Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Review: My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi
by Jessica Verdi
Published: April 2, 2013
Publisher: 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.
My Thoughts: My Life After Now is a wonderful, heartbreaking story about a normal teenage girl who makes one bad choice that changes the rest of her life forever. Lucy is happy, has a boyfriend, Ty, who she has been with for 1-1/2 years, she is on the drama team, and is gearing herself towards a career in acting. She has some really good friends, Max and Courtney, and she lives with her two dads, who care very much about her. When her arch nemesis shows up at her school and takes not only her lead in the play, but also makes a play for her boyfriend, Lucy is not a happy camper. Then, when her birth mother shows up at her home again, that pushes Lucy over the edge emotionally and she just wants a night away from all the drama. Lucy, Max, and Courtney go into the city for a night on the town, equipped with fake ID's and everything. They wind up in a club, dancing, drinking too much, and when the hot guitar player in the band notices Lucy, she is thrilled. When she wakes up the next morning, she realizes what a mistake she has made, but it isn't until a month later, when she meets a new boy and is considering taking things further in her relationship, that her "one mistake" really catches up with her. Lucy decides to get tested for STD's, since she isn't sure if her "one-nighter" used protection. When she gets the results from her test, Lucy's world is forever changed. Lucy has HIV. One night, one mistake, fear of death, fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, guilt, disappointment, depression, and grief, all these emotions overwhelm her. Everything changes, centering around this one fact, as Lucy comes to terms with and learns how to live with her life after now.
This is such a tragic story. Lucy is really a good girl and not one to get into trouble. She know about safe sex, and one night of losing her inhibitions to alcohol results in something totally out of character for Lucy. Her story is devastating. My heart broke with her as she suffered through the denial, fear of having the disease, and sinks into a deep depression feeling like she can't talk about it with anyone. When she does finally open to someone, their reaction to her and her news sends her into an even deeper depression. Finally, her dads decide it is time for intervention and she breaks down and tells them everything. My Life After Now chronicles Lucy's journey into the place of acceptance, taking one day at a time, addressing the stigma she faces associated with the disease, the fear of people knowing, the ignorance surrounding it, and the love and support from friends and family, and support groups with people in similar situations, that combined can make life worth living again.
Jessica Verdi has done an outstanding job in writing My Life After Now, and has obviously done a great deal of research on the subject of HIV and AIDS. I especially liked how the author honed in on the fact that in recent years education about the disease, the way it's transmitted, the treatment options, etc., has really diminished when compared to the education and awareness that took place even a decade ago, highlighting the need for continued education on the subject, especially for those in high school. The story itself allows you to connect with Lucy and experience through her character, what it's like to find out this has happened to you. The book is extremely well written. The author has also incorporated much needed information regarding the importance of treatment, the emotional issues surrounding the disease, awareness about the disease and modes of transmission, and the need for support both physically and emotionally. The story also provides hope, showing that people with this disease can still have a life, find love, and move forward. Jessica Verdi even provides a discussion guide regarding the subject to go along with the book, as well as providing further resource information links regarding the disease and its treatment. My Life After Now is not only an excellent novel, it is a great teaching tool and I most definitely recommend it.
Jessica Verdi is a young adult author who writes envelope-pushing stories about not-so-pretty real-life issues, but always with a positive spin.