Now Is Everything – Amy Giles – HarperTeen – Published 7 November 2017
The McCauleys look perfect on the outside. But nothing is ever as it seems, and this family is hiding a dark secret.
Hadley McCauley will do anything to keep her sister safe from their father. But when Hadley’s forbidden relationship with Charlie Simmons deepens, the violence at home escalates, culminating in an explosive accident that will leave everyone changed.
When Hadley attempts to take her own life at the hospital post-accident, her friends, doctors, family, and the investigator on the case want to know why. Only Hadley knows what really happened that day, and she’s not talking.
I’m not sure I will be able to write this review without crying. And I’m not sure if they would be tears of heartbreak, overwhelming relief, or joy. Simple words will not do justice to this incredible book. It captured my attention, enthralled my curiosity, and, most of all, worked its way into my heart. There is something so important in this book, so vital we must share it and shout it from roof tops. The survival, the resilience, the importance of friendship and love in this book, the display of emotions and fear and strength is truly amazing. It all makes Now Is Everything such a vibrant, heartbreaking, and incredible book.
Now. Hadley faces the aftermath of a deadly plane crash. There are people investigating, but Hadley isn’t talking, not about the crash, not about life before the crash. Then. Hadley wakes every morning, faces every day with the single purpose of protecting her younger sister. Hadley must get perfect grades, captain a successful lacrosse team, be a good friend, and hide the truth of her home life – from everyone. She never expected to get a chance with her long-time crush, Charlie Simmons. She never expected to fall for him the way she does. She never expected the way he would understand her and become such an important part of her life. But the situation at home is escalating, and Hadley knows she is running out of time and options.
Now Is Everything is written from Hadley’s perspective, both from ‘now’, after the plane crash, and ‘then’, back months ago leading up until the events of ‘now’. This was done superbly. There are far more ‘then’ sections than ‘now’, but the balance was perfect. My curiosity was piqued right from the start. I was constantly asking, ‘what happened?’ We readers are slowly fed pieces to the mysteries of this novel. And just when I thought I had it all figured out, the whole thing would shift, a new layer would be added, and my heart would break all over again.
This book was beautifully written. It was so easy to get into Hadley’s head. And despite at first not fully understanding the extend of events and her life, my heart went out to her. There was a wonderful balance between lighthearted moments and true pain and despair. The themes of surviving, speaking up, and providing support against violence, abuse, and neglect is so important for YA literature. And Now Is Everything is an exemplar.
The romance is an incredible part of this book. It is intense and consuming, but in no way does it detract from the gravity of the main storyline and themes. Instead, it only adds to the brilliance of this novel. It gives Hadley something else for which to fight. Charlie is so incredibly sweet and supportive. I loved it when he would get nervous or awkward when trying to woo Hadley. He isn’t perfect, but he is perfect for Hadley, and I loved the way he both pushed and supported her, was patient but never ignored or stayed silent about the important things.
Friendship also plays a huge role in this story. Hadley is fortunate to have two supportive best friends. But she is equally good at hiding everything from them, just like she protects and hides the truth from her sister. Hadley continually risks herself to protect those around her, and in that lies the true message of this novel.
With Now is Everything, Amy Giles delivers a stunning debut that is both thrilling and romantic. Now Is Everything offer timely themes, strong characters, and an incredible story of one girl’s strength, bravery, and resilience.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Family, physical abuse, emotional abuse, domestic violence, friendship, relationships, love, support, sisters, child abuse.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Sexual references, implied sex scenes, discussions about sexual relationships and safe sex. Coarse language, f*** (23), sh** (28), pi** (7), as***** (10), bit** (5), di** (3). Mature themes surrounding abuse, self harm and attempted suicide.
Published: 7 November 2017 by HarperTeen.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 368 pages.
ISBN: 9780062495730, 0062495739
If you liked this, try The End of Our Story by Meg Haston