Source: Received an e-copy in exchange for an honest review
Forever Me is considered YA and NA. Suggested reading age is 14+
Hannah Richards isn't your typical 16 year-old at Wichita Falls High. Fashions, trends, cosmetics and style are unimportant to her. An avid reader, guitar player, classic movie and television buff, Hannah marches to the beat of her own drum. Visible only to her Father the town Sheriff, and her two best friends. Hannah lives a simple, un-pampered life as an "Eastie."
After coming to the aide of Taylor Monroe, a popular member of the ultra snobby "Stilettos" at school, Hannah's life beings spiraling out of control. As she starts spending more time with Taylor, her best friends abandon her, after a series of misunderstandings, causing Hannah to re-invent herself.
Hannah quickly gets caught up in a life much different than the one she knows, where status, glamour, makeup, appearance and acceptance become her masters. And what of the dark secret that haunts the streets of Wichita Falls?
Can Hannah survive the lies, deceit, jealousy and rage that are now waiting for her behind every corner? Will she succumb to the pressures of popularity? Or will she be crushed under the heels of the "Stilettos"?
~High school is hard enough just being yourself, let alone being someone you're not~
As what you can see from the blurb, there's this popular group of girls in Wichita Falls High called the "Stilettos" and they consist of Shelby Farrell, Courtney James, Vanessa Chezwick, Madison Winthrop and Taylor Monroe. They are your typical 'mean but popular' kind of girls in school...
...seriously, I imagined Mean Girls the movie while reading about the Stilettos. Haha!
And then, there were the Clubbers and the Easties, the Clubbers were the powerful ones and all, you get the idea right? :) At first I thought that this will be just another typical story about a high school girl and her desire to be the most popular girl in school, but no, let me make it clear to you that this is not your typical kind of story, just like Hannah, who isn't your typical 16 year-old girl.
Well anyway, may I just say, I love Hannah Richards, the protagonist in the story. She is someone who stands up for herself and doesn't mind what other people think. While some girls feel pressured to dress like a doll or be super rich just to be in the spotlight, Hannah's just doing whatever she wants to do. Hanging out with her best friends, talking to her dad, taking care of her dog, just normal things that a normal teenager would do.
Hannah is someone that a teenager can easily relate to. There were also ups and downs for her but she didn't let those bad decisions change who she really is. Even if she has done something wrong, she immediately apologizes for it and acknowledges her mistakes. And Taylor, one of the Stilettos, will also play a big role in this story, yes, there is a pretty interesting change of heart with her.
Okay, this can be a little bit of a spoiler, but I love the lines in the book, I mean, come on, hooray for Thomas, he really knows what goes on in the minds of young teenage girls! Haha! Some lines from Hannah and Taylor were so funny, you would really crack up!!
On a more serious note, another thing that I loved about the novel is the twist in the end, I can't say it here, but it has something to do with Kenny, an officer in town, who is friends with Jacob Richards, Hannah's dad, the town sheriff. And, I absolutely love what Hannah said in the end, "My name is Hannah Richards, and I’m not a Stiletto, a Fab Four, an Eastie, or a Clubber. I am, like Lauren, from this day forward, simply—Forever, me." And it pretty much sums up everything. :-)
Wonder why I gave it a 4 and not a 5? Well, here..
I think that in the end, the transition with some of the characters were too fast, and some of the characters were not mentioned in the end, it would have been better if there was an epilogue for the continuation.
Did you always know that you are going to be a writer? Or did you have other professions in mind?
No, in the beginning I didn't think I was going to be a writer, although I did starting writing at a very young age. I originally thought I would be an actor. I focused on acting most of my life and writing just sort of went with it. The one thing I did know for sure was, I knew I wanted to be in show business.
I wasn't interested in, singing, dancing or playing a musical instrument, I was always interested in the acting side of it.
When did you write your first story? How did it feel like?
I wrote my first story after a trip to Disneyland with my mom. I was around 8 or 9 years old. The Haunted Mansion took me by surprise so much I just wanted to tell my own scary story after seeing it. It was an awful story, pretty much just a recap of the story on the Haunted Mansion Record my mom bought me before we left the park. I changed things like the characters were my best friend and I. But it really was terrible. But in regards to how did it feel. Well a teacher read it to class one day and told the rest of the class that one day I was going to be a famous author...all the kids thought I was cool...so in that instance, it felt awesome.
Do you ever get 'stuck' while writing? What do you do about it?
Oh brother do I ever get stuck! I think I spend more time being stuck than actual writing. It haunts me when I am blocked. I try to do research or take notes by writing things out in long hand, to try and get my mind thinking about the story, instead of wondering what's going on in FaceBook..ugugh!
How did you come up with the theme or concept for FOREVER ME?
I was watching a segment of morning television and saw a report on a group of girls from Texas who decided to go one day a week without makeup and wanted to encourage other girls to do the same, to fight the stereotype that a girl must look or dress a certain way to be pretty. That really spoke to me and before I left the house I already had 90% of the story in my head. Later that day I pitched the idea to a friend of mine who is a film producer and he loved it. He asked me to write the screenplay and about 50 pages in I knew it was a novel first. Two years later, "Forever ME" was published.
Do you think being a theatrical producer helped you to be a writer?
Very much so. Writing for the theatre, taught me how to write good dialogue. Also how to move a story quickly. Most of my plays were around 75 to 90 pages, which translates to about 90 mins of stage time with an intermission.
People like the story to get going from the start, not wait half an hour before something happens.
What is your message to all the girls out there who is just like Hannah, Taylor and The Stilettos?
Be the person you are, don't be the person you think everyone else wants you to be. Don't try to be someone you think will impress everyone else. I tried to show in the book being popular isn't what it looks like from the outside.
Fun Questions!! :D
When I dance, I look like…?
Gene Gene the dancing machine.
If you could teleport where would you go, why?
Heaven...to be with God.
If you where a super hero what would your powers be?
To know winning lotto numbers.
What word would you add to the dictionary if you could, what would it mean?
Sedultry (se dult try) It means seduction and sultry. I said it one time in the theatre when I was trying to say the other two words and Sedultry came out...I decided i created a word.