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A Time Best YA Book of All Time (2021). Over 4 million copies sold!

Judy Blume’s groundbreaking novel about first relationships, first love, and…the first time—now with a stunning new look!

The bed is brass, covered with a patchwork quilt, and “nice and firm,” Michael says, “in case you’re interested.”

Katherine is interested.

Katherine and Michael are ready—for each other, for love. Katherine is ready for her first time. They are both ready for this to be forever. They are perfect together, inseparable. Until the summer separates them, and Katherine meets Theo. But she and Michael are truly in love. That means forever. Right? Is this really the love of a lifetime, or the very beginning of a lifetime of love?

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Guide for

Forever . . .

By Judy Blume

1. Describe the Danziger family. Cite scenes and conversations in the novel that reveal how close they are as a family. How are Katherine and Jamie different? In what ways do they admire each other? Occasionally Katherine appears jealous of Jamie’s many talents. At what point does she realize that Jamie looks up to her?

2. How might Katherine describe her friendship with Erica Small? Why does Katherine’s grandmother say that Erica would make a good politician? Compare and contrast Katherine’s and Erica’s views about sex. Why does Erica think it is a good idea to have sex before going to college?

3. Discuss the conversation between Katherine and her grandmother about Michael. (Chapter five) What are Grandma’s concerns about the relationship? Katherine’s grandmother works with Planned Parenthood in New York. How does this work give her a realistic view of teens who are sexually active?

4. Katherine has a very open conversation with her mother about sex. Explain what her mother means when she says, “‘Sex is a commitment.’” (Chapter ten)

5. Katherine’s mother says, “‘I expect you to handle it [sex] with a sense of responsibility.’” (Chapter ten). How does Katherine display a sense of responsibility? Grandma sends Katherine pamphlets about Planned Parenthood. How does this contribute to Katherine’s decision to seek birth control at the Margaret Sanger Clinic? Why do you think Judy Blume included “requirements for safe and responsible sex” in a later edition of the novel?

6. Early in their relationship, Michael asks Katherine if she is a virgin. Why does he say he needs to know? Discuss his response when she asks him if he is a virgin. How does she react when she learns that he had contracted a sexually transmitted disease from a girl he met on the beach in Maine?

7. Katherine is invited to go skiing with Michael in Vermont. Her parents agree when they learn that Sharon, Michael’s sister, and her husband will be there. Discuss the conversation between Katherine and her dad about the trip. Sharon says that Michael is vulnerable, and she worries about him getting hurt. How are these conversations similar?

8. What is Sybil’s role in the novel? Katherine and Erica go to the hospital to see Sybil and her baby girl. Discuss the conversation between them. What are Sybil’s reasons for giving the baby up for adoption? Discuss how Katherine might relay Sybil’s decision to her mother and grandmother.

9. Erica wants to have sex with Artie, but he doesn’t seem interested. Discuss his response when she asks him if he is gay. Artie is a very good actor and has been accepted to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Why does his father disapprove? What does Michael mean by his statement that “‘We can’t do anything to help Artie right now.’” (Chapter eleven)

10. At what point does Katherine begin to question a “forever” commitment to Michael? How does Michael react when she doesn’t answer his letters? Discuss the honest conversation she has with him. What is symbolic about the last two words of the novel: “‘Theo called’”?

11. This novel has been banned or challenged in every decade since its publication in 1975. The primary complaint is “sexual content.” How would you explain to censors the central theme of the novel? How does this theme explain the title of the book?

12. The reference to marijuana is another reason some people want the book banned. Michael’s sister and her husband smoke pot at the ski cabin in Vermont. Why is Katherine surprised that they are into weed? How does she respond when they offer it to her? Discuss ways to explain to censors that the focus should be on Katherine, not Sharon and her husband.

Guide written by Pat Scales, a retired middle and high school librarian who is currently a children’s and young adult literature consultant and specializes in curriculum and free speech issues.

This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

About The Author

Photo © Elena Seibert

Judy Blume, one of America’s most popular authors, is the recipient of the 2004 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. She is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of beloved books for young people, including Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (which celebrated fifty years in 2020), and novels for adult readers, including Wifey, Summer Sisters, and In the Unlikely Event. Her work has been translated into thirty-two languages. Visit Judy at or follow her on Twitter at @JudyBlume.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (July 10, 2012)
  • Length: 208 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442467804
  • Grades: 7 and up
  • Ages: 14 - 99
  • Lexile ® HL590L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Awards and Honors

  • ALA Best of the Best Books for Young Adults

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