Thursday, June 9, 2016

What Happens Now ~ Jennifer Castle (earc) review [@Jennifer_Castle @HarperTeen @epicreads]

What Happens Now
Harper Teen
June 07, 2016
384 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

"I know what it is to want something so badly, you feel like your cells aren’t properly bonded together without it.
I also know what it’s like to get that something.
And honestly, I’m still not sure which is worse..."

Ari Logan is battling to win her war against depression and the dark night she hurt herself on purpose. It’s not easy: her best friend is drifting away, her mom’s emotionally checked out, and she spends her days playing caregiver to her handful of a half-sister, Danielle. But it’s summer, and anything is possible...

That’s when Camden Armstrong steps onto the beach of Ari’s local swimming lake.

At first, Ari quietly longs for Camden from afar, seeing in him everything she wants to be. When the two discover a true connection the following summer, Ari lets herself fall not just for the quirky and self-assured Camden but also his friends, tumbling into their world of independence, adventure, and shared sci-fi fandom. As Ari’s romantic dreams come true, she must unlock the mysteries of the very real and troubled boy behind her infatuation, while also struggling with her own demons, obligations, and loyalties.

From the award-winning author of "The Beginning of After" and "You Look Different in Real Life," "What Happens Now" is a touching, insightful novel about learning to heal, learning to love, and what happens when fantasy becomes reality.

There is something I find really unique - and love - about the tone of Jennifer Castle's novels. I still can't figure out just how to explain it, but I'll try. They deal with some weighty, complicated issues: death, depression, growing up, troubled family situations, growing up, figuring yourself out. All of those things are tackled realistically and skillfully, yet the books themselves never feel . . . heavy?

Something about the overall tone isn't as heavy or dark as another book on similar theme would be, but there's also never any indifference or a lack of understanding the gravity of that situation, feeling, emotion, circumstance, etc.

That's all very true in What Happens Now, too. Whether or not you've experienced depression like Ari or your family or what they expect of you is anything like Ari's, whether you get fandom or think it's weird, whether a summer crush has ever become anything more (or not), Ari is a character you can identify with. Her life, her feelings, and her decisions are all so very real.

"My mom was working hard to finish nursing school. My stepdad, Richard, was gone most days, manning his art supply store. . . .I filled the gaps. Sometimes it felt like there were more gaps than whatever it was that went between the gaps." 

I really loved the different elements of Ari's character. There was the depression she was trying to overcome, yes, but also  how she was with her little sister, Dani, her love of the old sci-fi TV show Silver Arrow, her past with her mother and how it was different from the present.

I enjoyed how Camden and his friends are introduced to the story and that there's who he (and they) are to her at first and then who they become. The intricacies of their relationships added something to the usual main character a and main character b romance.

I loved the characters, who they each were individually and to each other and what they were all dealing with. This very real and authentic story of a teenage girl, her friends, her family, her dreams and desires (and some of theirs, too). All told through ennifer Castle's fantastic, lovely writing

(Also, can Jennifer Castle be in charge of a school/designing a school setup? Please?)

received for review from publisher, via Edelweiss

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