Next Forever by Lisa Burstein. A new adult novella from Entangled's Embrace imprint...
**Recommended for ages 17+ due to sexual content and language, mature subject matter**
One night in college can change everything…
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—where 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.
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The Next Forever
By Lisa Burstein, Stacy Abrams
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2013 Lisa Burstein
All rights reserved.
"So is that a yes or a no?" Joe asked, a smile struggling to come to his lips — sunshine fighting through heavy gray clouds. He had just asked me to move in with him starting fall semester. I should have smacked my dining hall tray from the table and climbed across it to kiss him like we were on a plane going down, but all I could do was stare at my tray and run the tines of my fork over my uneaten mashed potatoes.
Part of me did want to reach for him, but something else was keeping me in my seat, playing with my stupid mashed potatoes like a child.
"Sure," I said, because I was afraid to say anything else. I didn't want to hurt him, and what I really wanted to say, I don't know, would have.
He sighed so hard it could have blown me over. He didn't believe me. He knew me too well to believe me.
"We're back to this," Joe said.
"What?" I asked, trying to pretend I didn't know what he was talking about.
Joe shook his head. "You're doing it again."
The thing that had made him write me off our sophomore year in high school. The thing that got me arrested — as in, might go to jail — two years later.
"Amy," he said, his hazel eyes glued on my tray as he assumed I was ignoring him. But I wasn't. I was pausing him, pausing myself. Trying to keep us in the perfect place we had been before we got to college.
When he was my hero and I was a girl who needed one.
When I knew he was real, true, and mine.
He still was, obviously, but now when I thought about us, my head felt like the mushed-up mashed potatoes on my plate.
He took a bite of his burger, a few crumbs from the bun falling on his navy blue polo. A month ago, I might have wiped them away. A week ago, I might have.
Now, I watched them pile up like snowflakes. Now, I wondered if anyone else in the dining hall would tell him. I wondered why I didn't bother to tell him.
Maybe because now we were more than friends, it also meant we were less. As the friends we used to be, I would have been able to talk to Joe about the guy in my life who had unexpectedly asked me to move in with him. But now that he was that guy in my life, I was too afraid to.
Joe put his burger on the plate and put his hand on mine, stopping the design I was making in my mashed potatoes: four perfect lines, over and over again on top of one another, till they weren't perfect anymore.
"It's okay," he said. "We can talk about it later. Forget I asked." His hand was there, blanketed on top of mine, just like it had been the first time we kissed. The first time I knew he was the only one I could count on. I let myself feel the pause. Be the girl who needed rescuing, even if I wasn't sure I was anymore.
We were at college an hour away from our small suburb of Collinsville, New York. The town we grew up in, the town SUNY Geneseo was supposed to let us leave behind, but with Joe sitting across from me at every meal, standing next to me at every party, walking with me to most classes and sleeping in my bed every night, it was hard to leave Collinsville behind.
It made me wonder if I really wanted to.
And now he'd asked me to move in with him. If I said yes, no matter how much I wanted to be able to, there was no going back. This was a problem, because I already felt myself wanting to turn into the girl I used to be. The girl he was talking to when he said, You're doing it again.
Maybe that girl would always be there.
I picked up his hand and kissed it, sealing that time and space. Making it a place I could return to and remember if things between us got bad, like I feared they might.
I went back to my mashed potatoes, determined to flatten them, to cover every inch of my plate with them.
"Are you mad?" he asked. Joe knew that even though I had just kissed him, there was something else there. I couldn't hide from him, just like he couldn't hide from me.
His hands started to shake as he waited for my answer. He gripped the table, trying to make them stop. They weren't shaking because he was upset. That was just what they did. That was his thing he might never be able to leave behind.
I watched him, his eyes looking through me the way they could because he'd known me for so long, as close to forever as I could count. "No," I said, staring at his eyelashes, enviably long.
"Are you happy?" he asked, assuming that if I wasn't angry I must be happy. Even-tempered Joe, the Joe I loved. The Joe I wished I could crawl into a glass bottle with like a boat, so we could spend forever corked off from everyone.
Everyone — especially the boy who seemed determined to smash that bottle to pieces. Trevor.
I looked past Joe's head, his brown hair that always reminded me of the shelves in a pantry, a color that makes you feel comfortable and full. I let the sound of the dining hall fill my ears. Trevor sat alone at his table, strumming on a black electric guitar and making notes on a pad.
Trevor's blond hair fell in his face and he pushed his bangs back, showing off a wrist covered with leather cuffs.
I felt my mouth open, like I was trying to talk to Trevor in the same way he was trying to make music with his guitar — with no sound coming out.
Trevor usually worked behind the food line in the dining hall, wearing a funny paper hat that I could tell he wanted to light on fire at first opportunity, but that night he sat alone just strumming on his guitar. I was surprised he was even in here, but I guess a guy had to eat.
