For All Time, by Shanna Miles
Imprint: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 28th, 2021
Page Count: 368 pages
Content Warnings: racism (includes segregation, physical violence, use of slurs), colorism, pandemic, illness, hospital, injury, misogyny, threat of rape, death of a loved one, plane crash, brief mention of suicide. themes of war, colonialism, displacement, violence.
*I received an e-ARC from Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers and Turn the Page Tours free of charge, and my opinions are completely my own.*
You know why fairytales suck? Not because they create unrealistic relationship ideals for girls, even though they do; it’s because Cinderella and those other hags just sat around and waited for something to happen. They waited and talked to birds and wished and hoped, and eventually some handsome kidnapper appeared out of the blue sky and set their life in motion. In real life you have to actually do something. You have to get off your btt and send Prince Charming a text if you want a chance at happily ever after.
Tamar is a musician, a warrior, a survivor. Fayard? He’s a pioneer, a hustler, a hopeless romantic.
Together, Tamar and Fayard have lived a thousand lives, seen the world build itself up from nothing only to tear itself down again in civil war. They’ve even watched humanity take to the stars. But in each life one thing remains the same: their love and their fight to be together. One love story after another. Their only concern is they never get to see how their story ends. Until now.
When they finally discover what it will take to break the cycle, will they be able to make the sacrifice?
I enjoyed reading For All Time for the most part - the relationship between Fayid and Tamar is almost too sickeningly cute, making me ship them from the start. Their banter, easy friendship, and desire in making sure the other is happy is the new bar that I shall raise all relationships to. Miles’ characterizations helped to save the story as a whole for me. In theory, the concept plot is amazing - two lovers across lifetimes keep remeeting and being torn apart by death. However, in practice, For All Time seems to have bitten off more than it could chew with the multiple timelines-plot. As much as I want it to have succeeded, I turned off my Kindle after finishing For All Time feeling confused, but contentedly so. If you were to ask me now, I cannot answer any questions about why the plot happened, just that I was glad it ended the way it did.
However, Miles does fantastically with her written prose - I kept getting swept away by the beautiful sentiments she put in For All Time. Thus, I have to include my absolute favorite quotes from For All Time! From the funniest of observations to the deepest sorrows, these are the lines that haunted me during and after my reading:
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall. I wish I didn’t look like shit before the ball.”
And just like that, I don’t care that I’ve got a purse full of inhalers or that the dress I bought only a month ago is a little loose. I’m just happy to be alive and seventeen.
You can’t trust a man who’ll give up his dignity for spare change. A guy like that will trade your life for his, or worse.
“Sometimes great things end, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t great.”
My music is a girl who behaves like a boy: flat shoes and comfortable slacks, loudmouthed and ready to take on the world. My music is black in a place where black isn’t an insult: it’s shining, proud, and unworried.
He saw what I saw. I’m not just a girl who got greedy and he’s not just a boy on a train. There is something else pulsating between us, real and elemental, like ocean currents.
“We’re running away,” he says.
“Oh!” I reply, and place my hand on my cheek in mock surprise. “Can I ask where to, dark prince?”
“To the moon. To the stars.”
“You know,” I say, “one of the first markers of civilization is the existence of art, very often music. Music is a marker of life. It’s ironic that it can now be an instrument of death.”
“You’ve met me before. You’ve grown to know me in your dreams, in all those other lives you’ve watched play out in your mind your whole life. I know you have because I’ve seen them too. We’re together. Always. You trusted me then. Do you trust me now?”
“I’ll make you a promise. Since neither of us believes in coincidences and fate is a cruel but consistent bitch, we’ll know that if she brings us back together, it must be inevitable. But we have to put in the effort. We have to be selfish, make hard decisions, do the things we want and need to do. It’s the only way we’ll know for sure.”
When you read, can you imagine the characters breaking out into song and maybe even a cool dance sequence? Can you see a duet between the two leads as they discover their feelings for each other? Or do specific songs pop up in your mind that could be applied to specific scenes? Well, so do I! You can get a little glimpse into my fan-musical by listening to my For All Time Book Tour playlist right here.
Are you still not sure about reading For All Time? I don’t know why you are, but if you like these books:
My Name is Memory, by Ann Brashares
A Swiftly Tilting Planet, by Madeleine L’Engle
The Sun Is Also A Star, by Nicola Yoon
The Sound of Stars, by Alechia Dow
Then you’d definitely want to grab a copy of For All Time!
The super awesome thing is that For All Time is out as of tomorrow! You can get a copy from your local bookstore or library, or you can get a copy online. Click on these buy links and you can get your own copy at the following links.
Many thanks to Turn the Page Tours for allowing me to join the For All Time book tour! You can check out the rest of the tour stops on their Tour Schedule webpage.
Shanna Miles is an author, reviewer and librarian who lives in Georgia with her two daughters, and educator husband and advocates tirelessly for appropriate representation for marginalized people in children’s fiction. Her passion is Paranormal Romance, but she also has a deep affinity for diverse Science Fiction like that of Octavia Butler and Sherri L. Smith. “Willow Born” is Shanna Miles’ latest work.