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(Novels for Students)

Chapters 1-4

At the beginning of Forever …, the protagonist, Katherine, and her best friend Erica, (both seniors in high school) attend a New Year's Eve party. The party is given by Erica's cousin Sybil, who is described as having a poor self-image because she is overweight and tends to be sexually promiscuous in order to feel loved. At the party, Katherine meets Michael, a friend of Sybil. The next day, Michael asks Katherine to go for a drive with him. Afterward, he kisses Katherine before saying good-bye and tells Katherine that she is delicious.

Katherine is at home, telling her mother that she has met a nice boy and that she has a date with him that weekend. Katherine describes her mother, whose name is Diana and who works in the children's room at the local library, as thin and tall and not necessarily athletic. Jamie, Katherine's younger sister, is also introduced. Jamie is in the seventh grade and is artistic, unlike Katherine. Jamie and Katherine, despite their age difference, appear to be friends. They respect one another's talents and are supportive of one another. Jamie volunteers, for example, to embroider a design on Katherine's jeans to wear on her first official date with Michael.

Katherine then talks about Tommy Aronson, the boy whom she dated before she met Michael. Her relationship with Tommy was not good. Tommy dated Katherine, she finally discovered, only to have sex with her. When Katherine made it clear that she did not want to have sex with him, Tommy dropped her for another girl, presumably one who would. Unlike Tommy, Michael makes Katherine feel good about herself. He is attentive and caring.

Katherine invites Michael to come back to her house after their date. She takes him to a private room downstairs that has a lock on the door. They start to kiss, but Katherine stops Michael when he goes a little too fast for her. He asks if she is a virgin, to which Katherine answers yes.

Katherine introduces her father, who is a pharmacist. Later, Katherine invites Michael and Erica over to the house. Michael brings Artie with him. Erica and Artie play backgammon in the kitchen, while Michael and Katherine retreat to the downstairs room. They kiss, but Katherine stops Michael again because he is moving too fast for her. Michael and Artie leave, and Erica spends the night. Erica says that Artie seems shy because he did not even try to kiss her. Then Katherine and Erica discuss their feelings about sex. Erica says that girls do not have to be in love to have sex, but Katherine disagrees.

Chapters 5-7

Jamie plans a big dinner with her grandmother, who has come to stay with the girls while their parents are away. Michael picks Katherine up one night at the hospital where she works as a candy striper. Michael invites Katherine to his school's play. Artie has the lead role, so Katherine then invites Erica to come along. When they get home, Katherine introduces Michael to her grandmother, who later warns Katherine to be careful about pregnancy...

(The entire section is 3,054 words.)