all sorts of adorable. The romance kind of took a backseat to the main story, but I really liked that in this case.
Everything worked. The story is ultimately a journey of healing as the characters all deal with grief in different ways. I thought it was super touching and really well done overall. The whole story has this really peaceful, contemplative tone that I really loved in high school.
My top two Dessen recommendations will always be this book and Just Listen! Thank you to the publisher for sending me a finished copy. View all 9 comments. Dec 03, Nat rated it liked it Shelves: So the queen of the genre, aka Sarah Dessen, had to make a comeback for my next reread. Reading this made me recall how I achingly miss that feeling of fun and ease those iconic books that scream of summer provided when I needed it the most. I mean, remembering my reading experience of these books now feels like sifting through teen memories, and even though I didn't encounter the described events personally, I experienced so much joy reading them that they simply feels like mine.
And it's exactly this rush of emotion that I haven't felt in a while with a YA book. Now, I definitely feel the keen need to revisit more of the kind in the near future. But in the meantime, I've compiled a list of things I adored within this reread: I definitely had to rearrange my expectations when it came to them since I recalled the dynamics between the crew a tad different, but still, they were so good.
And the weirdest thing was, they did. Although even when I was standing right there I couldn't say how. So Kristy makes sure to pass onto Macy her confidence. You're smart, you're gorgeous, you're a good person. I mean, what makes him such a catch, anyway? Who is he to judge? Because anyone that can make you feel that bad about yourself is toxic, you know?
Or what I let him do. It was hard to say. Who doesn't see you as a project, but a prize. You know? What sucks is how you can't even see it.
I've played a game of tag for 23 years. The game came from a bad period in life that later blossomed into a more concrete focal point for the brothers. It pretty much came from us living alone in the house after my mom died. It was really quiet, so it was easy to sneak around. Armageddon club , was a huge sa-woon worthy moment for me.
He untangled the tie, smoothing the ends. He reached up, plucking the piece of tissue off his brother's face, then straightened the tie again.
There's a chicken dinner and dessert. It's all paid for. And then the it also hit a bit of a rut when the catering crew, who were one of the biggest highlights for me, didn't appear in the following scenes. Overall, I had a nice walk down memory lane by rereading The Truth About Forever , but the memory of the book still holds more appeal for me than the actual book.
I did, however, really enjoy this Rex Orange County song that gets the mood of this read. These next lines, in particular: I'll find a spot that's just for me and see if I can cope without An ounce of pain, without an ounce of pain Said the likelihood just frightens me and it's easier to hide But I can't ignore it endlessly, eventually things die Note: Support creators you love.
download a Coffee for nat bookspoils with Ko-fi. View 1 comment. I loved everything about it: Macy, Wes oh Wes , and everybody of the Wish Catering crew. The plot was cute and exciting and even though it is easily predictable I mean, that's why we read these kind of books , it was simply perfect.
Find more of my books on Instagram. View all 7 comments. I'd tried to hold myself apart, showing only what I wanted, doling out bits and pieces of who I was. But that only works for so long. Eventually, even the smallest fragments can't help but make a whole.
Now that I finally have some time to put together a little bit of a coherent review, I'm excited to give a little more explanation to my thoughts. I've been seeing this author on the shelves of every big bookstore for years and never gave her a second look. And while I think that there was som I'd tried to hold myself apart, showing only what I wanted, doling out bits and pieces of who I was.
And while I think that there was something missing that made this an absolute perfect and epic win for me, it also touched me in a way not many books do Maybe that's what you got when you stood over your grief, facing it finally.
A sense of its depths, its area, the distance across, and the way over or around it, whichever you chose in the end. This was an absolute favorite for me last year and an absolute shock. It wasn't particularly fast paced nor was it action packed.
But every word, every page, every moment implanted itself into my heart and stole my breath. However, it lacked all those intense, tugging emotions that made IMUT an emotionally packed gut punch. Leaning out my window, at the odd angle I was, I found myself almost level with the top of his head.
A second later, when he looked up at me, we were face to face, and again, even under these circumstances, I was struck by how good looking he was, in that accidental, doesn't-even-know-it kind of way.
Which only made it worse. Or better. Or whatever. When what I wanted to happen happened, it certainly made me a total fangirl, but by then I had invested a ton of time and wanted a little more.
Does that make sense? I appreciated and loved the slow, syrupy feel of Dessen's world and her writing, but it lacked one key emotion to make me a forever fan: The silence wasn't like the ones I'd known lately, though: There's an entirely different feel to quiet when you're with someone else, and at any moment it could be broken. Like the difference between a pause and an ending.
Probably my other large gripe was our main character's mother. Come on. Grief does absolutely horrible, dreadful, unspeakable things to a person, but I don't think when your daughter is sitting there telling you how much she likes people and how good they are that her kinds of reactions were necessary.
A little naivety? Blase tone? But that utter disregard for her daughter's feelings? It bothered me far more than I'm even letting on now. Always there for her, always making her see herself the way she deserves to be seen.
And I think that's my favorite part about Wes-He doesn't belittle her. He always makes her search deep within herself for what makes her happy and not other people.
And he never makes her feel small. He is just one of those perfect guys and you can't help but to love him from the moment you meet him-no matter how small his part is, at first.
Events conspired to bring you back to where you'd been. It was what you did then that made all the difference: Now, I know I didn't say much, but I just had to say more than what I did below. This book, while not a heart-stopping and pulse-pounding thriller by any means, is a great coming of age story. And hell, I'm 26 years old and I found some value in the deep, heartfelt words this author wrote through the eyes and mind of Macy.
