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I Belong


Review: Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer

Proof of ForeverTitleProof of Forever

AuthorLexa Hillyer

Genre: YA Contemporary/Science Fiction

Series: N/A

Publication Date: June 2, 2015

FormatHardcover, 352 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062330373 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062330376 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin

Synopsis:

From debut author and poet Lexa Hillyer comes the lyrical story of four seventeen-year-old friends who receive an unlikely chance to relive the perfect summer . . . and the devastating secret that could unravel it all. Elegant and evocative, Proof of Forever is one of those first novels that hooks you from the beginning and builds toward a stunning—and unexpected—end, calling to mind Gayle Forman and Ann Brashares.

Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe were once best friends. Now they barely speak. That is, until the fateful flash of a photo-booth camera transports them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen—the summer everything changed. Photos fade. Friendships dissolve. Summers end. But this one will change the girls forever . . . again.

Quick & Dirty: A sun-soaked summer novel chalk-full of fun, heartbreak, friendships, and bitter secrets.

Opening Sentence: Just do it.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Years ago, Tali, Luce, Joy, and Zoe were the best of friends at the summer camp Okahatchee. Though the camp ended, the four swore that they wouldn’t fall out of touch. Years later, the bond no longer exists and the memories are bittersweet in the back of their mind. What changed? What made their friendship fall apart? When they all come back to the camp Okahatchee reunion, some for reasons different than others, something strange happens. They’re transported back in time via a magic photo booth, to the summer where it all changed. Is this a chance to do everything over again, and reconcile their friendship? Or will they be trapped in the past forever?

If you are looking for a summer book, you found it. It has the same light, fun qualities of kisses and sun-soaked water fights, with a unique element that is entirely its own. It brings in an incredible amount of surprises and secrets are being revealed every other page. Romances weave through a rebuilding friendship, and each girl is forced to admit things about themselves that they’ve avoided. The writing is rich, vivid, and detailed, with each scene in perfect clarity. She juggles four different points of views, and while I was confused at some points of who I was reading from (my fault: should have read the chapter headings more carefully), she does so almost seamlessly.

Each character was so different, which is what made their friendship so interesting. Zoe is a tomboy, while Tali is self-conscious and popular. Joy is light and follows her name, but she hides a dark secret that is weighing her down. Finally we have Luce, the responsible one who never steps a toe out of line, or so they think. The complexity of each individual adds so many layers to an already strong storyline. They are realistic and relatable, and all of them finding themselves in the strangest of ways, after being transported back in time via a photo booth. There is snark in this book that made me smile and four different romances that were in sharp contrast.

The storyline is sometimes hard to follow, because of the whole jumping into the past thing. For example, Luce’s romance with Andrew has progressed so much in the future, and I was so confused when he started treating her like he didn’t know her. Then I realized that they were back in the time that their romance was just blossoming. Seeing things happen again gives Luce doubts. Is their relationship too safe, too boring? Is her love for him strong enough to withstand more time or will it crumble when she does this all over again? Tali’s romance was hilarious. She kept finding “tow boy”, a hot worker for the camp, in the weirdest ways on her quest to seduce Blake. First he sees her where she’s waiting for Blake in lingerie, then he rescues her from freezing lake water when she falls in kissing Blake.. Their conversations were funny to read. Their “hatred” morphed very very quickly into pure attraction when they both revealed their feelings. Those were my favorite two romances, but I also really enjoyed the diversity of one of the girl’s relationship.

Altogether, I enjoyed this book. I first read 40% of it at, get this, a summer camp at UCLA. When I went back home I got distracted and forgot about it, but I returned a couple months later to finish. It’s a decent sized book and the fact that it’s so packed with details made it seem longer, so at times I got slightly bored, but for the most part I found it enjoyable. The writing had a slight lyrical quality to it, and there were plenty of twists and turns that kept me guessing about the inevitable end. When it did come, it was bittersweet, and though I did see part of it coming, it took it a little further and surprised me. For a debut novel with this complexity and this many points of view, I’m very impressed!

Notable Scene:

“Does it ever make you, well, mad?” Joy asks quietly. “I mean, how unfair it is.”

“Hell yeah. It makes me mad all the time. That’s the whole thing about life, though, right?

“What is?”

“It’s unfair. That you just have to accept things, take whatever you’re dealt and work with what you got. (…) But you get to a point where at least you’re happy for the time you did have.”

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FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Proof of Forever. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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