By: Lexa Hillyer
Published By: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Page Count: 352
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary, Magical Realism
What would you do if you could go back to a point in your past? Would you jump at the chance to live through fonds memories again? Would you decide to leave the past alone and focus on the future?
Proof of Forever focuses on Joy, Zoe, Luce, and Tali, a group of girls who let their friendship fall by the wayside after their last night at summer camp when they were fifteen. Prior to this time, the girls had been joined at the hip. Their friendship was one of those lengthy ones that is full of late night conversations, whispered secrets, and deep affection. Everything changes when Joy walks out of their lives without a word. Zoe, Tali, and Luce drift apart. Two years later, the girls are forging their own paths and their former friendship is like dust on the wind.
Joy has never managed to move past the memories of that final summer and she summons her former friends for a camp reunion. As the girls gather, old hurts rise to the surface as confusion swirls in the summer air. A trip to the photo booth unleashes some cosmic magic sending the girls back to the summer that changed everything, giving them a chance to redo their final week together.
Proof of Forever felt like it had elements of Big and Peggy Sue Got Married. Like in Big, the girls are thrown into a different life by a machine. They must figure out how to change things back using that machine. It felt like Peggy Sue Got Married because they went back into the past and were able to relive moments. It was interesting that like Peggy Sue, the girls didn't always see things the same way they did the first time around. Each girl learns more about herself during her time in the past and remembers the importance of true friendship.
I enjoyed getting to know each of the girls, but Luce was my favorite. I saw a lot of my teen self reflected in her. She's the most reserved of the bunch and the one who always worries about getting into trouble. Even as an adult, I shy away from confrontation. I am a peace maker like Luce. Also, I tend to put too much pressure on myself to be perfect. It was nice to see Luce break free from her mold as the story unfolded.
I also loved the setting. I always wanted to go to summer camp so I was envious of the girls.
My only major complaint with this one was the volume of main characters. In the beginning, it was difficult to remember who was who as I read. I felt like I needed to create a chart to track each character until I had fully settled into the story.
All in all, Proof of Forever was a perfect summer read. I was impressed that this was not all light and fluffy. The girls learn some pretty difficult lessons and the last section was bittersweet. This is the sort of novel that makes me want to reconnect with friends from high school and savor every moment of life. The hint of magical realism made this novel memorable. I highly recommend grabbing a glass of lemonade and reading this one on the front porch as you enjoy those long summer evenings.
One Last Gripe: I had a difficult time liking Tali at first.
My Favorite Things About This Book: The friendships and character development
First Sentence: Just do it.
Favorite Character: Luce
Least Favorite Character: Blake
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.