We all can stand to learn something about ourselves and become introspective even if just for a moment. As it is, this book, while not an absolute favorite, came at a time where I looked deep within myself and saw a little of Macy. I don't want to live a life where I'm living for others and not myself What better way to get impartial advice than reading a wonderful book? There is no better way. For more of my reviews, please visit: Extremely well-written and a lot deeper than I really thought it would be I was shocked.
It wasn't until I really got where I wanted to be in terms of the story that I realized I had been holding my breath in anticipation A tad slow in places, but building up to something deep , meaningful, and heartfelt. I need more books like this in my life-It's the same description I've used for other books, but I'll say it again: It was like sitting on the front porch on a hot summer day sipping lemonade with a light breeze.
It was just that kind of book. And this Wes?? Such a totally believable good guy who wasn't over the top perfect that I couldn't help but wish I had met him first. Sweet, kind, attentive, and only wants what is best for Macy. I fell in love with him slowly.. RTC, maybe. Depends how my weekend goes! View all 23 comments. Dec 27, Adrienne rated it really liked it Recommended to Adrienne by: Mahyar Alemipour. I hadn't even heard of Sarah Dessen until I came across this book on my frend Mahyars read shelf.
I noticed the 5 stars and as we share a liking for certain types of books thought I'd investigate this author further. It didn't take much persuading, 1st person POV, heavy on the emotion, I was definately up for it. And I wasn't disappointed! Oh no this book has to be one of my all time favourites. I'm not going to give a re-tell of the story because other reviewers have done that,but what I will d I hadn't even heard of Sarah Dessen until I came across this book on my frend Mahyars read shelf.
I'm not going to give a re-tell of the story because other reviewers have done that,but what I will do is try to tell you how this story made me feel So here goes. Having lost a parent when I was about the same age as the heroine Macy I understand the emotions running through this story.
I know how difficult it is for the remaining parent to try and be the person everyone knows and also grieve for their partner. To lose a partner is different to losing a parent. I also understand why Macy ended up with Jason there is always a danger when we lose someone we love that the turmoil of our emotions attracts us to people who are in the long term not good for us too safe or too wild or too contoling , and was so glad that he was out of the picture for most of the story.
So when Macy decides to live dangerously and go to work for Wish I was overjoyed this was the next step for her, to escape the safe, and emotionally numb and sterile life that she had been living and start to find herself again. Whilst Monica and Bert have the role of younger siblings. So the guys from Wish become a kind of surrogate family you notice the only father figure is Pete who never really plays an active part in story so is distant like Carolines Macys sister hubby.
I think all of these things hilight the choices and decisions Macy had to face, in this, an improtant turning point in her life. I liked that an already emotive issue was not further complicated by sex, with Macy having to choose which path to take with regard to that. The only downside for me was, what would Macy have done had Caroline not told her mother about Wes Wes and Macy form a close friendship and Macys mom disapproves to the point where she activly prevents Macy from seeing him and his good character, had Macys mom continued to exert her control over Macy would Macy have been strong enough to disobey and go her own way?
Having been under the emotional restrictions of a controlling parent I can say from my POV probably not, she would have got back with Jason and spent the rest of her life with an emotionally retarded man ruled by his ability to control people via a mindless set of lists.
So thumbs up to Caroline, who orchestrated and manipulated her mother with no-one knowing, and in doing so set the wheels in motion for everyone to start the healing process and find themselves. So, would I read anything by Sarah Dessen again? You bet! View all 15 comments. What a sweet and lovely story! This was my first book by Miss Dessen, and will not likely be my last.
The writing is engaging and effortless--and the way the author realistically tackles grief is encouraging. Macy is a teen who strives for the impossible--perfection. Her father's sudden death has impaired her relationship with her mother, to whom she barely speaks.
Her 'braniac', emotionless boyfriend who possesses the personality of a twig leaves her for summer camp The relationship between Macy and Wes was tender and I enjoyed their ongoing, adorable game of 'truth. The secondary characters were fun and also struggled internally--proving that imperfection is not only acceptable, but endearing.
This story left me with a smile and a warm heart. Its messages of hope, overcoming grief, and finding love were ones I hope to instill in my own daughter. Very charming book, and perfectly appropriate for teens. Book Stats: Well developed and layered. A broken girl finds hope in friendship and young love.
Beautiful, effortless, engaging. Outstanding supporting cast. Food seriously, I put on about five stone just reading this book. Best friends. Good grief and real emotions. Being the person you want to be not the person they want you to be.
Boys with tattoos. Girls with go go boots. Running out of petrol. Arts and crafts. Low Points. Did we need four consecutive pages about houses?! But it got there in the end and I ended up enjoying it a lot and I will not be shunned by the entire YA community for treason against Queen Dessen. Which is great because perfection is overrated. So even though I know she wanted me to, I did not write Macy off. As the book progressed, Macy started to stand up for herself and develop that little thing we call a backbone and start living the life she knew was out there.
Macy had a lot to deal with in the past couple of years and had built up lots of sturdy walls around her to stop anyone seeing that she is finding grieving for her father difficult read: And if there is a sexy boy involved, then that's just fine too.
