Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Review: My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi

My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi
Series: Standalone
Published: April 2nd, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
287 pages (e-ARC)
Genre: Contemporary young adult
Acquired this book: From the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
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Lucy just had the worst week ever. Seriously, mega bad. And suddenly, it's all too much—she wants out. Out of her house, out of her head, out of her life. She wants to be a whole new Lucy. So she does something the old Lucy would never dream of.

And now her life will never be the same. Now, how will she be able to have a boyfriend? What will she tell her friends? How will she face her family?

Now her life is completely different...every moment is a gift. Because now she might not have many moments left.

My Life After Now is a very emotional, authentic look at the life of a teenage girl who seemed to have it all but who made one mistake that changed her life forever. I’ve never read any novels about HIV, and I was curious to see how the author would handle such a serious subject. I think it was brave of Verdi to write this book - HIV is something that doesn’t get talked about enough, and My Life After Now explores it in an honest way that doesn’t sugarcoat things.

This book was a great contemporary read while also being an eye-opener about a very real, very scary subject. Lucy was an average girl - a good student and a talented actress who had great friends, a wonderful family, and a boyfriend. She had a well-balanced life and the only thing that set her apart was the fact she had two dads (which I loved, by the way - Verdi clearly wasn’t afraid to go all out and be different). Lucy’s safe little world was set off-kilter with the arrival of her birth mother, who had been in and out of her life a few other times, and had done nothing but leave Lucy feeling confused and hurt. Between that and other things that made Lucy feel like she was having the worst week ever, she needed an escape. That escape happened to be something a lot of people probably would have done, which made the book that much more real - it showed that one stupid choice, one seemingly harmless mistake can end up having serious, life-changing consequences.

I liked Lucy a lot. There were times I wanted to shake her for the way she acted, but I also understood her motives and her line of thinking. Nobody knows how they would react to life-altering news, and everybody deals with things differently. She didn’t necessarily handle it in the best ways, but she was scared and angry, plus she was only seventeen. Her attitude, actions, and reactions all felt very genuine to me, and I liked her even when I didn’t like what she was doing or how she was acting. What really got to me was the fact that she was sweet and smart with a bright future to look forward to - the exact type of person you would never think would end up sitting in a clinic being told she had HIV.

My Life After Now had all the elements of a great contemporary - strong, likeable heroine, a great cast of secondary characters, romance, and real life problems. Lucy’s best friends Max and Courtney were the type of friends anyone would be lucky to have, and her dads were loving and supportive. I enjoyed the different relationships and dynamics between the characters, and I liked the element of romance and that it wasn’t the main focus of the story.

It was clear that Verdi did her research for this book. Through the eyes of a scared teenage girl, we get to see everything from the types of tests involved when diagnosing HIV to the questions that would be asked by counselors and doctors to the steps required/suggested after diagnosis. I appreciated that the book was educational without ever being the least bit preachy. Sex education is obviously something that needs to be a bigger part of schools and home lessons because many people are still ignorant about STIs (when did they start being called that? I feel so old) and HIV/AIDS. I know that if I had a teenage daughter, I’d want her to read this book.

My Life After Now shed light on a serious subject in a way that was thought provoking, heartbreaking, and yet inspirational. It wasn’t always comfortable, but it was always honest and real. With elements of humour, romance, and personal triumph mixed in with the frightening reality of life with HIV, My Life After Now is a sparkling debut from Jessica Verdi that shouldn’t be missed. 

 Have you read My Life After Now? What did you think? How do you feel about books that deal with tough, real-life situations? What are some of your favourite 'issue' books?



  1. Gosh darn it Marie,you've made me add yet another book to my Amazon Cart for June! This looks amazing and so up my alley.

  2. Okay, SO. No joke - everyone I know who has read this one so far liked it. EVERYONE. You know that's rare? Gah. It's just making me want to read this one so badly. I'm gonna have to try to request the library get it, or wait and hope it goes on sale. NEED to read it.

    I'm happy you liked it because obvi I'LL like it. I like that you thought the subject matter was handled really well, and Lucy having two dads is all kinds of awesome. I can't wait to read it so we can discuss!

  3. This one sounds emotionally intense Marie, I like books which tackle difficult subject matters, especially if they are done in a believable way.

    I haven't heard of it before now but I'm definitely adding it to my TBR pile.

    A great review! x

  4. Yup, I totally realize I'm just now reading this review a year later. That's ok. But the topic is one that is very interesting for me to read about. If you're interested on the topic, I highly suggest reading some of the M/M romance stories that deal with it. There are so many good ones out there.


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