Publication Date: October 10, 2012
In Forever Me by Thomas Amo, Hannah is known as “PJ” (Plain Jane) to the in-crowd group known as the Stilettos until she helps one of them. When she starts hanging around with the girl she helped, her friends see her as turning her back on them and leave her. Enter a new Hannah and new friends — the sort of girls that no one thinks should have anything to do with each other. Can they contend with the Shelby, the leader of the Stilettos, who feels she’s been robbed of what belongs to her? To add to the confusion, a killer is on the loose. Can Hannah escape high school alive?
This week is Bullying Prevention and Awareness Week in Canada. Bullying is an incredibly hot topic at the moment in movies, television and literature — and rightfully so. Kids are killing themselves when they fail to fit in or they internalize the taunts of people they think of as cool. As a reader, I found this book rife with stereotypes and predictable plot twists but if one girl picks up this novel and heeds the message of girl power, it has done its job.
I have a young girl, so I have been inundated with the anti-bullying mantras of the day which led to the feeling that Mr. Amo’s work was more or less run of the mill. Shelby, head of the Stilettos, was pure comic book character and led to the recollection of a number of books I’d read and movies I’d seen with similar characters that are just the worst that humanity has to offer. Evil, arrogant, cowardly and crazy, Shelby does not hold any surprises even to the last page of the novel. She is what young girls see their nemesis to be — completely evil. This is why stereotypes exist because scratching under the surface is simply too difficult or unpalatable to people so we refer back to what we think we know.
Certain aspects of Forever Me would lead me to flag it as suitable for older children. There are scenes of sexual torture. I wouldn’t dare list an age for which that’s suitable, as all children are different but I think it would be several years before I introduced this novel to my now-10-year-old.
Overall, this was not a novel that I enjoyed. I do think that there are aspects that teenagers might enjoy. Despite the length, Forever Me was a fairly quick read. Thomas Amo’s biography cites that he has written for the stage and, to me, this does read as something that was maybe intended to be adapted to the big screen. Change a few things and it would actually be a good cross between the classic Heathers and the more recent Mean Girls.
Mr. Amo, along with Forever Me, has authored a series of paranormal fiction novels. I have purchased another novel by Amo called Let’s Get Lade which appears to be a retro, Hollywood, romp and just my speed. I will review that novel soon.
Read an excerpt and buy Forever Me by Thomas Amo on