I knew his name because he usually wore a name tag along with his paper hat. I'd noticed him because I saw him putting uneaten rolls in his pockets when he cleaned up the tray bin. I'd figured they were for him, but then one day I saw him using them to feed the seagulls that hung around like groupies near the Dumpsters.
As dumb as it was, that was all it took. Well, and the fact that he looked like a naughty girl's wet dream. I liked him, more than a girl with a boyfriend should like anyone.
"You want to go to the library tonight?" Joe asked.
"Um," I said, stalling. I didn't want to go to the library. I was doing fine in my classes — sure, they were a potpourri of humanities, but I was doing fine in them. I didn't need to go to the library, not like Joe did. He was pre-law, which, given my delinquent history, should have bothered me a lot more than it did. But Joe relished his classes. I knew he would make a great lawyer. He was so honest and fair and normal.
So everything I was not.
"You don't have to come," he said. He was trying to hide it, but I could hear him sighing again.
"It's just ... It's Friday night," I said.
He looked down, noticed the crumbs on his shirt, and wiped them off. "Well, what do you want to do?" He smiled his Joe smile, the one that turned my stomach to melty goo.
Made me want to leave the bad girl I used to be behind.
He touched my forearm, waiting for my answer. I sensed the familiar heat that could make me forget being the bad girl and make me want to just be bad.
"Maybe you should skip the library," I whispered, leaning over my tray, my face inches from his.
"I could come over later," he said, his smile still there.
He said this every day. Usually I responded yes, because I wanted to say yes. I'd gotten a room without a roommate just so I could say yes. So I could scream it in the dark with my chin perched on his naked shoulder.
But he was putting me off, as close to rejecting me as I knew Joe could stand. I deserved it for the way I'd responded when he asked me to move in with him, but I also couldn't shake the feeling that maybe it was time for me to say yes to something else.
"If I'm around," I said, testing him.
"Where else would you be?" he asked, his chair screeching as he rose. He came around to my side of the table, his tray held out in front of him. He kissed me good-bye, lightly, lingering on my lower lip.
I wished I could pause that moment, too, but he was gone from the table before my eyes were open.
I watched him walk his tray up to the bin, letting two girls wearing Crew sweatshirts go in front of him because that was what Joe did. He was good; he was nice.
He really thought he'd fixed me.
* * *
I wasn't really going to the library. I knew Amy well enough to know she would say no when I asked.
I needed her to say no.
Asking her to move in with me had been a different story. It was a really stupid thing to ask, but fear and anxiety had gotten the better of me. I knew if things went as planned tonight, everything would be different tomorrow.
I guess I wanted to do my best to be sure we wouldn't be.
I went over my introduction in my head as I made my way across campus to the TKE house, the sunset dripping among the leaves on the trees like melting sherbet.
My name is Joe Wright. I'm a freshman, pre-law. I like volleyball and Madden Football and I have a girlfriend.
I was still deciding whether I should leave out that last part. Mentioning her could make it seem like I was pussy-whipped. Even if I did sort of feel like I was sometimes, it wasn't something I wanted to readily admit, especially to another guy.
Especially another guy I was trying to show off my guyness to. A room full of potential frat brothers I was trying to show off my guyness to.
Amy would have hated that I was rushing a fraternity. That was why I had to lie. She couldn't have thought too highly of them, considering what she said about sororities — that they were clubs for all the bitches from high school to teach them to be bigger bitches. I guess she would have said that frats were clubs for all the jocks from high school to teach them to be bigger jocks.
But I'd liked being a jock in high school — playing volleyball with my friends, having my hands do what I told them to was never a bad thing. I'd liked a lot of things before I'd liked Amy.
I missed those things. I was hoping that joining a frat might let me have some of them back. Besides, if I didn't start getting some quality guy time, I was afraid I might start growing boobs.
But I also really do like Amy. Love her. We had a history together. A long one. Growing up across the street from each other will do that.
Asking her to move in with me had been my insurance policy. I should have known it would scare the crap out of her, though. I mean, it scared the crap out of me. When the words had left my mouth, they didn't even sound like I was saying them. I regretted it immediately, not just because of her face, but also because if she'd said yes, I would have to do it.
I wasn't sure I wanted to do it. I just didn't want to lose her. With what I was about to do, I easily could.
Amy was always a friend and nothing more until prom night, but seeing her strapless dress, her bare shoulders, her clean gray eyes had stunned me. Changed me. It was scary to think it was only a few months ago. Scarier to think that it seemed like she wanted to turn back into the girl she was before that night.
I would never let that happen again. Hopefully I would have time to deal with that later, tomorrow.
Hopefully I hadn't ruined everything already.
I stood on the porch of the frat house. It was huge, white, and the lights on inside made it look as though it were lit up like a birthday cake.
