Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Book Review : Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga

Rating: Unrated | 304 pages | Balzer + Bray | Contemporary | 11/07/2017 | 

Book Review

Here We Are Now is the captivating story of a family being broken apart and brought back together at the same time. At just 304 pages Warga tells this very insular story about family, loss and love. I mean once this story knows where it wants to go it hits all the marks.

Taliah Abbaldat summer afternoon takes a dramatic turn when the father she has never knew, famous rock star Julian Oliver. shows up on her doorstep. Julian is facing  the impending loss of the father he had a tumultuous relationship with. Inspired by the impending loss Julian finds himself  ready to do right by his own daughter before it is to late. Together  Taliah and Julian set off for his small hometown together as they begin to unearth the murky waters of her parent's relationship. I was very tempted to comp this to a Sara Dessen novel but there is a sense of closeness and focus on character building  to this narrative that makes it less so.

I've complained on multiple occasions about the Jerk Dad in YA. Warga really adds some nuance here.  I mean, you think when you hear a YA book features a famous dad you know what it is going to be but Warga turns it on it's head. You start to feel for the struggle Julia is going through trying to figure out being a father. Warga does a deep dive into the parent's back story in the late 90's, and I am all for YA novels that have interesting and dynamic parents. There is even some fun back and forth between Taliah being a young millennial and Julian being a Gen Xer.

My only issue with this book was the "love interest" felt slightly tacked on and took me out of the narrative. I'm pretty sure if you take it out it doesn't change that much of the story. It doesn't even show up until 1/3 of the way in and I was hoping there wouldn't be one.

I hesitated to read Warga's debut novel because of the suicide aspect, but I enjoyed this one so much that I may go and revisit it.

I'm not a music person (Cause I did not know the title was a Nirvana lyric. Speaking of I guess Julian is a Kurt Cobain expy) and music serves as a bond for Julian and Taliah

Check out the audiobook review at AudioFile Magazine !

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