Jul 8, 2015

Book Chat: Forever For A Year by B.T. Gottfred

Disclaimer: This book chat will have spoilers of FOREVER FOR A YEAR by B.T. Gottfred. 

I considered writing this as a review, but I can't. There's just too much I need to cover and this is less a review on a book and more my thoughts/commentary on this ... thing. FOREVER FOR A YEAR consumed my life for the better part of 2 weeks last month.

It was all I thought about. I read and re-read it. This book even inspired a new term:
  1. Bookholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages/readers express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors/book, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors/book.*

To truly understand what happened, let's go back a few months. The season is winter and I have just received a copy of FOREVER FOR A YEAR, a debut novel by B.T. Goottfred, from Macmillan. The cover intrigued me. The premise intrigued me. I thought, Yes. This sounds awesome and real because teens fall in love and think it will be forever, but sometimes forever only lasts a year.

When Carolina and Trevor meet on their first day of school, something draws them to each other.  They gradually share first kisses, first touches, first sexual experiences.  When they’re together, nothing else matters. But one of them will make a choice, and the other a mistake, that will break what they thought was unbreakable. Both will wish that they could fall in love again for the first time . . . but first love, by definition, can’t happen twice.
Told in Carolina and Trevor's alternating voices, this is an up-close-and-personal story of two teenagers falling in love for the first time, and discovering it might not last forever.

But sadly, the book went onto my ARC shelf and lingered, forgotten for months, until right after BEA when the first ever YADC Book Party occurred -  I invited friends over to come and take some of my excess books. Prior to BP, I was going through books and would randomly flip to a page and read it to see if it was something I would read (and review) or needed a new home.

When I stumbled up FFAY, the first page I saw was this:

I think my exact reaction was

Because, seriously, what the actual hell? It went in the Not-For-Me pile and down to the basement where one of my friends picked it up. But while we were sitting around chatting, this book came up in conversation and it was fished out and random parts read by Stephanie (No BS Book Reviews) and myself.

Which I filmed. And turned into this video.

After that, I realized I had to read this book. There were so many unanswered questions - how is Carolina's name pronounced? What went wrong? Is this book really that bad the entire time?! In short, yes. Yes it is.

Let's start with Carolina and the fact that no one knows how to pronounce her name. Thankfully, she explains:

B.T. Gottfred also seems to have a small obsession with teenage girls boobs. They're referenced and detailed. Often. Which is a little creepy.

Think that's all?

Oh, honey. We're just warming up. If you need to grab a snack and a beverage, go on. This will be here when you get back.

So to give you a quick back story, Caroline and Trevor are freshmen. In high school. Trevor is a year older - he's repeating his freshman year. See, his mom had an ... incident last year, which he used as an excuse to stay home and watch her play video games for a year. But he's adjusted to what happened last year. And his mom is totally fine.

Yeah. Son of the Year contender right there, folks!

But let's talk about the parentals of FOREVER FOR A YEAR. Because the parents are easily as messed up (maybe moreso) than the teens. In fact, the only sane one is Lily, and she's 7.

Carolina's mom is a bit concerned about their relationship:

While her dad thinks Carolina should be less serious about school, kissing boys she's known for a week, and wearing lots of makeup.

Trevor's dad is a workaholic and not around much. He does apparently let Trevor drive his BMW unchaperoned while only having a lerner's permit, which Trevor promptly crashes into the garage because he's texting and driving. With Lily in the car.

And then we have Trevor's mom. Trevor and his mom have a relationship built on mutual indifference and over-sharing.

So we have the ground work for absolute and utter disaster.

But ultimately this is a book about 2 crazy kids falling in love. In a week. Did I mention they meet in Biology? *cough*Twilight*cough*

And fall in love they do. 

Their love progresses (as teen love does) to a more ... physical nature throughout the first half of the book.

Um ....

They hit a few bumps in the road which I think Trevor handles really well.

FOREVER FOR A YEAR also touches on subjects like why sex education should be mandated. Everywhere. For everyone.

And also sexual assault. And why "no" really means "yes" when you're in love and the other person knows you. Because your words aren't good enough.

Also? Why it's important for kids to be raised with a mom and a dad. 

Had enough yet? But we're only halfway done the book! There is a pregnancy scare. For an entire day and a night. Because these kids can't seem to figure out what a condom is even when Trevor's mom gifts them with a box.

Then comes the breakup. Because forever only lasts for a year, you know. Turns out Carolina's dad and Trevor's mom knew each other back in the day and have decided cheating on their spouses with their kids' parent is a smart move. And they're busted by said kids. Trevor actually knew what was happening and didn't tell Carolina. Which she takes remarkably well (she blows off Trevor and goes out with an upper classman who sexually assaults her in his car). Trevor finds out and blows up and fights the guy.

Yes, we are still reading FOREVER FOR A YEAR. We haven't switched to THE OUTSIDERS or WEST SIDE STORY.

At the end of the book Carolina and Trevor come to an adult conclusion about their relationship. They will always love each other. Even if ... Even if ... Even if they never kiss again.

So that was FOREVER FOR A YEAR. Any questions?

This book consumed me for 2 weeks. I cannot explain it, but I carried this book everywhere - work, home, dinner ... It went everywhere because I couldn't stop telling people about it.

And now I'm telling you.

You're welcome.

*Parts of definition used from wikipedia definition of Stockholm syndrome
**Photos were taken of an ARC copy and may change in the finished copy**


  1. So so so bad, but I totally get why it consumed you for 2 weeks. You can't help but watch the train wreck.

    Thank goodness I passed HARD on this one.

    I really do weep for humanity. o_O

  2. Holy shit. Um...I can't even. (But I can odd.) Better you than me, girl!

  3. the "I just threw up in my mouth a little" I think sums up my feelings on just the snapshots of this book! its like you've done a community service act reporting on this one.

  4. Oh MY GOD. Don't you just ever want to be a fly on an editor's wall when they're on the phone with the author discussing edits? I know I do.

  5. Goodness! I saw Steph's video when she read it, but it was clearly worse than that! I'm not sure how it got published and thank you for your insight!

  6. Um...this reminds me of that book we did this to at BEA??? So bad it's ridiculous.

  7. I just finished this book and your post is everything. I couldn't stop laughing while reading it! The characters internal monologues were annoying and all the detailed sex stuff was just...too much. It made me extremely uncomfortable and I learned more from this book than I did in health class lol! I get he was trying to be real but...just no. For some reason I couldn't stop reading it though and I think I enjoyed it because it was so amusing?! I'm in high school, though, and no one, NO ONE acts like that. At least me nor my friends do or did. But like I said, I kind of liked it in that weird way when you know a book is bad, but... (minus all the internal squealing, whining, and TMI regarding sex stuff). Definitely haven't read anything like that before! Great post, Hannah! :D

    Emily @ Books & Cleverness

  8. Wow! Okay, so I was considering going to a release party for this book and thought I'd check it out first to see what people thought. I was kind of shocked at how low the overall Goodreads rating was - and then I saw your review. Um. Wow. Thank you for saving me from having to face this author in real life and talk to him about his book.

    Hmmm... wonder if they'll do any readings. I'll let Steph know if they need any guest readers. :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  9. I had the pleasure of cataloging this book today. I just spent about 30 minutes at my desk flipping through every gory detail.


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