I didn't want to think about Amy hating me for doing this, so instead I thought about her shoulders, how seeing them so soft and freckled wrecked me like nothing else. A couple guys came up behind me and I remembered I'd been standing on the porch with my hands in my pockets.
I heard them laughing. They knew each other, must have walked over together. They were trying their best to drink the cans of beer in their hands and pockets before they got inside.
"Hey, you want one? If I drink any more, I'm going to piss myself."
I turned and found two guys dressed just like I was: khakis, sneakers, and polo shirts — one red and one light blue. It was an unwritten rule during rush that you dressed up. This was clearly as dressed up as any guy was willing to get without a girl making him.
"Sure," I said, thankful to have a little bit of liquid courage in my stomach before I walked in.
The one in red passed it over. His friend in light blue stood next to him watching, like he was waiting for me to open it to make sure I wasn't a narc or something. Considering we were all dressed like narcs, I wasn't sure why he was so suspicious.
I popped it open, the familiar hiss of good times.
They both held up their beers, and the guy in red said, "To TKE, hot girls, and minimal scarring."
I laughed and took a long drink. It felt good to laugh, felt good to drink.
"Is TKE your first choice?" I asked.
"Hell yeah," Red Shirt said.
"You'd have to be a total ass-bag for it not to be," Light Blue said.
I was glad at least I wasn't a total ass-bag.
"Well, I hope we all make it, then," I said.
"They only take twenty percent of the rush class," Red Shirt said.
"They'd have to be total ass-bags not to take us," Light Blue said. "Not that I know you," he said, pointing, "so I can't say for sure, but I don't think you're an ass-bag." He was definitely drunk, but not the kind of drunk that you didn't want to hang around.
We all laughed. These guys were cool. Just like any other guys wanting to have fun on a Friday night, like I was. They weren't total dicks because they wanted to join a frat. It made me wonder if maybe Amy had other reasons for wanting me to join one.
"We'd better finish these up before they come out here and kick our asses for drinking on their porch," Red Shirt said.
"I can take 'em," Light Blue said.
I laughed and sucked down my beer. Maybe lying to Amy had been the right decision.CHAPTER 2
I headed back to my dorm, walking along the cement path from the dining hall. After dinner usually meant Frisbee on the lawn out front, studying in the lounge inside, getting ready to go out and pretend you're having fun if you were rushing a sorority or fraternity, or getting ready to go out and really have fun if you had a fake ID or knew somewhere to go where you didn't need one.
Since Joe was at the library — even lamer than studying in the lounge — I had the night free. Not that I would probably do anything with it. With Joe at my side for the past few weeks, I hadn't really met anybody to go out and have fun with. Of course, that hadn't really been a bad thing until tonight. I'd seen the fear in my classmates' eyes as they made their way down the dorm hallways and around campus in our first weeks here — looking for someone, anyone to notice them.
I knew that fear, that loneliness from the beginning of high school. I was relieved Joe kept me from feeling that again.
It was what he meant when he'd asked, Where else would you be? It was true — there was really nowhere else. I had been okay with this because I didn't need the temptation, but what was I supposed to do if the temptation was standing and blocking my way back into the dorm?
I froze, watching Trevor lean his guitar case like a black construction-paper cutout against the brick wall on the outside of the dorm. He lit a cigarette with a long wooden match, shook it out, licked it so it sizzled, and stuffed it in the pocket of his worn leather jacket.
My stomach felt like it was standing on the edge of a cliff ready to jump. I knew I should walk past him and go back to my room and lock the door and wait for Joe to come over, but I couldn't.
I couldn't move.
"You can stop staring at me anytime," Trevor said, the words coming out with smoke all around them.
My stomach had been ready to jump, but when he spoke I realized it was attached to a bungee cord and was stepping back off the ledge. I guess my eyes made the only move I had by asking, who, me?
"No, the other girl over there who needs a drool bib," Trevor said, his pale blue eyes on me, sucking the blood from my chest and into my face like leeches.
"I'm not staring at you," I said, though I couldn't really deny that I kind of did need a drool bib.
"Whatever you want to call it," he said, putting the cigarette between his pointer finger and thumb. "Your eyes were slanted in my general direction, which I would have considered creepy if you weren't kind of cute."
Kind of cute? My heart went crazy, like one of those old bell-topped alarm clocks going off.
I looked around, probably to make sure Joe wasn't nearby, possibly to make sure no one was watching us because if they were, they would see I was bombing this. Standing and staring and drooling were not going to work with a guy like this.
But why did I care?
"I w-was just trying to get back into the dorm," I said, my voice stuttering, the sound of someone making an excuse.
"There's the door," Trevor said, inviting me to walk past him. His hair fell forward, and he pushed it back.