Love Interest. Seriously… what was he? Are there any seventeen year old boys actually like that? Do they truly exist? And if so why did Macy, as a girl with a pulse, stay with him so long? I guess nothing says passion like lists. Lists Well, hello Wes with your tattoo and your past. One day, Jo. One day onto the page. Which was refreshing because I find girls often get blind sighted by a boy with a past.
And you and Macy are really cute together and you encouraged her to be the girl she was too afraid to be just in case she slipped up and was no longer perfect.
Also, you can weld. Which is always hot. Best Friend s. I loved their interactions and their tomfooleries and the way they embraced Macy, no questions asked. Also, they have an ambulance as their method of transport. Theme Tune. Live Forever- Oasis. Angst Scale. There was great deal of angst in this book. Whether it was Macy and her grieving for the death of her father or Macy always striving for unattainable perfection, their was always the sense of angst looming in the background. And as I mentioned early… this book was a tad wordy and it sometimes felt like I was being clobbered over the head with a brick made of teenage emotion, but it fit well with the pace of the book.
Because even though it was heavy going in places, when it was funny it was really funny. I was snorting and hiccoughing with laughter here there and everywhere with this book. I liked the dichotomy of trivial angst vs real life emotions that Dessen sets up because it allowed me to understand the difficulties that Macy feels and her insecurities and allowed me to not only understand her but to relate to her.
I thought the way that Dessen depicted losing a family member was effective and the raw emotions that come after death were written perfectly. But Macy… why did you even care about Jason? He did not deserve the amount of angst you gave him. He wrote lists, for goodness sake. Recommended For. People who like contemporary YA books. People who like boys with a past. People who have always wanted to quit a job in a dramatic way.
People who find welding a sexy past time. People who like driving around in converted ambulances with excellent best friends. People who like meatballs…. View all 20 comments. Original post One More Page I've been trying to think of the best way to review this book, because I feel like the first review I wrote for The Truth About Forever did not do it any justice. The thing is, I don't know how to write a proper review for this book without squealing or "sa-woon"-ing so much. Because believe me, I know I did that so many times when I was rereading this book.
But let me try again. It's not my first Dessen, but it's the book that made me love Dessen and made her one of my auto-download authors. It's one book I've reread multiple times and still get all swoony and happy and wishing for a romance like Macy and Wes did. Yes, even with their drama, because it made the ending so much satisfying in the end. The Truth About Forever is about Macy Queen, whose life spun out of control when her dad died in front of her. Macy tried to hold it together for the sake of her family, hiding her grief and seeking perfection, thinking that this would help her mother who seeks perfection in everything she does as well, her own way of dealing with loss.
The story starts with Macy's boyfriend, Jason, leaving for Brain Camp and Macy facing a long summer with her strict schedule and routine. She's okay, she always thought. Until one day, she meets the Wish Catering crew. One bad afternoon at her summer job, with a bad email to boot, she joins Wish, makes new friends, and meets Wes -- the seemingly perfect guy with his own not-so-clean past, who likes flaws.
Things turn interesting for Macy as she gets to know these people, and as she realizes that maybe it's not so bad if her strictly-scheduled life unravels and she lets chaos in bit by bit.
Ah, this book. I think what makes me love this book more than I loved This Lullaby is how much I could relate to Macy. I'm fortunate enough to have my parents here with me so I can't relate to Macy at that front, but the schedules? The need to be as perfect as I can be sometimes, anyway? Oh, I've been there. At the next rereads, I found that I wanted to shake Macy so hard -- she needs to cry! She needs to snap out of the illusion that she needs to be perfect to hold things together.
She needs to let go and reach for her mom so they could grieve together! Ah Macy, why do you frustrate me so much? But it served as a good starting point. If there was anything that Sarah Dessen really knows, it's how to write a story that seeps into you and hooks you, pulling you in up until the last page.
There's no need for magic or any supernatural creatures -- just plain everyday things magnified, with added significance. The conversations could be just any normal conversation, but somehow they pack a punch. For example: You have to admit it's sort of ridiculous. There's really nothing new with the story, but thanks to the writing and the vivid characters, it becomes a little bit extraordinary. This book is one of the reasons I appreciate characters more, why I believe that even the most common storyline can be interesting when the roles are played by strong, well-developed characters.
And then there's Wes. Dessen boys are well known among readers, and Wes is definitely my favorite. He just seems so Strange to see a seemingly perfect guy in a book that tells the main character that perfection isn't everything, don't you think?
Believe me, I'm still trying to find some kind of flaw in Wes. But I guess that's what crushes are -- it's so hard to find a flaw in them. I think I'm not that infatuated with Wes that I'd try and look for someone exactly like him but hey, I wouldn't mind, haha , but I would like to have the same kind of development that Macy and Wes had.
Their relationship is one of the most authentic ones I've read -- built on shared experiences and conversations. Now where is that guy I could play a game of Truth with? It reminds me of why I started reading YA and why I like the contemporary genre. If you're looking for a good contemporary YA novel you can sink your teeth into, or if you're looking for a good Sarah Dessen novel to start with, I highly recommend The Truth About Forever.
Read it and sa-woon. View all 3 comments. Jan 14, Rachel Maniacup rated it really liked it Recommended to Rachel by: The Girl In Boots. This is a story of a young lady,MACY QUEEN, who is struggling to find herself for almost one year and a half now,after her father's sudden death,which she hasn't really grieved yet,and somehow blamed herself for that's why she never talk to anyone about her real emotions..
