Saturday, October 6, 2012

Banned Book Week Review and Giveaway: Forever by Judy Blume

This is my first year participating in Book Journey's Banned Book Week and I'm very exited about it.  I am the parent of three boys and I believe in them reading age appropriate books, but other than that I'm very open (and realistic!) on what they read. 

For this stop of Banned Books Week I'm review Forever by Judy Blume and there is also a giveaway.

Title: Forever by Judy Blume
Published: 1975 by Pan Childrens
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Grade rate:  C

Katherine and Michael meet at a New Year's Eve party. They're attracted to each other; they grow to love each other. And once they've decided their love is forever, they make love.
It's the beginning of an intense and exclusive relationship, with a future all planned. Until Katherine's parents insist that she and Michael put their love to the test with a summer apart...

"Forever" is written for an older age group than Judy Blume's other novels for children. It caused a storm of controversy when it was first published because of its explicit sexual content.

It was a book ahead of its time - and remains, after thirty years in print, a teenage best-seller. America's No. 1 children's author has written some of the best books of our time about real-life issues - family stress and pressures, what happens when your parents divorce, the problems of growing up and sexual awakening, bereavement - with insight, sensitivity and honesty.

The response of readers all around the world continues to make her one of the best-loved writers ever published.

My Review

Forever was first published in 1975 and I can understand why it achieved its status as a ‘banned book’.  Let me start by saying that this book is not for younger readers as it is very sexually explicit.
I was curious to read Forever because of it is still in many ‘banned’ lists.  It’s hard to imagine how a book written so many years ago can still be awarded that label.  Literature has changed a lot in all that time and many things are more explicit now and not a taboo. 

Katherine has been raised in an open environment in which no topic is forbidden.  Her parents and grandparents are probably the exception.  She is a senior in high school and when she meets Michael, they just click.  The book is about their emotional and physical relationship; about their ups and downs, and their families’ views on what seems to become very serious, very fast.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been married for 20 years to my high school sweetheart, so I will be the last person to say that you can’t find true love when you are that young.  BUT, I did go to college; I kept in touch with my friends, traveled, and did other things other than date.

The plot of the book is simple.  Forever is not only about first love, but about first sexual encounters and experimentation.  It is also about family dynamics, social pressure and even about how drugs are used recreationally.  I really admire that Ms. Blume was brave enough to portrait these topics in a way that it becomes very useful to young readers. Safe sex and preventing pregnancy are things that everyone that is sexually active needs to be aware of.  As expected, the writing is a bit outdated. It was fun to see that Michael and Katherine write letters to each other (as opposed to email or text), and that phones had a cord.  It was surprising to me how open Katherine’s family was with her about sexuality and how little boundaries they had for Katherine.  I mean, I didn’t have permissive parents at all (then again, I’m from a very conservative Hispanic family :).

Overall, Forever is a well written book with a plot that is not that novel these days, but that was relevant to the time that it was written on.

About the cover:  I do like the cover a lot. It is very pretty and feels young and playful

For Wikipedia:

Judy Blume's novel Forever... has been subjected to greater censorship than any other book she has written. Forever... was banned from many schools due to its detailed depictions of sexual intercourse and because the protagonist, Katherine, uses the birth control pill. Criticism of the novel often comes from religious groups and pro-abstinence groups who consider the use of 'the pill' unsuitable. Forever... has been called "a manufactured sex manual thinly disguised as a novel" that "demoralizes marital sex" and "titillates and stimulates children to the point they could be prematurely awakened sexually."

Forever... is commonly considered the first YA book to deal with teen love and teen pregnancy. Blume was upset by the decision of Bradbury Press to advertise the book as an adult book; Forever... is a Young Adult novel

Now for the giveaway!  It is International provided that: 1) TBD delivers to you, 2) You can find the book selected in TBD, and 3) that the book is not over $15.

The prize:  There are two links below from Goodreads with banned books and one with ALA's banned books. You can select any of them. **Please be aware that these lists do not contain only YA appropriate books** Here is a taste of what's for grabs:

Banned & Challenged YA Novels
Best Banned &/Or Censored Books
Banned / Challenged Books 200-2009

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you so much for the giveaway! :) My favourite banned books are The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the Harry Potter series.

  2. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov is my favorite banned book.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  3. I also reviewed a Judy Blume book for BBW :) (Are You There God? It's me, Margaret) Wonderful author, wonderful book.

    My all time favorite banned book is To Kill a Mockingbird.

  4. My favorite banned books are Hunger Games and The Perks of being a Wallflower. Thanks for the chance! :)

  5. Great post! This book was probably my least favorite of the Blume books but I read it so long ago I can not recall why... :)

    My favorite all time banned books are the Harry Potter Books.

    Thank you do much for being a part of banned books week!

  6. Looking at those lists, there are so many I love, so many I want to read! I am not sure how I missed reading Forever as a teen; my mom was pretty protective but when it came to reading material it was a different story. I could read anything. I am definitely going to read this book. Great review!

  7. oooohhhh definitely The Perks Of Being A Wallflower!!! And of course, the Harry Potter series!

  8. I remember reading this book for the first time when I was like 15--I had never read anything like it. I still love this book, it's just so realistic and perfect. I love banned books. :)

    Jessica @ Thoughts At One In The Morning
    ~The Book Love Giveaway Hop Sign Ups~

  9. My favorite banned book is The Hunger Games! I love the who series. Thanks for the giveaway!!!

  10. I love reading Judy Blume's books when I was younger, but I've not read this one. Thank you for the review and for the giveaway :)

  11. I remember wanting to read Forever by Judy Blume so much when I was younger. My favourite book is The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. Thank you for the giveaway. :)

  12. One of my favorite banned books would have to be Perks of Being a Wallflower! I've still got to read Forever, thanks for reminding me.

  13. I remember discovering this book in the middle school library (I'm surprised it was there actually) and reading it furtively. :)

    My favorite banned books are the Harry Potter series and The Lord of the Rings.

  14. I have quite a few favorites: GONE WITH THE WIND, HARRY POTTER, LOTR, THE HUNGER GAMES ....


  15. Crank by Ellen Hopkins is by far my favorite banned book.

  16. There are a lot of great ones there but my favorite is Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

  17. My favorite is Lauren Myracle's series:)

    Thank you:)

  18. It would be interesting to read Forever again as an adult.

    Though it may not be very unique now, among all the teen/YA romances out there, in 1975 it sure was!! Wow, that book was a sizzling hot hit among teen girls! We read it, passed it around, and hid it behind more "acceptable" books while we devoured every word.

    Just like with Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret?, another Blume classic, Forever was the FIRST book that was open and honest and completely realistic about what was really going on in girls' lives at that age.

    Thanks for the review - interesting to read an adult perspective on the book all these years later.

    I reviewed a couple of banned books on my blogs, too -


    Great Books for Kids and Teens

    Book By Book

  19. The Kite Runner, The Color Purple are great ones! Thanks!

  20. My favorite is The Giver or Brave New World : )

  21. don't have a fav but been wanting to read hunger games! - regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

  22. I loved Forever as a teenager and thought it did the opposite of promote teenage sex, in fact it encourages girls to think seriously about it - without the scaremongering that was so common then

    Thanks for sharing your Banned Book review

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  23. I love the Harry Potter series :)

  24. There're so many awesome books on a banned books list and it's really hard to choose just one. My favorites definitely are Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, 1984 by George Orwell and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Thanks for an awesome giveaway! :)

  25. My fav is Harry Potter and hunger games.
    thank you for the giveaway


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