Excerpted from The Next Forever by Lisa Burstein, Stacy Abrams. Copyright © 2013 Lisa Burstein. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Previous to reading The Next Forever, I hadn't read its big-sister novel, Pretty Amy. At the time, I honest to goodness didn't know this novella was connected in any way, shape, or form to that novel. I had seen Pretty Amy before on Goodreads and read its description, but never gave it enough thought to purchase and read. The only reason for this is because I had been burned so badly in the past on other contemporary novels/ novels presently-set in my many years of reading. By my confusion and Burstein's amazing, awe-inspiring, moving, and most of all breathtaking style of writing, I have now a new love for the contemp. genre. Lisa's gift did what no other book could do. I don't even think I could call Lisa's way with words a gift; it spans so far beyond that. Lisa is an artist with what she does with letters and words. She bends them to her will, infuses them with emotion, and forces them onto the reader. She is very talented indeed. The story of the two teens may seem cliché to some people, but it stole my breath with every word, every thought Amy or Joe had. As the main protagonists, they too became artists and painted a world where thoughts consume and temptation beckons. They twisted and danced around each other as they showed us what was like to be them. To have everything and be tempted to lose it. To have everything and might not want it. Watching them struggle was hard. I felt like I was the one who was having these doubts rather than the protagonists. There were many things I loved about this novella. One of them being the fact that you didn't have to read Pretty Amy to get acquainted with each character on an emotional level. It felt like I had read Pretty Amy and more when the protagonists thought of their history together. Honestly, this could have been a stand-alone and I wouldn't have been the wiser, so articulate is Lisa when she shows glimpses into their past. Or rather glimpses into Pretty Amy. Lyrical and playing deeply into the reader’s emotions, The Next Forever shows what it feels like to question everything.
MY THOUGHTS: The Next Forever was a great refresher from all the other paranormal/dystopian novels that I've been reading. It's the perfect, short, and relaxing read. It's a book of doubts, questions, and loyalty... Lisa Burnstein had me captivated the instant I started this book! I couldn't put stop! She had me questioning both Amy's and Joe's faith and if they were actually meant to be. Lisa shows the conflicts and temptations that stems from insecurity and honesty within relationships. Amy questions her inner self and "Will you go back to the way you were before?" is always harboring her mind. Joe wants a way in to the fraternity, even though he knows Amy wouldn't want him to. They both meet new characters and rediscovers their selves. I loved how The Next Forever was written. Kept at a good pace, the book flowed really well. The only thing I didn't like was how that I felt like I met a fake Amy not the real one. And I think that she most definitely can she fun without passing her limits! Other than that, it's a great read most teens will enjoy! The battle between oneself is revealed and The Next Forever gives an insight on a real and raw relationship where everything isn't perfect...
Loved every page of it!
“Maybe because now we were more than friends, it also meant we were less.” (39) Love is never quite the same as it was in high school. Now that they’re in college, Amy and Joe didn’t feel the same anymore. Joe was “so honest and fair and normal”—everything Amy was not. (80) Then Amy sets her eyes on Trevor, the blonde-haired rock ‘n roller. For Joe, he used to like a lot of things before he liked Amy—volleyball and football and just hanging out with the guys. It seemed like Joe just wanted to be a hard-playing bachelor again. Joining a fraternity might just be the thing Joe needed. Like an old married couple, Amy and Joe just aren’t having fun anymore, and fun is exactly what you should be having at such a young age. I really can’t blame them for seeking out their alluring curiosities, especially Joe, who has always been Amy’s baby-sitter. Would they ever stand on their own? I firmly believe that a person should be able to stand strong on their own before committing to anyone. Be a “me” before becoming a “we.” Believe it or not, I was rooting that they both cheat. Amy and Joe had grown apart; they were not ready for “forever.” The whole story revolves around the overwhelming guilt Amy and Joe feel over the “bad thing” they’re doing while memories of their love flood the backdrop. Couldn’t they get over the fact that their relationship had changed and move on already? A quick, okay read. Don’t be fooled by the “adult” warning; this is actually a clean story.
The transition between high school and the “freedom” of college can be hard on a relationship. Some survive, some don’t. For Amy and Joe, their relationship is put to the test as Joe tries to keep a secret by lying to Amy and for her part; Amy’s eyes are wandering to the bad boy in the shadows. What if they both get caught red-handed? Can their relationship stand the drama? Short, simple, yet filled with conflict and a feeling of darkness, The Next Forever by Lisa Burstein is a quick read that actually nails the feelings of many young couple going off to college. Well-written, with two interesting side-characters that made this tale, and two concurrently running sides to the dating/dishonesty coin, Ms. Burstein wraps it up neatly at the end! Great dialogue, great snippets from inside everyone’s heads and hearts.
This book was a very quick read. It depicts a real argument that lots of people in college have with themselves. I enjoyed it and its realism.
