Reading All the Forever Things by Jolene Perry was like re-watching the movie Ghost World. The protagonist, Gabe, is so much like Enid and her best friend, Bree, has a lot in common with Rebecca. The only difference between All the Forever Things and Ghost World is that Gabe obsesses a little too much over the new life that Bree chooses to live. Regardless, the novel focused on all the topics Ghost World spoke about and I thoroughly enjoyed reading a book similar to one of my favorite movies.
Gabe has had to suffer with the nickname “Graveyard Gabe” ever since she crossed paths with the school’s honorary jerk Bryce Johnson. Her family owns a funeral home and this doesn’t exactly give her a good rep at her high school. However, she’s always had the support and admiration of her best friend Bree who isn’t afraid to step into Gabe’s dark world. They do nearly everything together. From dressing up in vintage clothing to applying make-up to the recently deceased, Gabe and Bree have always been close.
Just like in Ghost World, Gabe must find her own way in the world when Bree decides that she wants to start dating Gabe’s arch-enemy Bryce Johnson and begins rolling with the popular crowd. Even though Gabe has found friendship and maybe something more with the new kid named Hartman, she still longs for her now-mangled relationship with her best friend. The only big difference between Gabe’s coming-of-age story and Ghost World’s beloved protagonist is that, after a strange prom night, Gabe is left to deal with a horrifying accident that not even living in a funeral home could prepare her for.
I didn’t warm up to Gabe’s character at all. I thought that she handled the situation with her best friend horribly and I can’t imagine obsessing over someone else’s life in such a manner. However, I did enjoy reading about her more than unique, budding relationship with quirky Hartman. While I understand that she’s going through the unforgiving process of maturity, there were some points in the story where I actually thought that she was being ridiculous when it came to her hatred towards Bryce. Bryce is undoubtedly a jerk but, like regular human beings, there’s more than one side to him. While the story focuses on only Gabe’s relationship with Hartman and Bree, there were moments when readers were shown a side of Bryce that didn’t involve him being a complete asshole.
I was only able to enjoy reading about Gabe’s character when she and Bree were doing strange things like perusing Gabe’s great aunt’s antique wardrobe for vintage clothing or hanging out around the funeral home. There’s also the cute moments between her and Hartman that had me smiling for a while before she returned to her quest to ruin her best friend’s relationship.
The best part of the book is how realistic the relationships between the characters seemed. From the dialogue to the way they interact with one another, I could envision people actually behaving the way they did.
After reading Stronger Than You Know and loving it from beginning to end, I knew I had to get my hands on Perry’s newest novel All the Forever Things. Thankfully, Jolene Perry doesn’t disappoint as she shows, once again, that she’s able to perfectly convey an authentic young adult voice. Everything from how the characters interact with one another to how the events play out, Perry is a whiz at creating a story that is engaging, well-plotted and realistic characters that stay in your mind until her next amazing novel.