Friday, March 22, 2013

Review: My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi

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My Life After Now
Jessica Verdi
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication date: April 2nd 2013
by Sourcebooks Fire

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.

A copy was provided by Sourcebooks Fire for review

I find it amazing when a book can be both a great read and an eye opener at the same time. HIV is a very misunderstood disease, and it’s especially heartbreaking when teenagers fall prey to it. This is made even worse when an already terrible disease is so misconstrued that it makes those infected feel like lepers. It’s not uncommon to see people afraid of touching, or even being in the same room, as a person with HIV–even though most know it can’t be transmitted through touch or kissing. Lack of education on the subject is what’s to blame. It’s obvious that Jessica took time to do her research on HIV/AIDS. She gives us a teenager’s personal insight on what it’s like to live with this disease. Every single perspective of a life changes after a positive HIV test, which is what we experience first hand when Lucy gets hers. I’m impressed at how Jessica was able to point out the importance of safe sex without pointing out anything at all–the story does it on its own. We all take sex-ed classes in school, but nothing sticks as well as a story like this. I wish all teens would read it! All the while, she keeps the book engaging with wonderful characters who take us through this emotional journey.

Lucy, actress and drama club star, does not have the easiest life, and one night out to escape it all will change her life forever. An impressively sympathetic character, Lucy is a sweet sweet girl with a bright future ahead of her. Sure she’s going through a rough time but she’s paying the ultimate price for doing something that was very out of her character for her; something that happens to the best of us. We all make mistakes, and knowing how grave the consequences of hers will be really tugged at my heart from the start. I couldn’t stop imagining myself in her shoes, which is incredibly easy with Lucy’s accessible voice. I found myself pondering what my own response would be upon finding out something so devastating. How much my life would change? Who would I tell? How would my family/friends react? How would I react? The book really makes you live her story. It’s so easy to imagine exactly how Lucy feels; it’s tragic, really. At least she has a great support system, even if some don’t even know it. Her family, though unconventional with a spastic disappearing mother and two fathers, are very loving and caring. I adored her fathers they were well rounded and extremely down to earth as far as parents go. I also loved her friends and fellow drama club members. Everyone, including the jerks, evens those with the smallest roles, gives off a lot of energy and personality.

What I loved the most about this book, though, is how inspiring it is. It may have an especially difficult topic that brings out a lot of sadness and regret, but it’s not a depressing read. It’s about acceptance; about learning to live your life with your illness, not letting your illness become your life. Lucy, as well as myself, learned a lot during this novel, I found her so inspiring, even through her mistakes and breakdowns. I only wish I knew her for longer. The book spans a fairly short time in her life which left me longing for a bigger glimpse at the future, even just an epilogue would have been great. Not only her future either, but Roxie’s too; for the small supporting role she holds this girl really leaves a lasting impression!

An incredible issue book that holds heartbreaking as well as uplifting emotions in perfect balance, My Life After Now is a thought provoking page-turner that may even shed light on such a darkly misunderstood disease. I also have a new appreciation for the cover which is such a perfect representation of the book in the most symbolic of ways.

4 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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26 Responses to “Review: My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi”

  1. Amy

    This sounds really good. You know how I love books that tackle tough subject matter. I have only read one book that was about HIV, but it wasn’t the MC, it was a secondary character in it. I really liked that book though. I really love books that make you think and this seems like a book that really does that. Awesome review babe!!

  2. Michelle

    When I heard about this book I definitely knew I wanted to read it, even though it sounds super scary!! I mean you never know where the people you’re with have been and where those people have been etc. Really this could happen to anyone, but you never think it will happen to you… SO SCARY! This is the first review I’ve read of it, and I’m glad to hear it’s not super depressing! Thanks for the review 🙂

  3. Kelley @ Another Novel Read

    What a lovely review! It’s definitely not every day that you find a book handling tough issues like HIV. And to know that it’s done so well is really encouraging. Contemporary is usually not my thing, but I feel like I’d be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t read this book. It’s going on my to-read list right now.