It's no secret that I'm a fan of everything about this book - 1) It's New Adult. 2) It's a contemporary romance. 3) It's told through alternating points-of-view. Slam dunk. I like how Lisa Burstein approaches the college dating scene from the perspective of a long-term, committed relationship. Usually, it's all about finding 'the one,' but what if you're already with 'the one?' Would you get bored? Would things get stale? Would change force you apart? Would you go looking for excitement with someone else? And that's where things get interesting. Amy has a troubled past, police record and all. Joe is the solid, dependable guy who keeps her on track. When he asks her to move in with him, she freaks. The inner conflict of Amy trying to bury her bad girl side is compelling. Deep down, she knows what she wants. But it's allowing herself to feel worthy of happiness, that's the problem. It's easier to play a role, than to be who she really is. That's why she agrees to go to a party with Trevor, a guy totally unworthy of her. She's testing her limits to see how far she will go without Joe holding her back. Will she get drunk and sleep with Trevor to prove a point? Will she be strong enough to resist the temptation? The tension is well-crafted. Meanwhile, Joe is seduced at a frat party by Emily, a cosmetology student looking to snag a future lawyer. Joe doesn't want to cheat on Amy, but with a half-naked girl throwing herself at him, he begins to entertain the possibility, especially after a few beers. Burstein does a good job of questioning whether or not we need someone else to validate our happiness. Can a college-age couple stay devoted to each other in a world filled with casual hook-ups, raging hormones and easy dorm room access? This freedom of choice brings confusion to the clarity they have when they're alone together. They both stumble when they try flirting with someone else. It doesn't feel natural. It doesn't feel right. Not to mention, Trevor and Emily are more practiced in their seduction techniques; they are literally forces of nature. Will Amy and Joe stay strong or will they succumb? The final confrontation between the four characters is one dramatic scene, and the resulting fallout is a surprise not to be missed.
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Next Forever by Lisa Burstein Book 1.5 of the Pretty Amy series Publisher: Entangled Publishing Publication Date: January 13, 2013 Rating: 4 stars Source: eARC provided by the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): One night in college can change everything… 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. What I Liked: First, let me start by saying that this book is very short, as it is a novella. It involves Amy and Joe, characters from Lisa Burstein's debut, Pretty Amy. Here's the thing: I have never read Pretty Amy. When I accepted an eARC of this book from Entangled, I didn't exactly realize that this novella was based off of Pretty Amy. Nevertheless, as I was reading The Next Forever, it was obvious that I did not read to read Pretty Amy to read this novella. So much is explained in The Next Forever, that background of the series is not need. Ms. Burstein does an excellent job weaving in past moments betwen Amy and Joe, and showing the characters' thoughts about each other, how they were in the past, and are now, as a couple, in the present. The indecision of both characters is clear and understandable; it's two people in college, finding their way through their new relationship, from being friends to more than friends. I absolutely loved how this novella was broken down into chapters of alternating points of view. Readers truly get to see the how Amy feels, and her feelings are paralleled with Joe's feelings in the next chapter. I really cannot say enough about how well the emotions and feelings are explored in this book - on both sides. And the ending: this novella is short, and the ending is expected (in my opinion), but I really liked it, and thought that it was sweet. What I Did Not Like: While I loved seeing into Amy and Joe's past, some of the lengthy passages are a little stifling. I followed the story easily, but sometimes it was too easy to get confused with the past and present. This was not a huge factor in my overall judgment of the novella. Would I Recommend It: Yes, I would! Even if you have not read Pretty Amy, this novella is a quick read, and it deals with college-age issues. Rating: 4 stars. Nice job, Ms. Burstein!
Wow! Lisa's craft, story, and characters is simply amazing. This novella takes place after PRETTY AMY, but can be read on its own - and I absolutely recommend that you do. It packs a punch, that's for sure. A couple in college, tension, and uncertainties. So very well written.
Amy and Joe have started college after spending a wonderful summer reacquainting themselves and spending every moment together - just the two of them. Suddenly thrown in a different setting where there are new experiences to discover, new people to get to know and new temptations, Amy and Joe try hard to remember why they are together in the first place. Joe tries to hard to hang on to Amy, while Amy struggles once again with who she wants to be. It was great to visit with Amy and Joe and see them together after all they went through to resume their friendship and take the next step into couple-hood. This time around we get to read a bit of Joe's side of the story and truly get an idea of what his feelings are toward Amy. Through his point of view I got to know him better and understand why he had his doubts and hesitations. I admired his loyalty to Amy, his caring side and his need to take care of her. This time around Amy got on my nerves just a bit. I understand that what she went through previously had affected her in a tremendous way, but to her have question herself again and put at risk everything she worked so hard to achieve with Joe just didn't sit well with me. Then again, she is a young woman in college trying to decide which path to take and her only other experience had been who she had been in previous years, so in the end I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and keep on reading. I'm glad I did since I enjoyed reading how both Amy and Joe came to realize what truly mattered in their life. I liked how the author, Lisa Burstein, brought each characters' point of view to the page revealing their needs and insecurities and I especially liked how they went about in resolving their issues. I believe that the author portrayed their relationship and the struggles of having a relationship at this time in their lives in a realistic and believable way. She didn't hold back and make it an easy choice - Amy and Joe lied, pondered and weighted their needs and wants against what was best for them and their relationship. I appreciated that fact because it gave me hope that this couple had a chance of making it. The Next Forever is a novella in the Pretty Amy series and in my opinion, it should not be read as a stand alone story. I believe that Pretty Amy, the first book in the series, should be read first so that the reader gets the full scope of what Amy has gone through and why she struggles with this particular issue and get the full story of how Amy and Joe came to be a couple. I received this title from Entangled Publishing through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.
