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.
Cover design – J. Marison Photo – Ilina Simeonova Rating – 5/5
This is a wonderful cover for My Life After Now. I can’t think of anything better. The composition is great, the positioning and size of the font is perfect. The font is beautiful and so are the colors. The use of red in the dress is eye-catching and a possible nod to the color of the red ribbons symbolizing support of those living with HIV / AIDS. We get a glimpse of Lucy, but still get to imagine her for ourselves. She’s looking ahead, into the future – into her life after now. I love it – every bit of it.
This review is going to chock-full of spoilers starting now, because the publisher decided that it had to be some big mystery what the summary is referring to, and I think that’s just silly. So the big mysterious bad thing is that Lucy slept with a stranger and got HIV. Ok? Moving on. Obviously, since the summary for some reason only hints at what happens, even though it happens pretty early on and then affects the rest of the book, I went into this book with no idea what the big bad thing was. So, first thing to know about this book is that it is not judgmental about things like underage drinking, teens having sex, having multiple sexual partners, or anything along those lines – which is something I appreciate in books that deal with subjects like this. I don’t know anyone living with HIV or AIDS, but I thought that this book felt realistic and dealt with these issues well.
- Lucy – Lucy is your average teenage girl. She has a boyfriend that she thinks about a lot, she loves theater club, she fights with her parents, and her problems seem so massive that they could block out the sun. Lucy acts like a girl her age – she thinks about sex, she escapes with alcohol, etc. She goes through so many emotions in reaction to discovering that she has HIV – she’s in denial, she’s shocked, she’s angry, and she has the guts to confront the guy who infected her. I really like Lucy because she feels like a real person, someone with realistic thoughts and reactions in the face of a horrible situation.
- realistic – The statistics (from Planned Parenthood + the CDC) show that just under half of American high schoolers have had sex, and that the average age reported to begin having sex is 17. So all those CW/Fox/whatever shows that depict teens having sex are probably more realistic than we think they are. At the start of the book, Lucy has only slept with one guy. It’s not like she’s a wild child – her boyfriend is her 1st and only. Recent data estimates 19 million new cases of HIV each year, half of which are in people between 15 and 24 years old. So the chances of Lucy getting HIV during her non-condom-using sexual encounter are higher than I like to think about. Of those teens who reported having sex, about 30% said they did not use a condom the last time they had sex. Condoms are the most effective method of protecting against STDs and STIs during sex. So, getting drunk and having unprotected sex with a stranger whose sexual history is unknown is a pretty good way to put yourself at risk for something, including HIV. What Lucy’s sleazy principal says is right – if it could happen to her it could happen to anyone. Ok, I feel like I’ve been overwhelming you with the numbers, so let’s talk about people’s reactions. When Lucy tells Evan, he stops touching her arm. When the principal finds out, he’s worried that other girls in Lucy’s gym class will be in danger. And when Elyse finds out, she’s worried that she might have it because she had sex with Ty after Lucy did. HIV is not passed through skin-to-skin contact, or sweat, or saliva. Lucy and Ty used a condom, and so did Elyse and Ty – meaning that Elyse can’t have HIV because Lucy never passed it on to Ty. But the various reactions that people have when they find out about Lucy’s HIV are common, real-life reactions.
- Roxie – Roxie becomes a friend and confidant to Lucy. She’s the 1st person that Lucy feels she can open up to about her experiences with HIV and how the world seems to both look at and treat her differently. Roxie is someone who got HIV from her mother during childbirth, so she’s been dealing with being positive for her entire life. She listens to Lucy, and she does all she can to help her through, even if she messes it up and pushes too hard sometimes. Roxie’s tale of how she has to make excuses in order to avoid blood donation days at her office is a great example of how HIV affects unexpected parts of her life. Roxie is the 1st person to tell it like it is in Lucy’s life, the one who gives Lucy a glimpse into the many different ways that HIV can change a life.
- the horrible week – The no-good, terrible, very bad week that drives Lucy to drunken sex with a guy she just met is really not the most earth-shatteringly awful week I had envisioned after reading the summary. Yes, her irresponsible child of a mother unexpectedly shows up to crash at Lucy’s house. But, the rest of the very bad week is just about her jerk of a boyfriend and her jealousy of another wannabe actress. So, her boyfriend is a spineless loser ruled by hormones, and she loses a leading role in the school play to his new squeeze. That definitely sucks, but Lucy’s reaction is that of a teenager who expects everything to be handed to her.
- Ty – I really dislike Lucy’s boyfriend, Ty. From the beginning, he just kind of gave off a cocky, self-important vibe that screamed rotten apple. So when he betrayed and used Lucy I wasn’t at all surprised. I was only disappointed that Lucy went back and forth in her mind between Ty and Evan for so long when Ty was clearly more into himself.
- the principal – In about the last 3rd of the book, there’s a totally gross subplot where the school principal finds out about Lucy’s HIV and is a complete jerk while confronting her about it. First off, since it isn’t effecting Lucy’s education, her STI is absolutely none of the principal’s business. But, because he is ignorant of the subject, the principal sees this as a teaching opportunity at Lucy’s expense. Really, the entire exchange between Lucy and her principal makes me cringe. It is, as Lucy points out, a pretty realistic reaction to her positive status, but it’s even more awful coming from an authority figure – someone Lucy is meant to be able to respect and trust.
- I was different. But right now I was the only one who knew it. And that was the safest place to be. Because if the world outside me became as unrecognizable as the world inside me had, I honestly wouldn’t know what to do. – Lucy (pg. 80)
- “This healthy-feeling time now just feels like a tease. Like I’m in this holding pattern, flying in smooth circles within sight of the airport, in super-comfortable first class. But I can’t enjoy the in-flight movie or free chocolate chip cookies because I know that before the airport is able to make room for us, the plane if going to run out of fuel, and we’re going to crash-land into a fiery, agonizing death.” – Lucy (pg. 148)
Acquired: library book (ebook)