Anyhow, the first book of the year, well, it's not really anything special. This is to say, I didn't really pick it for any special reason, like people do. It's a book the randomizer chose from the thundering neglected hordes on my Kindle. So yeah, the randomizer followed me right into 2018. The simple changing of the year didn't transform me into a capable decision-maker. The foundations of the world? We won't shake them too hard just yet.
Anyway, the first book of 2018. It's My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi.
In a space of the week, Lucy's world crumbles - the role and the boy both go to theater-camp competitor and high school interloper, Elyse. When her undependable biological mother shows up at her house trying to make yet another new start, that's Lucy's final straw. One foolish night of fleeing her problems for an uncharacteristic night of clubbing in NYC is all it takes to change Lucy's life forever. Now Lucy has a deadly secret she can't tell anyone, and the one person she does tell validates her worst fears.
My feelings about My Life After Now were tremendously mixed. The beginning of the story seemed wildly exaggerated. I understand that this almost absurdly bad week had to happen to drive the rest of the plot, but the speed with which things come undone was blatantly unrealistic. The end, as well, fails in realism, with resolutions that seem to come together far to easily and with too few questions asked.
In the middle, though, My Life After Now really shined. Lucy's terror and shame at what she has done and the diagnosis she receives is expertly rendered. Her unwillingness to open up to her parents and her friends about what happened and the consequences, for fear of their judgement, disappointment, disbelief, or fear is entirely convincing. When the truth does have to come out, as the truth always does, Lucy has become so isolated and afraid that her relief is palpable. Her coming to terms with living her new life is expertly handled. While My Life After Now suffers a little from a certain YA tendency to wrap things up too nicely and easily, it's ultimately an addictive read about a relatable narrator facing a different diagnosis than is tackled in any of those other YA "sick kid" novels you may have read, which makes it a welcome addition to the genre and well worth a read.
"If you test positive, how do you think you will react?" she rephrased.
What kind of a question was that? How would anyone know how they would react until actually put in that situation? That was like asking what you would do if you woke up to find your house was on fire. Would you run out immediately? Stop to call 911? Look for your cat? Put on your shoes? Dash around collecting valuables? Until you’re actually in that burning building, flames scorching your skin, there’s no way to know for sure.