Published by HarperTeen on June 2nd 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Science Fiction
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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.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a contemporary YA novel that I’ve actually enjoyed so Proof of Forever definitely came as a bit of a surprise. I didn’t really have high expectations for it because of my reading slump, and the fact that I came into possession of this book when another blogger didn’t want it. But I highly enjoyed the friendship story and thought it was the perfect summer book as Toronto starts to transition to fall.
Proof of Forever is a second chance friendship story about four girls who used to be best friends at a summer camp that they attended when they were younger. Now seniors in high school, they have drifted apart but a camp reunion gives them the opportunity to right their wrongs. When they’re mysteriously transported back into their fifteen-year-old bodies, they need to figure out a way to get back to their present lives. But along the way, they discover much more about themselves than they anticipated.
My favourite aspect of this book was the character development. The novel is told from the perspectives of each of the four girls and I enjoyed being about to get an in-depth look into their thought processes. Each character grew and developed throughout the book and they definitely were not the same girls at the end of the novel as they were at the start. I loved each of their stories separately and how they came to discover new things about themselves, but I also enjoyed reading about the bond between them and seeing it develop throughout the book. The character development was done in a really subtle manner and I loved that there wasn’t a major catalyst for their changes.
Each of the characters had depth and I liked how different they were from each other. It’s interesting how people who come from different backgrounds and have different personalities can come together and be there for each other. I liked all of the girls individually but together, I thought they were magic. Luce was probably my favourite character and I connected with her the most, probably because of how structured and organised her life was. She was definitely the quiet nerd of the group. But I also loved Joy, who turned out to be a completely different character to who I had envisioned her to be at the start of the novel. Tali and Zoe were also great characters and I loved the way that they were portrayed. Tali, at times, came across as quite self-centred but it was also nice to see her gentle and apologetic side.
There is romance in the novel but it doesn’t overshadow the main theme of friendship and I really appreciated that. The romances and relationships kept each girl’s individual story interesting to me but wasn’t the main focus of the book, which was refreshing to see. I also really liked all of the love interests and thought that their roles in the book were interesting and well thought out by the author.
Proof of Forever was a huge surprise to me and I really enjoyed it. The character development and exciting plot twists were the standout aspects of the novel for me and I really liked the way the story was weaved together.
Rating: 4 out of 5