To hide her emotions,she tried to be a perfect person for her mother who never talk much and lacks affection because like her,her mother also shields her grief by keeping herself busy and This is a story of a young lady,MACY QUEEN, who is struggling to find herself for almost one year and a half now,after her father's sudden death,which she hasn't really grieved yet,and somehow blamed herself for that's why she never talk to anyone about her real emotions..
To hide her emotions,she tried to be a perfect person for her mother who never talk much and lacks affection because like her,her mother also shields her grief by keeping herself busy and for her perfect boyfriend named Jason who only thinks of himself who went to Brain Camp for summer,leaving his job on her at the library.
But then,she never felt happy working in this place until she met the "Wish Catering" team,and met Wes my favorite character here. One thing I loved about this book,is the way how Macy and Wes developed their friendship,and the way their relationship built up,starting with the "Truth" game that they played whenever they got the chance. What I didn't like was.. And I felt like the ending had been rushed up a bit.
I enjoyed them because they were well developed,and they have portrayed their roles effectively. Over all,this one's a good book and I'm highly recommending it to young adults as it came out as a neat,wholesome romance. View all 34 comments. Feb 11, Penny rated it really liked it Shelves: This book deserves 4 stars at least. It is well done, deep and introspective. There is nothing cliche here and yet, it is about something completely mundane in a very good way.
I absolutely recommend to read this book. In terms of personal tastes, I would give this book 3 stars. The topic is one that usually doesn't absorb me much, and the only reason I read it is because all the good reviews it has.
The pace was slower that I usually like; same with the excitement level. However, I am very glad This book deserves 4 stars at least. However, I am very glad I did read it. This book lacks some elements that I usually look for in a story, but it was undoubtedly beautiful and well crafted. That it is way I decided to give it 4 stars instead of the 3 that I would normally have given it.
In this particular case, it didn't feel right to lower it's rating just because my personal tastes. As I said before, the 4 stars are well deserved. The Truth About Forever is a good book. May 06, Exina rated it it was amazing Shelves: No one could tell you: If you were lucky, you came out on the other side and understood. If you didn't, you kept getting thrust back, retracing those steps, until you finally got it right. The story is captivating, so touching and so real.
Engaging writing style, loveable characters, and Wes who is just the most perfect fictional boyfriend ever. Aww, I wish he was real… I finally felt I was on No one could tell you: Aww, I wish he was real… I finally felt I was on my way. Everyone had a forever, but given a choice, this would be mine. The one that began in this moment, with Wes, in a kiss that took my breath away, then gave it back—leaving me astounded, amazed, and most of all, alive. Highly recommended! View all 16 comments.
Aug 02, Rachel E. Carter added it Shelves: I tried to give Sarah Dessen another chance. Unfortunately it did not work out. Are you tired of dealing with the mess of so many kinds of foil and wrap? Sick of fumbling through messy drawers or cabinets? Get the Neat Wrap and you'll have what you need within easy reach. It's all there, right at your fingertips! I put the box down, running my finger over the edge. It's funny what it takes to miss someone.
A packed funeral, endless sympathy cards, a reception full of murmuring voices, I could handle. But every time a box came from Maine, it broke my heart. My dad loved this stuff: he was a sucker for anything that claimed to make life simpler. This, mixed with a tendency to insomnia, was a lethal combination.
He'd be downstairs, going over contracts or firing off emails late into the night, with the TV on in the background, and then an infomercial would come on. He'd be sucked in immediately, first by the happy, forced banter between the host and the gadget designer, then by the demonstration, followed by the bonus gifts, just for ordering Right Now, by which point he was already digging out his credit card with one hand as he dialed with the other.
Never mind that the rest of us had long ago soured on EZ Products: my father was not dissuaded by our cynicism.
He loved thepotential , the possibility that there, in his eager hands, was the answer to one of life's questions. Not "Why are we here? But if the question was, "Does there exist a toothbrush that also functions as a mouthwash dispenser? Oh, yes. That was the thing about my dad. He could make anything seem like a good time.
I mean, most people wouldn't even think you could come up with something like this! My sister, the drama queen, could not even work up a good fake smile, instead just shaking her head and saying, "Oh, Dad, why do you download all that crap, anyway? She even tolerated the tissue dispenser he installed on the visor of her BMW Never risk an accident reaching for a Kleenex again!
When my dad died, we all reacted in different ways. My sister seemed to take on our cumulative emotional reaction: she cried so much she seemed to be shriveling right in front of our eyes. I sat quiet, silent, angry, refusing to grieve, because it seemed like to do so would be giving everyone what they wanted. My mother began to organize. Two days after the funeral, she was moving through the house with a buzzing intensity, the energy coming off of her palpable enough to set your teeth chattering.
I stood in my bedroom door, watching as she ripped through our linen closet, tossing out all the nubby washcloths and old twin sheets that fit beds we'd long ago given away. Nothing was safe. I came home from school one day to find that my closet had been organized, rifled through, clothes I hadn't worn in a while just gone. It was becoming clear to me that I shouldn't bother to get too attached to anything.
Turn your back and you lose it. Just like that. The EZ stuff was among the last to go. On a Saturday morning, about a week after the funeral, she was up at six a.
By nine, she'd emptied out most of the garage: the old treadmill, lawn chairs, and boxes of never-used Christmas ornaments. As much as I'd been worried about her as she went on this tear, I was even more concerned about what would happen when she was all done, and the only mess left was us.