This is a cute little love story about discovering who you are and learning to make the right decisions for your own reasons. Amy reminded me a lot of the struggles that my own teenage girls go through. Making decisions because it is what people expect of you versus making decisions because it is what you want to do. Amy had gotten into trouble in high school by doing what her friends expected - and then Joe had saved her. Joe, the boy who had loved her in silence since she was ten, who had lived across the street from her forever, but who had only recently became so much more. Amy has a little bit of a destructive streak and is having a hard time figuring out why. She begins to learn a little more about herself one night while attending a party with Trevor - a bad boy who lives in her dorm. She has been watching him since college started, but she is usually shadowed by her boyfriend Joe. Trevor knows just which questions to ask to make her second guess herself. Joe, knowing how Amy feels about fraternities, tells her he is going to study at the library - but instead attends a frat party - one that he is considering rushing. He soon finds himself with a half-naked girl, who is one of many girls there, whose soul purpose at the party seems to be for hooking up with the frat boys and their guests. Their decisions that night will either make or break their relationship - but you will have to read it to find out! It was a quick read at only 97 pages - but it is one that I am going to recommend to my daughters - to let them know that the way they are feeling is normal and all a part of growing up!
Ahhhh, GOBSMACKED! THE NEXT FOREVER by Lisa Burstein is such a short read (a small novella), yet it was epic! Obviously, cheating isn't right, but I don't know how she made me enjoy reading the story of a boyfriend (Joe) and girlfriend (Amy) at separate parties, wondering if they'd end up hooking up with someone else. I absolutely recommend this novella. I haven't read book #1 in the series, so if you haven't, don't worry. As much as I enjoy naughty, sexy reads, I always, absolutely need a message to take from a book. I assure you, that THE NEXT FOREVER, is a great read, and leaves you with more than lust and want from the sexual-tension taut scenes. It satisfied me wholly as a reader, which is why I give it *5 stars*.
"The next forever was all that mattered." I am truly at a loss with my review. I want to talk about The Next Forever, and how amazingly honest and insightful I found it to be, but I can't make my heart go there. Lisa Burstein is a gift to young women, and the people who love these girls. I wish, so much, that Pretty Amy and The Next Forever had been around when I was younger. How much easier my life might have been if I had been able to hand my mom, dad, or boyfriend (now husband) one of these books and said "You truly want to know me? What's going on inside my head? Here, read this." I find so much of myself in Amy that it is scary. And the way in which Burstein is able to convey the angst, the questions, the doubts that consume Amy's thoughts... it truly blows my mind. The Next Forever is not "Pretty Amy 1.5: Amy and Joe Live Happily Ever After". What it is is a honest, sometimes heartbreaking look at what happens next. The doubts Amy has about her choices, her ability to think and speak for herself. Joe has his own worries. He's a "saver". What will he become to Amy if she no longer needs him to rescue her from herself. For this, I give Burstein major love. So often in books, we want that happy ever after, wrapped up nice and neat. But that's not life, and it's not fair to always portray it as such. Like we all do, Amy and Joe realize that each day is takes work, each day is a gift, and each day is it's own forever. Once again, Lisa Burstein has proved to me that her books are invaluable, must-reads if you were, have ever or will ever love an "Amy". THANKS, Lisa, for giving all of us a voice.
Review copy received from publisher. "Maybe because now we were more than friends, it also meant we were less." THE NEXT FOREVER is a tightly written, fast-paced novella. I didn't actually know this was a novella when I requested it, but I'd heard great things about Lisa Burstein, so I jumped at the chance to read something written by her. And even though I typically do not enjoy novellas, I was thoroughly invested in Amy and Joe's story by the end. THE NEXT FOREVER is full of tension (both sexual and the regular kind) and suspense. The pace moves quickly, but nothing seems rushed. The chapters alternate between Amy & Joe's voices, and Burstein does a great job at giving them both distinct voices and personalities. I do wish I had read PRETTY AMY before this, as I think it would give a lot more insight into the characters. And even though I still enjoyed THE NEXT FOREVER, I would recommend reading PRETTY AMY first. All in all, this is a solid story and I look forward to reading Burstein's other work.
