Release Date: April 2nd, 2013
Finished Date: March 15th, 2013
Publishers: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: For Review
Source: For Review
The Review: "Will I die? Will my dads hate me? Will my friends abandon me? Will I ever be able to have sex again? Will I ever be able to have a baby? Will I ever be able to be on Broadway? Will I have to go on medication? Will anyone ever love me?"
I hadn't heard of My Life After Now until I was asked to take part in the blog tour and seriously, how haven't I heard of it? I honestly don't know but I started it Thursday afternoon and by the next morning, I was finished. Talk about an addictive read!
My Life After Now follows Lucy - a sixteen year old teenager who loves acting. She goes to school, she has a boyfriend, she has the best friends and the greatest parents. But when her boyfriend breaks up with her and her unreliable mother returns, Lucy needs to let her hair down. So, she does what any normal teenager would do. She goes to a party and gets drunk. The only problem is, she wakes up the next morning next to a complete stranger and realises she's had unprotected sex with him. As the weeks go by, Lucy tries to put it out of her mind but some thing's can't be forgotten, especially when she finds out she tested positive for HIV.
I don't even know where to start by telling you how great this story is. It brings so much awareness to people and really is an eye opening read. We all know about HIV and how serious it is but, out of all the books I've read over the last few years, this is the first time I've ever read about it. Lucy's situation is probably like many people's who have HIV, people go out and have a good time, and sleep with someone without protection and then suddenly, their whole life has changed. This was the case for Lucy. Once she found out she had tested positive, everything changed in that one moment, and gosh did my heart go out to her. I can't imagine being sixteen years old and being in that situation.
I thought Lucy handled everything as well as can be expected. It took her time to realise that her life wasn't over - that she'd just have to amended her life to fit in with her situation.
Character wise, Lucy was really easy to connect to and even with the drama, she was a very down to earth character. I loved her connection to her parents and her relationship with her friends was entertaining. Evan became a very stronger fixture in her life and he really was a strong person Lucy could lean on. Even though he did have a bit of a freak out moment when he found out about her, he recovers quiet well.
What I also liked about this book was the fact that Lucy had two dads - yep, her parents are gay. It's another thing I've never read about and I think it's something that should be wrote about more because this is another life situation that is becoming more common.
In all, My Life After Now is a remarkable and beautifully written story that brings a lot of awareness to teenagers about HIV. Jessica Verdi's work is up their with the likes of Janet Gutler - who also brings a lot of awareness out through her writing.
Guest Post by Jessica Verdi
Though MY LIFE AFTER NOW covers serious issues, there is always an underlying feeling of hope, lightness, and even humor. In this post, Jessica comments on how she takes an extremely serious subject and gives it an upbeat/positive perspective.
My writer friends always tell me they can spot a “Jess book” a mile away.
[Jess . Book (jes-boo k) noun: A young adult novel that approaches a super serious subject in a light, hopeful way.]
My Life After Now is the epitome of a Jess book. Because it’s about HIV/AIDS, it is of course extremely serious and sad at times, and some would say even envelope-pushing, as HIV—particularly HIV contracted from unprotected sex—isn’t a topic that has been covered very much (or at all) in YA thus far.
But here’s the thing: the book is not just about HIV. It’s about a character. A character who has a very full life. And I felt strongly that if I was going to write a story about this issue, I had to do my character justice—she couldn’t just be a walking statistic.
My main character, Lucy, is very involved in theater. So one of the main settings of the book is her high school drama club—and all that entails. A Diva with a capital D, a Broadway chorus boy turned director, and the gorgeous male lead who all the girls—and some of the boys—lust after. Lucy also has some amazing friends—from hopeless romantic Courtney to sassy, boy-crazy Max. And then Lucy meets Roxie—a girl who’s so damn upbeat all the time that you’d never guess how tough her life has really been.
Additionally, I tried to infuse even the most serious of scenes with bits of lightness and humor, to balance out the intensity of the moment and explore what a teenage girl might actually be thinking in these sorts of situations. One of my favorite moments in the book is when Lucy is in line, waiting for her HIV results. The woman in line ahead of her asks Lucy to watch her two little kids while she goes in to get her own results, and suddenly Lucy, who has never babysat before, finds herself having to rein in two very lively, curious young children while she’s waiting for what may be the biggest news of her life.
Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you enjoy Lucy’s story!