“Always and forever” describes the relationship between high school sweethearts Meredith “Middie” Daniels, a senior, and the handsome, newly graduated Nate.
Their life together is predictably planned: “College, engagement, med school, marriage, family…” until a devastating event throws Middie’s world into utter confusion. Nate’s year abroad working with a nonprofit organization in Honduras goes horribly wrong when his village is raided by rebels, and Nate has apparently been captured or killed. Although she’s devastated by the apparent death of her first love, Middie also feels free to explore a new relationship with Nate’s best friend, the grumpy but charismatic Lee, who shows her an excitingly unconventional life involving skipping school, skinny-dipping, and fast motorbikes. The contrast between Lee and Nate forces Middie to confront her true self and choose between the comfortable predictability she thought she always wanted and the spontaneous freedom Lee offers. Her relationships with her school friends and family are delicately delineated with an authentic touch that teen readers (male and female) will find convincing. The real-life drama told in Middie’s voice artfully weaves a complicated personal story of rebellion and personal growth as she figures out what is really important to her and what love really means.
A touching coming-of-age romance. (Fiction. 14-18)