Why I Loved It: Oh Amy and Joe. There has been some serious growing up on their part. Ms. Burstein's adult novella is missing some of the grit of Dear Amy, but the romance is there in full force. Once again this is real romance. When you are in a serious relationship, most people doubt, question, and fear what the commitment means. Ms. Burstein shows her power as a writer in her ability to recreate parts of growing up that everyone experiences. Many of us won't go as far as Amy or end up walking home half-naked girls wearing your clothes leaving you in turn half-naked like Joe. But we doubt our love, mentally explore other options. Once we leave the honeymoon stage of the relationship getting older can be a scary reality along with the reality of depending on someone else to love you. Once again Amy's decisions frustrated me, left me emotionally spent as she made on little stupid decision after another. But I understood. I got her and Joe. They are very relatable characters. College and feelings of loneliness that come were captured perfectly. Love and hope were so perfectly portrayed that I wonder at the magical pen Ms. Burstein must have. Just kidding, she is just a literary genius. This novella, after Pretty Amy, has put her on my auto-buy list. She's just that good, in my opinion. Who Should Read It: Definitely a must for people who loved Pretty Amy. I think you could probably read this one on its own even if you have not read her first book. I think people who love reality portrayed in a book, complete with a happy ending, will love this book.
The fact that I enjoyed this book without reading book one "Pretty Amy" says a lot - something that I intend to remedy within the next few weeks. The events happen over one day and is told alternatively from Amy and Joe's perspective. Not a lot happens but I still thoroughly enjoyed the book and loved that both of the characters develope enough to make me care what happens to them. When I got to the end it felt incomplete - this was about the point I realised that this was not the first book and...more The fact that I enjoyed this book without reading book one "Pretty Amy" says a lot - something that I intend to remedy within the next few weeks. The events happen over one day and is told alternatively from Amy and Joe's perspective. Not a lot happens but I still thoroughly enjoyed the book and loved that both of the characters develope enough to make me care what happens to them. When I got to the end it felt incomplete - this was about the point I realised that this was not the first book and should have read book one! Although I would recomend this book I am sure it would work much better if I'd read "Pretty Amy" first.
I was given a copy of this novella by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. After hearing a lot of cheeping in the twitterverse about this book; I needed to read it to see what all the fuss was about. Within the first few pages I could see the need for fuss. As you may know, I am not a huge fan of short stories as the pace has to be quick and the characters are often underdeveloped. Well, I started this book knowing it was a short novella therefore I was giving it the benefit of doubt. Take note: this is how a novella is done! I loved it, the pages were few but the content was jam packed. Lisa Burstein crammed so much characterisation into the MC's that one sentence could literally reveal a whole history. Joe and Amy were so well developed; the interaction between them was loaded with intense emotion. I didn't read the first book in the series 'Pretty Amy' beforehand as I had read Lisa's blog post stating that the books were pretty much standalone and could be read in any order. I didn't feel by jumping straight into this book that I had missed half of the plot or the backgrounds of these characters as Lisa done a great job of weaving some previous details throughout the story. There are of course some unanswered questions I have and I will definitely be reading Pretty Amy in the near future! My opinions changed as I read this story and I have learned that I make assumptions very quickly. When we were first introduced to Amy, she was having doubts about her relationship with Joe. Their relationship felt very intense and I got the impression they felt obligated to be together due to their past. So when 'bad boy' Trevor was introduced with his cigarettes, leather jacket and smouldering looks I wanted Amy to go off to the party with him and have fun as I assumed Joe was holding her back. I couldn't have been more wrong. Amy wanted to test herself to see if she could be a person without relying on Joe and that they were in this relationship for the right reasons. "I'm doing the same thing, finding my worth in someone else's eyes. I guess I was just making sure that for once you were my decision." "And?" "You were always my decision. You will always be my decision." Temptation is put in both Amy and Joe's path (Joe's comes in the form of "Slutty McSlutterson") but it is their connection to each other and the realisation that they do want to make their relationship work that unites them. This book is about a night of self discovery for both Joe and Amy. They soon find out that it is easy to promise each other forever when you are 17 but trying to make it as a couple in the real world without losing who you are as an individual is the real challenge. For Amy and Joe to learn how to strike the balance and move forward together as a couple gave me a warm mushy feeling. "I knew that if life were as simple as locking her door and ordering takeout, we could stay like that for the rest of our lives. I knew that life wasn't that simple, but for the next forever maybe it could be."