  4. Mel@Thedailyprophecy

    I love the concept of this book. I haven’t read any book about HIV before. I’m happy that it isn’t a depressing book and Lucy seems like a great character. Thanks for the review Giselle 🙂

  5. Maggie

    This book sounds so fascinating. Just reading about it makes me feel so sad and part of me doesn’t want to read it because of that, but your review is great and I know I’d probably really enjoy it so I’m definitely going to pick it up.

  6. Aman

    oh WoW. This sounds like an amazing book and something I’m going to buy the minute it is out. I love when you learn something after reading a book and for some reason, I’m always interested in the genetics behind diseases and how it affects a person’s life. Fabulous review, Giselle!

  7. Kristilyn (Reading In Winter)

    This looks really, really good — I love that cover, too. Gorgeous! I love a good issue book, especially one that is about something that isn’t written about a lot. I read a book last year about Huntington’s Disease and it was a nice change of pace from reading books that all seem so alike.

    Great review!

  8. Nick

    Beautiful review, Giselle. This book was on my WoW, so I’m very excited to hear that it’s well-written. It’s so good to know that the author did her research before writing the book. That’s always important when you’re dealing with something as realistic as HIV.
    Lucy sounds like a really brave girl and it’s interesting how this book was an eye opener for you.
    I will definitely be reading this title now.

  9. Christina

    The most powerful way to convince a reader isn’t by giving lectures on the value of safe sex; it’s just presenting a story and letting people draw their own consequences. Always great when authors get that right!

    Also, I had NO idea what this was about. I definitely want to read it now, but I need to be in the mood for this kind of book. Disease books still intimidate me.

  10. Jasprit

    This is such a gorgeous review Giselle, I love it when an author takes a such a serious issue and works with is realistically well, I started My Life After Now the other day and I’m enjoying it a lot too! 🙂

  11. Molli

    Just, this entire review makes me want to get my hands on this book EVEN MORE than I already did/wanted to. Lucy sounds like an amazing, inspiring character, and I hope when I do read it, I love her. Thanks for talking this one up and keeping it on my radar, Giselle!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  12. Ashley

    Awesome review! I’m so happy to hear that you loved this book because I’m dying to read it! I would have cried a river if it turned out to be a flop. I can’t wait to get my hands on it! It sounds so powerful and informative.

  13. Danny

    Everyone talks about this book. I really love how it taggles such a tough subject and I love that everyone points out that there is so much hope and fun in the book. Still, I’m a sucker for happy endings *sigh*

  14. Renae M.

    I have yet to see a YA novel deal with something like HIV (I did read Tell the Wolves I’m Home; however that’s not exactly YA). After reading this review, though, I really need to add this to my wishlist. It sounds really amazing, and I love that the author branched out and tried something that’s not often seen in realistic fiction.

  15. Anatea Oroz

    I’m really excited to read this one. HIV is a sensitive topic and I’m glad Jessica did a good job on researching this disease, it makes me want to read this book even more now knowing that she did a good job. Great review Giselle!

  16. Kat Balcombe

    I’m really looking forward to this one – HIV isn’t really in the public eye as much as it was in the past, and I’m so glad to hear that the sadness is balanced with inspiration. Great review 😀

  17. Lauren

    Wow this one sounds fascinating! I’m glad to hear the author manages to drive a safe sex message home without being preachy. And it’s wonderful to hear that this isn’t depressing, but rather full of hope. It’s so refreshing to see a character focus on living with the illness and not letting it overcome their life and completely define them. Beautiful review!

  18. Amanda

    I don’t think I can recall any book – YA or adult – that really focuses on HIV/AIDS. I’m sure they’re out there, but for some reason I haven’t heard of them. I definitely think that there is such a stigma against this disease that people are unwilling or unable to understand the basic facts, which is definitely problematic. This book sounds incredibly heartwreching but also something that really needs to be read. I’ll just have to make sure I’m in the right mood to read this sort of book!

  19. Alexa Y.

    This book sounds very different, as I don’t think I’ve read one that tackles AIDS or HIV. I’m glad that you ended up feeling like it was done well, and that the main character was someone you ended up liking.

  20. Carole

    Hi, I just noticed this review and wondered if you would like to link it in to the current monthly collection of books that people loved on Carole’s Chatter. This is the link There are already over 40 books linked in that you might be interested in. It would be great if you came on over. Cheers