I walked across the grass to the driveway, sidestepping a stack of unopened paint cans. A pink bike with a white seat, a broken plastic sled, some life jackets from the boat we'd sold years ago. None of it meant anything, and all of it was important. I had no idea what to take. Then I saw the EZ box. At the top, balled up and stuffed in the corner, was the self-heating hand towel my dad had considered a Miracle of Science only a few weeks earlier.
I picked it up carefully, squeezing the thin fabric between my fingers. A giraffe I vaguely remembered as belonging to my sister was poking out the top.
It's junk. The Goodwill guys showed up then, beeping the horn as they pulled into the driveway. My mother waved them in, then walked over to point out the various piles.
As they conferred, I wondered how many times a day they went to people's houses to take things away—if it was different when it was after a death, or if junk was junk, and they couldn't even tell. The two guys went over to the treadmill, each of them picking up an end.
They were making a last trip for the Christmas tree when one of them, a shorter guy with red hair, nodded toward the box at my feet. I was about to tell him yes. Then I looked down at the towel and the box with all the other crap in it, and remembered how excited my dad was when each of them arrived, how I could always hear him coming down the hallway, pausing by the dining room, the den, the kitchen, just looking for someone to share his new discovery with. I was always so happy when it was me.
There was a panel above the top shelf that opened up into the attic, and I slid it open and pushed the box into the darkness. With my dad gone, we had assumed our relationship with EZ Products was over. When my mother called to complain, the customer service person apologized profusely. Because of my father's high downloading volume, she explained, he had been bumped up to Gold Circle level, which meant that he received a new product every month to peruse, no obligation to download.
They'd take him off the list, absolutely, no problem.
But still the stuff kept coming, every month, just like clockwork, even after we canceled the credit card they had on file. I had my own theory on this, one I shared, like so much else, with no one. My dad had died the day after Christmas, when all the gifts had already been put into use or away. He'd given my mom a diamond bracelet, my sister a mountain bike, but when it was my turn, he'd given me a sweater, a couple of CDs, and an I.
More to come , it had said, and he'd nodded as I read the words, reassuring me. I would love it, because my dad justknew me, knew what made me happy. My mother claimed that when I was little I cried anytime my dad was out of my sight, that I was often inconsolable if anyone but he made my favorite meal, the bright orange macaroni-and-cheese mix they sold at the grocery store three for a dollar.
But it was more than just emotional stuff. Sometimes, I swear, it was like we were on the same wavelength. Even that last day, when he'd given up trying to rouse me from bed, I'd sat up those five minutes later as if something had summoned me. Maybe, by then, his chest was already hurting.
I'd never know. In those first few days after he was gone, I kept thinking back to that I. And even though I was pretty sure it wasn't an EZ Product, it felt strangely soothing when the things from Waterville, Maine, kept arriving, as though some part of him was still reaching out to me, keeping his promise.
So each time my mother tossed the boxes, I'd fish them out and bring them upstairs to add to my collection. I never used any of the products, choosing instead to just believe the breathless claims on the boxes. There were a lot of ways to remember my dad. But I thought he would have especially liked that. Chapter Two My mother had called me once "Macy, honey, people are starting to arrive" and then twice "Macy?
No matter how many times I swiped at it with my comb, it still didn't look right. Once, I didn't care so much about appearances. I had blonde hair that got lighter in the summer time, slightly green if I swam too much, which didn't bother me since I was a total track rat, the kind of girl to whom the word hairstyle was defined as always having a ponytail elastic on her wrist. I'd never cared about how my body or I looked—what mattered was what it could do and how fast it could go.
But part of my new perfect act was my appearance. If I wanted people to see me as calm and collected, together, I had to look the part. It took work. Now, my hair had to be just right, lying flat in all the right places. If my skin was not cooperating, I bargained with it, applying concealer and a slight layer of foundation, smoothing out all the red marks and dark circles. I could spend a full half hour getting the shadowing just right on my eyes, curling and recurling my eyelashes, making sure each was lifted and separated as the mascara wand moved over them, darkening, thickening.
I moisturized. I flossed. I stood up straight. I was fine. I pulled the comb through my hair, then stepped back from the mirror, letting it fall into the part again.
Finally: perfect. And just in time. When I came downstairs, my mother was standing by the door, greeting a couple who was just coming in with her selling smile: confident but not off-putting, welcoming but not kiss-ass. Like me, my mother put great stock in her appearance. In real estate, as in high school, it could make or break you. My mother always had these cocktail parties when she needed to sell, believing the best way to assure people she could build their dream house was to show off her own.
It was a good gimmick, even if it did mean having strangers traipsing through our downstairs. And if it looks like we're running low on brochures, go out and get another box from the garage. Please come in. I'm so glad you could make it! But part of selling was treating everyone like a familiar face.
Did you see that all the units come with two-car garages? You know, a lot of people don't even realize how much difference a heated garage can make. But when you had to do something, you had to do it. And eventually, if you were lucky, you did it well.
Queen Homes, which my dad had started right out of college as a one-man trim carpenter operation, already had a good business reputation when he met my mother. Actually, he hired her. She was fresh out of college with an accounting degree, and his finances were a shambles. She'd come in, waded through his paperwork and receipts many of which were on bar napkins and matchbooks , handled a close call with the IRS he'd "forgotten" about his taxes a few years earlier , and gotten him into the black again.
Somewhere in the midst of all of it, they fell in love. They were the perfect business team: he was all charm and fun and everyone's favorite guy to download a beer.