I LOVED Pretty Amy, it totally said what was true, and I think I could save a lot of girls from doing things they shouldn't. It was a great life lesson. THE NEXT FOREVER wasn't a life lesson, it was a NA Comtemp. Romance, and it was still good! I loved reading Amy and Joe's story. The only thing that didn't enjoy very much, was how they kept arguing with themselves throughout the whole book, they weren't sure what they wanted, and they were having a hard time figuring out what they wanted, so through the whole book, it was them arguing with themselves. Now, I'm not an adult yet, I'm still a teen, a young teen at that, and maybe I just didn't understand that. (most likely) But the ending did it in for me, it was such a happy ending, and I hope we get to read more about Joe and Amy in the future!! And the cover...woooeee...;)
Amy and Joe are in their first semester of college and are transitioning not only into the college scene, but also in a transition from dating in high school, to dating in college. It is obvious from the beginning that they have an intense relationship both physically and emotionally. What seemed like something that would last forever in high school now has gotten kind of blurred in college with a new school, new people, and new temptations. Joe was always a jock in high school and wants to pledge a fraternity. Amy was a bad girl who is now trying to turn herself around after a bad experience, but wants nothing to do with the fraternity/sorority scene. Joe needs space, and Amy needs to figure out why she has the hots for bad boy Trevor when she loves Joe. One lie sets off a series of events that test everything they thought they had, but also helps them to realize what they each really want. The Next Forever is a short novella, but it there's a lot of emotion packed in its pages. The story is told from both Amy and Joe's point of view, which I really liked, because it enables you to really connect with both characters and get inside their heads. The whole novella takes place over the course of one night. Both find themselves in bad situations facing some really serious temptations. These temptations cause both of them to really look inside themselves and realize what they really what, who they really want, and if the choices they are making are for the right reasons. Joe and Amy are not perfect, and neither is their relationship, but sometimes it takes something bad to help you figure out what you have that is good and worth fighting for. If you enjoy contemporary romance then The Next Forever is a short, fast-paced, hot, and emotionally packed romance that you might want to check out.
I loved Pretty Amy, so when I saw that Lisa Burstein was writing a novella about Joe and Amy in college I was so excited!! Though you don't have to read Pretty Amy before this, I highly suggest it so you know the characters and what things they have gone through in the past. It really helps to understand why they are having the feelings they do in this. Even being a short novella, this packs quite a punch. Told in alternating POV"s between Joe and Amy, you get to know how each is feeling. What they expect out of each other, what they are afraid of, what types of doubts they are having. I loved how true their thoughts and emotions were. They really are trying to discover themselves better and wondering if there is room for the other. Amy is still fragile and broken. She has been through a lot and now she is trying to see if trying to be a "good girl" and doing the whole college thing with Joe is what she really wants. She goes to a party with a random hot guy to test herself. To see if the bad girl she was wants to come out, but there's always Joe in the back of her head. How he makes her feel, how he's always been there. I could really feel how she felt while reading from her POV. She is so lost and confused and doesn't know what she wants. She still feels like she needs other people to make decisions for her, like she isn't strong enough to make them on her own. I was so irritated at her thinking she was being stupid and was going to throw everything away from making stupid decisions, but I also felt bad for her. I think we have all felt the way she is feeling. Joe who is always the level headed one decides that he needs something different. He wants to join a Frat, but it's not because of the girls or the parties. It's for what it can do for his future. He knows Amy will be pissed so he lies to her. Then at the party he is expected to hang out with the half naked girls and get drunk, but in the back of his mind is always Amy. He chats up Emily at the party. She's pretty, she's flirty, and she's soaking wet and half naked. Joe is a really great guy, but he too has doubts in his mind. I think it was really great to get in his head more. I really liked getting to know him better. What seems like an ordinary night at college of course is anything but. Both Joe and Amy are confused and are testing themselves more or less. They really do love each other, but at times you wonder if that love is enough. If they have been through too much and are too different. They are faced with a new place and new experiences and they need to decide whether they want to do it together or not. I thought this was beautiful and thoughtful. I loved going through this night with them and seeing things from both sides. Lisa Burstein is a master at making you love the characters she writes. They are no longer characters, but people who you feel like you really know. I am a big fan and can't wait to read Cassie's story, and Lila's and anything else she writes in between.
I enjoyed reading more about Amy and Joe, since I adored Lisa's Pretty Amy so much. This was a quick story to read, but at times lagged. For those who want to read a short story and loved Pretty Amy, this is a definite must read.
This book was a little confusing for me. I got this book for review and it sounded pretty good so I was anxious to read it. Throughout the whole book, I felt like I was in the middle of something and I wasn't in the loop. Let me just say that I am not a fan of novellas. I didn't know when I picked it up that it was one. Also, The Next Forever turned out to be a sequel to Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein. I never read that one, so now I understand my confusion. This would be a great novella if I knew it was a sequel going into it. The POV alternated between Joe and Amy. I found their dialogue endearing and their characters likeable. I enjoyed the story itself and how the situation resolved itself in the end. Overall, this was an enjoyable story that I would recommend to fans of Pretty Amy. This novella gets three glittery stars!