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Stephanie Parent, Reader and Writer

Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.
For Always - Danielle Sibarium For Always might be the only book I’ve ever read with a main character who shares my name—I’ve racked my brain and can’t think of any others—and it was downright eerie how much I could identify with this novel’s Stephanie, right from the very first chapter. Like Stephanie in For Always, I experienced an unusual number of family deaths at a young age, and while I didn’t consciously blame myself the way Stephanie did, it definitely had a huge impact on me. So I could definitely identify with Stephanie as a bit of a loner, with a dark side, never feeling like she quite fits in. I felt for her right away, and I loved her even more for sarcastic lines like “I could only aspire to be a wall flower. I was more like wall glue.”Danielle Sibarium really captured Stephanie’s fourteen-year-old voice in the first section of the novel, and then, about a third of the way through, we skip ahead a few years. I was impressed by how seamlessly the author wove in this transition and by the way she matured Stephanie’s voice while keeping it recognizable.For Always is more of a character than plot-based story, both a coming-of-age tale and, above all, a love story. Even as Stephanie has relationships with other guys, the reader is waiting and hoping for her and friend-neighbor-soul mate Jordan to get together. Sibarium does a great job of depicting these two wounded people who understand each other in a way no one else can, even as both of them—but especially Jordan—keep getting in the way of their own happiness. Stephanie and Jordan’s love can seem fated, larger than life, with one of the most romantic first kisses I’ve ever read. However, even when the events and relationships in For Always seem exaggerated, the emotions beneath them always ring true. Ultimately, For Always is an incredibly romantic story of loss, healing, and hope.