My mother was happy busying herself with file folders and The Bigger Picture. Together, they were unstoppable. Wildflower Ridge, our neighborhood, had been my mother's vision. They'd done small subdivisions and spec houses, but this would be an entire neighborhood, with houses and townhouses and apartments, a little business district, everything all enclosed and fitted around a common green space.
A return to communities, my mother had said. The wave of the future. My dad wasn't sold at first. But he was getting older, and his body was tired. This way he could move into a supervisory position and let someone else swing the hammers. So he agreed. Two months later, they were breaking ground on the first house: ours. They worked in tandem, my parents, meeting potential clients at the model home. My dad would run through the basic spiel, tweaking it depending on what sort of people they were: he played up his Southern charm for Northerners, talked NASCAR and barbeque with locals.
He was knowledgeable, trustworthy. Of course you wanted him to build your house. Hell, you wanted him to be your best friend. Then, the hard selling done, my mom would move in with the technical stuff like covenants, specifications, and prices.
The houses sold like crazy. It was everything my mother said it would be. Until it wasn't. I knew she blamed herself for his death, thought that maybe it was the added stress of Wildflower Ridge that taxed my dad's heart, and if she hadn't pushed him to expand so much everything would have been different.
This was our common ground, the secret we shared but never spoke aloud. I should have been with him; she should have left him alone. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. It's so easy in the past tense. But here in the present, my mother and I had no choice but to move ahead. We worked hard, me at school, her at outselling all the other builders. We parted our hair cleanly and stood up straight, greeting company—and the world—with the smiles we practiced in the quiet of our now-too-big dream house full of mirrors that showed the smiles back.
But under it all, our grief remained. Sometimes she took more of it, sometimes I did. But always, it was there. I'd just finished directing an irate woman with a red-wine stain on her shirt to the powder room—one of the catering staff had apparently bumped into her, splashing her cabernet across her outfit—when I noticed the stack of fliers on the foyer table was looking a bit low.
Grateful for any excuse to escape, I slipped outside. I went down the front walk, cutting around the caterer's van in the driveway. The sun had just gone down, the sky pink and orange behind the line of trees that separated us from the apartments one phase over.
Summer was just starting. Once that had meant early track practice and long afternoons at the pool perfecting my backflip. This summer, though, I was working. Patrons of the Lakeview Branch had gotten accustomed to him doing everything from finding that obscure book on Catherine the Great to fixing the library computers when they crashed. They loved him for the same reason I did: he had all the answers. He also had a cult following, particular-ly among his co-workers, who were both girls and both brilliant.
They'd never taken kindly to me as Jason's girlfriend, seeing as how, in their eyes, I wasn't even close to their intellectual level, much less his. I'd had a feeling that their acceptance of me as a sudden co-worker wouldn't be much warmer, and I was right. During my training, they snickered as he taught me the intricate ins and outs of the library search system, rolled their eyes in tandem when I asked a question about the card catalog.
Jason had hardly noticed, and when I pointed it out to him, he got impatient, as if I was wasting his time. That's not what you should be worrying about, he said. Not knowing how to reference the tri-county library database quickly in the event of a system crash: nowthat would be a problem. He was right, of course. He was always right. But I still wasn't looking forward to it. Once I got to the garage, I went to the shelves where my mom kept her work stuff, moving a stack of for sale and model open signs aside to pull out another box of fliers.
The front door of the house was open, and I could hear voices drifting over, party sounds, laughing, and glasses clinking. I hoisted up the box and cut off the overhead light. Then I headed back to the party and bathroom duty. I was passing the garbage cans when someone jumped out at me from the bushes. Say what you will, but you're never prepared for the surprise attack. It defines the very meaning of taking your breath away: I was gasping. For a second, it was very quiet.
A car drove by. Aren't I? He had a serving platter tucked under his arm. As he got closer he squinted, making me out in the semi-dark. Not me," he said. Now that he was right in front of me, I could see that he was tall and had brown hair that was a little bit too long. He was also strikingly handsome, with the sort of sculpted cheekbones and angular features that you couldn't help but notice, even if you did have a boyfriend.
To me he said, "You okay? My heart was still racing, but I was recovering. He stood there, studying the bush, then stuck his hand right into its center. A second later, he pulled another guy, this one shorter and chunkier but dressed identically, out through the foliage. He had the same dark eyes and hair, but looked younger. His face was bright red. He reached up and picked a pine needle out of his hair.
The older guy nudged him, then nodded toward the fliers. He started to pick them up, his fingers scratching the pavement, as the other guy walked a bit down the driveway, picking up the ones that had slid there. A second later the door swung open. She was pregnant, and was squinting out into the dark with a curious, although somewhat impatient, expression. He handed them to me. The more they drink, the less they'll notice how long the food is taking. The woman ran her hand over her belly, distracted, then looked back out into the dark.
She turned around, then stuck her head over the side of the rail. So get your butt in here, please, okay? Bert came out from under the deck, organizing the fliers he was holding into a stack, then handed them to me. He had a chubby face and a wide nose, and his hair was thick and too short, like it had been cut at home. He was watching me so intently, as if he wanted to be sure I understood, that it took me a second to look away. Then he backed up to the stairs and started up them quickly.
When he got to the top, he glanced back down at me. Although I had a feeling he meant it. And then he was gone. When I got inside, my mother was deep in some conversation about zoning with a couple of contractors. I refreshed the fliers, then directed a man who was a bit stumbly and holding a glass of wine he probably didn't need to the bathroom.
