Always Isn’t Forever
J. C. Cervantes
Published June 6, 2023
About Always Isn’t Forever
Best friends and soul mates since they were kids, Hart Augusto and Ruby Armenta were poised to take on senior year together when Hart tragically drowns in a boating accident. Absolutely shattered, Ruby struggles to move on from the person she knows was her forever love.
Hart can’t let go of Ruby either…. Due to some divine intervention, he’s offered a second chance. Only it won’t be as simple as bringing him back to life–instead, Hart’s soul is transferred to the body of local bad boy.
When Hart returns to town as Jameson, he realizes that winning Ruby back will be more challenging than he’d imagined. For one, he’s forbidden from telling Ruby the truth. And with each day he spends as Jameson, memories of his life as Hart begin to fade away.
Though Ruby still mourns Hart, she can’t deny that something is drawing her to Jameson. As much as she doesn’t understand the sudden pull, it can’t be ignored. And why does he remind her so much of Hart? Desperate to see if the connection she feels is real, Ruby begins to open her heart to Jameson–but will their love be enough to bridge the distance between them?
I feel like I’ve seen a lot of books by J. C. Cervantes, but this is the first one I’ve ever read. Since it was compared to YOU’VE REACHED SAM, I really wanted to check it out.
It took me a few chapters to get into the story and really fall in love with Hart and Ruby. I’m not sure why, but once I invested, I felt like it was really easy to enjoy the story.
Some of the mechanics of the plot do require a bit of willing suspension of disbelief. As Jameson, Hart has a super limited amount of time in which he’ll retain his memories of his life as Hart. Once that passes, he’ll have Jameson’s memories but still be Hart in spirit or soul. The rules of Hart’s exchange (his soul in Jameson’s body) state that he can’t tell anyone the truth about who he is and what happened.
There’s a bit of dancing around the edges of those rules and bending them here and there. I think it might be harder to enjoy the story if you needed the spiritual/afterlife side of it to make perfect sense and be perfectly self-consistent.
Fortunately, I found it pretty easy to suspend my disbelief because I wanted to know if and how Ruby and Hart could find one another again. I’m always up for a “Can true love conquer all?” type of story, and this one definitely delivered on that trope.
All in all, I can see fans of YOU’VE REACHED SAM or THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END liking this one. It’s a great light summer book with a sweet love story.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Hart and Ruby are Latine. Ruby’s sister Gabi is in a relationship with another girl.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used somewhat frequently.
Kissing between boy and girl. References to sex. Ruby and Hart agreed to wait until college to have sex.
Hart meets an angel after his death who gives him a choice to return to life with his soul in the body of someone else.
Ruby’s sister Gabi has a tarot card deck made for her by Ruby’s aunt. When she does a reading with this deck, Gabi senses her ancestors speaking to her. The readings are always insightful and accurate.
Vague descriptions of a drowning death. Vague descriptions of a motorcycle accident. A player is injured during a game of football.
Hart learns Jameson was under the influence of alcohol when he crashed his motorcycle. Jameson drank a lot of alcohol, but Hart doesn’t.
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