My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exhange for an honest review.
I would find it very hard to say I enjoyed reading this book given the subject matter, however, I can say that it is a very powerful, engaging and important book.
Always Forever Maybe tracks the relationship between Betts and Aiden, from the first head over heels, love at first sight moment, to the intense puppy dog love stage and beyond into more toxic territory.
Anica Mrose Rissi charts the rise and fall of this abusive relationship so realistically it is very difficult to read in places. Although Aiden does become more psychically abusive towards Betts as the book goes on, much of the story focuses on his emotional abuse- alienating his girlfriend from her friends, trying to change her behaviour and making her apologise for insignificant things so that she keeps the peace and avoids his dramatic mood changes.
The intense fast-paced nature of this relationship is so common in abusive relationships. It’s a way of gaining complete control over a person and making them feel as if they need the relationship and can’t leave. Even with the support of her friends, Betts still found herself trapped, feeling as if Aiden was the only thing that mattered.
I loved Betts and Jo’s friendship, and the unwavering support Jo showed for Betts even when she was being a bad friend to her. Jo also provided some much needed comic relief in this book and was probably my favourite character for this reason.
Although it was difficult to read, I’m glad a book like this is out there. This type of toxic behaviour in relationships can be so easy to explain away when you think you are in love. Hopefully, this book will help some people realise that they shouldn’t be subjecting themselves to such treatment.
Whilst it’s incredibly well written, I only recommend this book to you if you feel you can handle the topic. If you are at all senstive to the subject of domestic abuse I would advise reader discretion.