I was scanning the living room for stray empty glasses when there was a loud crash from the kitchen. Everything in the front of the house stopped. The very air. Or so it felt. My mother smiled her way across the room, then put a hand on the small of my back, easing me toward the foyer.
Could you go and convey that, please? Then I noticed that the floor was littered with small round objects, some at a standstill, some rolling slowly to the four corners of the room. A little girl in pigtails, who looked to be about two or three, was standing by the sink, fingers in her mouth and wide eyed as several of the marblelike objects moved past her. She sighed. Bert, now leafless and looking somewhat composed, breezed in carrying a tray filled with wadded-up napkins and empty glasses.
Take the cheese puffs and tell them we're traying the crab cakes up right now. He sidestepped her, heading for the counter, and, unhappy, she plopped down into a sitting position and promptly started wailing.
Where's Monica? Delia made an exasperated face. Find a broom and get up these meatballs… and we need to get some more of these cheese puffs in, and Bert needs… what else did you need? And Wes needs ice. Lucy, please, don't slobber on Mommy… And the ice is… oh, shit, I don't know where the ice is. Where did we put the bags we bought? She had long honey-blonde hair and was slouching as she ambled over to the oven. She pulled it open, a couple of inches at a time, then glanced inside before shutting it again and making her way over to the island, still moving at a snail's pace.
She started scooping up the meatballs into the dustpan as Monica made her way back to the oven, pausing entirely too long to pick up a pot holder on her way. It was quiet for a second, but something told me this was not my opening. I stayed put, scraping meatball off my shoe. Here I go. We need more servers, by the way. People are grabbing at me like you wouldn't believe. Putting down the dustpan, Delia moved to the island, grabbing a spatula, and began, with one hand, to load crab cakes onto the plate at lightning speed.
Just walk slowly andlook where you're going, and be careful with liquids, please God I'm begging you, okay? She picked up the tray, adjusted it on her hand, and headed off around the corner, taking her time. Delia watched her go, shaking her head, then turned her attention back to the meatballs, scooping the few remaining into the dustpan and chucking them into the garbage can.
Her daughter was still sniffling, and she was talking to her, softly, as she walked to a metal cart by the side door, pulling out a tray covered with Saran Wrap. As she crossed the room she balanced it precariously on her free hand, her walk becoming a slight waddle.
I had never seen anyone so in need of help in my life. Then she smiled. Who are you? This is my mom's house. I had a feeling she knew what was coming. I took a breath. And to convey that she's—" "Incredibly pissed," she finished for me, nodding. Delia glanced over at the door, just as the toddler started wailing again.
Actually, I was betting this was an understatement. I felt nervous enough just watching all this: I couldn't imagine being responsible for it. We know where we stand. Now things can only get better. Just then, the oven timer went off with a cheerfulbing! Can you answer a question? And repeat. After her second spill she'd been restricted to carrying only solids, a status further amended to just trash and empty glasses once she'd bumped into the banister and sent half a tray of cheese puffs down the front of some man's shirt.
You'd think moving slowly would make someone less accident prone. Clearly, Monica was bucking this logic. Frankly, Delia had astounded me. After acknowledging the hopelessness of her situation, she had immediately righted it, putting in two more trays of canapes, getting the ice from the cooler, and soothing her daughter to sleep, all in about three minutes.
Like her mantra of Oh-please-God-I'm-begging-you-okay; she just did all she could, and eventually something just worked. It was impressive. Delia rolled her eyes as I slid another tray into the oven. We are usually the model of professionalism and efficiency. Delia shot her a look. You know that feeling? You have no idea, I thought. Out loud I said, "Yeah. There you are! Behind her, Monica had finally cleared her tray and was dragging herself across the room, the tray bumping against her knee.
Delia must have sensed this, too, as she picked up a dish towel, wiping her hands, and turned to face my mother, a calm expression on her face.
You don't have to say anything more. I'd like to forgo your remaining balance in the hopes that you might consider us again for another one of your events. We're right here. Then he recognized me. Between Delia's heartfelt "sorry" and my exchange with Bert, I could see she was struggling to keep up. The foodis wonderful. When my mother left the kitchen, Delia came over, pot holder in hand, and took the tray as I slid it out of the oven. But you'd better go out there with your mom.
But you should go anyway. In her car seat, Lucy shifted slightly, mumbling to herself, then fell quiet again. I could always use someone who can take directions and walk in a straight line. But if for some reason you're craving chaos, call me. Bert stood by impatiently, waiting for his tray, while Delia asked Monica to God, please, try and pick up the pace a little, I'm begging you.
They'd forgotten about me already, it seemed. But for some reason, I wanted to answer her anyway. My mother locked the door behind him, took off her shoes, and, after kissing my forehead and thanking me, headed off to her office to assemble packets for people who had signed the yes!
Contacts were everything, I'd learned. You had to get to people fast, or they'd slip away. Thinking this, I went up to my room and checked my email.
At the very end, he said he was too tired to write more and he'd be in touch in a couple of days. Then just his name, no "love. Jason wasn't the type for displays of affection, either verbal or not.
He was disgusted by couples that made out in the hallways between classes, and got annoyed at even the slightest sappy moments in movies.
But I knew that he cared about me: he just conveyed it more subtly, as concise with expressing this emotion as he was with everything else.
