Always, Forever

Always, Forever

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by Nancy Ohlin

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Nothing is as it seems in this darkly romantic tale of infatuation and possession, inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.

Becca was the perfect girlfriend: smart, gorgeous, and loved by everyone at New England’s premier boarding school, Thorn Abbey. But Becca’s dead. And her boyfriend, Max, can’t get over his loss.


Nothing is as it seems in this darkly romantic tale of infatuation and possession, inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.

Becca was the perfect girlfriend: smart, gorgeous, and loved by everyone at New England’s premier boarding school, Thorn Abbey. But Becca’s dead. And her boyfriend, Max, can’t get over his loss.

Then Tess transfers to Thorn Abbey. She’s shy, insecure, and ordinary—everything that Becca wasn’t. And despite her roommate’s warnings, she falls for brooding Max.

Now Max finally has a reason to move on. Except it won’t be easy. Because Becca may be gone, but she’s not quite ready to let him go…

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Tess knows that her transition to the elite preparatory school Thorn Abbey will be challenging, but when she falls for the mysterious and tortured Max, everything becomes hauntingly more difficult. Tess, while shy and bookish, seems determined to find her way in her new school. However, her indomitable spirit is quickly shanghaied by an overwhelming obsession with the handsome and moody Max. Very little digging is required to unearth the terrible tragedy that haunts Max: the death of his girlfriend, Becca. Tess' roommate, Devon, reveals that Becca was also her old roommate. Rather than seeing this as a bad omen, Tess seems to find the coincidence fortuitous. Devon's repeated warnings, Max's own rejections and even ghostly attacks cannot dissuade Tess from her objective: to claim Max as her own. The acknowledgments claim Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca as the book's inspiration. However, other than a few minor plot points, Ohlin's story bears little resemblance to the classic work, both in its content and its execution. Tess is more oblivious than tragic, and Max reads as shady rather than mysterious. Add in the stock secondary characters, and the resultant tale is little more than a watered-down ghost of the Hitchcock-worthy mystery. Not classic. (Suspense. 14 & up)

Product Details

Simon Pulse
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2 MB
Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt


“TESS, THIS IS DEVON MCCAIN. SHE’LL BE YOUR ROOMMATE. Devon, this is Tess Szekeres. She’s a sophomore.”

The house counselor, Mrs. Frith, moves aside as she makes the introductions and waves me into my new room. I enter, hesitating in the doorway as two enormous emerald eyes size me up.

“Hi, Tess! Welcome to Thorn Abbey!” Devon steps forward and gives me a quick, fierce hug. She is tall, maybe five ten, and reminds me of an Amazon warrior. Her long, silky black hair looks striking against her crisp white blouse and plaid school jumper.

“I’ll leave you to unpack and get settled,” Mrs. Frith says to me. “Devon is a junior. From Boston. She’s been here since ninth grade, so she can fill you in on anything you need to know.”

“Yeah, like all the best places on campus to get high and make out,” Devon says merrily.

My cheeks grow hot as I wait for Mrs. Frith to start yelling or give Devon a detention or something. But instead, she laughs. “Good one, Devon. Don’t forget the Welcome Tea at four, in the downstairs parlors. See you girls then.”

“Lipton’s and stale scones. Can’t wait.” Devon closes the door after Mrs. Frith and turns to me with a dazzling smile. She has perfect teeth—braces, obviously—and I instinctively clamp my mouth shut. “I thought she’d never leave. Come on, show me the clothes you brought. I saved you the good closet.”

“Um, thanks. I didn’t bring . . . that is, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to . . .”

My voice drifts as I picture my wardrobe, Old Navy circa 2010, folded neatly in my one suitcase. I glance around the room, which is so much bigger than my own at home. Devon, who must have arrived on the early side of check-in, has already taken possession of her half. She’s hung framed posters on the yellow-rose wallpaper: a Vogue cover from the sixties, an ad for a German production of the opera Aida, and photos of Billie Holiday and Amy Winehouse. Her desk is cluttered with makeup, tampons, an iPod, a white laptop, and what look like birth control pills. There is a purple silk quilt on her bed that looks impossibly glamorous.

Devon plops down on the quilt and kicks off her ballerina flats. She grabs a bottle of nail polish from her nightstand and starts painting her toenails. The way she is sitting, I can just make out a tattoo on her left thigh—a flower?—and a sliver of her black lace panties. I look away.

“Soooo. What is that, Greek?” she asks me.


“Your name. Sounds Greek.”

“Actually, it’s Hungarian. My family’s a mix of Hungarian, Swedish, Chinese, Dutch, and a few other things.”

“Wow. Mine are, like, straight Irish American. My dad’s ancestors were potato farmers from Galway. My nana on my mom’s side was an opera singer from Dublin. I’m boring, compared to you.”

“I don’t think so.” I can’t imagine Devon ever being boring.

“Where did you transfer from?”

“You mean, what school? Avery Park.”

“Never heard of it. Oh my God, is that one of those hippie prep schools where you grow organic vegetables and worship Gaia the earth goddess?”

“No, it’s just a regular high school. Like a normal public school. It’s in Avery Park, New York, near Albany.”

“Oh?” Devon raises one eyebrow. “Well, you’re going to love it here. Private school is soooo much better than public school.”

“I know. That’s why my mom made me apply, because my classes weren’t challenging enough and because—”

Devon shakes her head. “No, you idiot, not the classes! I meant the other stuff. You can get away with anything in private school.”

I stare at her. I’m not sure what to say.

“You have a lot to learn, Young Apprentice,” Devon says, smiling her dazzling smile again “Unpack your crap, then I’ll take you on the unofficial tour.”

Meet the Author

Nancy Ohlin is the author of Consent; Always, Forever; and Beauty. Born in Tokyo, Japan, Nancy divided her time between there and Ohio. She received a BA in English from the University of Chicago, and she lives in Ithaca, New York, with her family. Learn more at

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