Title: The Next Forever
Author: Lisa Burstein
Release Date: January 13, 2013
Published by: Entangled Publishing (Ever After)
Source: An e-copy was sent by the publisher in exchange of an honest review
One night in college can change everything…THOUGHTS:
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.
If you've read Pretty Amy (and I do recommend that you read it before delving into The Next Forever), you might have a slight idea of what to expect from this novella. Don't let the gorgeous cover fool you - just like Pretty Amy, The Next Forever is intense, full of gritty, emotional scenes and stark self-realizations. Burstein's writing is as strong as ever as she explores the next chapter of Amy's life, and Joe's as well. Amy got her happy-ever-after with Joe, but exactly what happens after that?
The novella reintroduces us to Amy and Joe, still romantically involved, and currently attending the same college. From the get go, it's rather apparent that their lives now pretty much revolve around each other, which in turn is similar to how Amy's life used to revolve around her high school best friends. Likewise, we also learn that Amy is very strict on herself when it comes to vices, as she is desperate not to revert to the person she once was. This was an interesting change of pace for those who have read Pretty Amy - in the aforementioned book, Amy was rebellious in the sense that she drank and smoked regularly, and this Amy was incredibly different from that Amy. She's not as brash as she once was, and this Amy was very quiet, very timid, even. It also didn't escape my attention that she seems lonelier than ever.
Unlike Pretty Amy, The Next Forever is told in alternating POVs. From the previous novel, readers never really got the chance to know the character of Joe, but this novella remedies that. Joe's POV enriches the novel as we finally get the chance to see what's on his mind, and I love that we are able to view the exact, same scenes from both characters' perspectives. We realize that despite of the fact that Joe loves Amy very much, he needs something for himself - something he can call his own. He misses who he was in high school, and he wants that Joe back. The same goes for Amy - other than Joe, she has no friends, and she's starting to feel like she doesn't know who she is anymore. We then come to the heart of the novel - are Amy and Joe ready to commit themselves to each other without losing who they are in the process? The Next Forever explores the happenings of one night - a night wherein Amy and Joe go off by themselves and see the world of college in a different light.
This is only the second of Lisa Burstein's work that I've read, and I have no qualms in saying that I'm a fan of hers. Her writing completely draws you in and places you deep inside the recesses of the minds of her characters with no problem whatsoever. Moreover, both Amy and Joe achieve so much character growth throughout the novella, and being the emotionally-attached reader that I am, I just felt so proud of them. There aren't a lot of authors who explore just what happens to the characters after riding merrily into the sunset, and I'm ecstatic that Burstein gave her readers this chance to be able to know what happens to Amy and Joe after the events of Pretty Amy.
Rating: 4 Stars