It was in the way he'd put his hand on the small of my back, for instance, or how he'd smile at me when I said something that surprised him. Once I might have wanted more, but I'd come around to his way of thinking in the time we'd been together. And we were together, all the time. So he didn't have to do anything to prove how he felt about me.
Like so much else, I should just know. But thiswas the first time we were going to be apart for more than a weekend since we'd gotten together, and I was beginning to realize that the small reassurances I got in person would not transfer over to email. But he loved me, and I knew that. I'd just have to remember it now. After I logged off, I opened my window and crawled out onto the roof, sitting against one of the shutters with my knees pulled up to my chest.
I'd been out there for a little while, looking at the stars, when I heard voices coming up from the driveway. A car door shut, then another. Peering over the edge, I saw a few people moving around the Wish Catering van as they packed up the last of their things.
It's only a matter of time before it hits us. I mean, they don't talk about these things on the news. But that doesn't mean it's nothappening. I recognized his voice, a bit high-pitched and anxious, before I made him out, standing by the back of the van. He was talking to someone who was sitting on the bumper smoking a cigarette, the tip of which was bright and red in the murky dark.
Had to be Monica. I'd hardly seen him that night, as he'd worked the bar in the den. Just because you prefer to stay in the dark—" "Are we ready to go? She had the car seat dangling from one hand, and Wes walked up and took it from her. From where I was sitting, I could make out clearly the top of his head, the white of his shirt. Then, as if sensing this, he leaned his head back, glancing up.
I slid back against the wall. Probably should bother me, but frankly, I'm too pregnant and exhausted to care. Who has the keys? I've had my permit for a year! I'm taking the test in a week! And I have to have some more practice before I get the Bertmobile. But it's been a long night and right now I just want to get home, okay? Next time, it's all you. But for now, just let your brother drive.
Someone coughed. I leaned back over to see Wes and Bert still standing at the back of the van. Bert was kicking at the ground, clearly sulking, while Wes stood by impassively. Now I knew for sure that they were brothers. They looked even more alike to me, although the similarities—skin tone, dark hair, dark eyes—were distributed on starkly different builds. Even lazy Monotone got to last week, but never me. But don't push this issue now, man. It's late. Wes followed him, clapping a hand on his back.
I froze. Her dad—" I waited. I knew what was coming, but still, I had to hear the words that would follow. The ones that defined me, set me apart. He stood there for a second, taking a final look around, before climbing in and shutting the door behind him. I had to admit, I was surprised. I'd gotten so used to being known as the girl whose dad died, I sometimes forgot that I'd had a life before that. I moved back into the shadows by my window as the engine started up and the van bumped down the driveway, brake lights flashing as it turned out onto the street.
There was a big wishbone painted on the side, thick black paint strokes, and from a distance it looked like a Chinese character, striking even if you didn't know, really, what it meant. I kept my eye on it, following it down through the neighborhood, over the hill, down to the stop sign, until it was gone. Chapter Three I couldn't sleep. I was starting my job at the library the next day, and I had that night-before-the-first-day-of-school feeling, all jumpy and nervous.
But then again, I'd never been much of a sleeper. That was the weird thing about that morning when my dad came in to get me. I'd been out. Sound asleep. Since then, I had almost a fear of sleeping, sure that something bad would happen if I ever allowed myself to be fully unconscious, even for a second. As a result, I only allowed myself to barely doze off.
When I did sleep enough to dream, it was always about running. My dad loved to run. He'd had me and my sister doing it from a young age with the Lakeview Zips, and later he was always dragging us to the 5Ks he ran, signing us up for the kids' division. I remember my first race, when I was six, standing there at the starting line a few rows back, with nothing at my eye level but shoulders and necks.
I was short for my age, and Caroline had of course pushed her way to the front, stating clearly that at ten-almost-eleven, she didn't belong in back with the babies.
The starting gun popped and everyone pushed forward, the thumping of sneakers against asphalt suddenly deafening, and at first it was like I was carried along with it, my feet seeming hardly to touch the ground. The people on the sides of the street were a blur, faces blowing by: all I could focus on was the ponytail of the girl in front of me, tied with a blue grosgrain ribbon. Some big boy bumped me hard from the back, passing, and I had a cramp in my side by the second length, but then I heard my dad.
Good girl! Keep it up, you're doing great! I knew even before I started to pass the bigger kids in the first length, even before I won my first race, then every race. By then it was just me running. My sister had lost interest around seventh grade, when she discovered her best event was not, as we'd all thought, the hundred meters, but in fact flirting with the boy's track team afterwards. She still liked to run, but didn't much see the point anymore if she didn't have someone chasing after her.
So it was me and my dad who went to meets, who woke up early to do our standard five-mile loop, who compared T-band strains and bad-knee horror stories over icepacks and PowerBars on Saturday mornings. It was the best thing we had in common, the one part of him that was all mine. Which was why, that morning, I should have been with him. From that morning on, running changed for me. It didn't matter how good my times were, what records I'd planned to break just days before.
There was one time I would never beat, so I quit. By altering the familiar route that took me past the intersection of Willow and McKinley whenever I went out, and loop-ing one extra block instead, I'd been able to avoid the place where everything had happened: it was that easy, really, to never drive past it again.
My friends from the track team were a bit harder. They'd stuck close to me, loyal, at the funeral and the days afterwards, and while they were disappointed when the coach told them I'd quit, they were even more hurt when I started to avoid them in the halls. Nobody seemed to understand that the only person I could count on not to bring up my dad, not to feel sorry for me, or make The Face—other than my mother—was me.