Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson
Published by Wednesday Books: scheduled for Nov. 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Y’all! This book is so. Effing. Fun.
I won the ARC in a Goodreads Giveaway and I could not have been more thrilled! It’s so unbelievably nerdy, every chapter having nerd references that make it that much more fun, if you’re into that (which I most definitely am).
I somehow missed that this is a sequel! So I have not read the first book, but I have now purchased it and can’t wait. And I don’t think anything was ruined for me. I enjoyed this book very much as a standalone.
Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.
1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mother’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.
What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?
This summer’s going to be great.
The writing here is so fun! Very quick-paced, easy to get through. Had I had the time, this is exactly the kind of book I love to read in an afternoon!
The pacing is spot on. No parts of the book lag at all.
This is one of my favorite kinds of stories. I adore books that are easygoing, fun, and not too serious. This is exactly what I was in the mood for. I LOVE books about summer, with cute little romances and there’s just something about going away to camp that I die for. So this, where Ever goes to what is basically a nerdy summer camp (though at a college) was right up my alley.
The characters here are what really make this so worth it! We have a pretty decent-sized ensemble cast, most of whom are distinct characters and easy to keep straight. Some we don’t get to know as well, and that’s how it should be, given the camp situation. But the counselors are fun, and the other kids competing with Ever are really great.
Ever, our narrator, is awesome. She’s such an amazing main character for a lot of reasons. She’s brilliant, funny, a bona fide genius. She’s not extremely girly, opting for running clothes, but she’s also not the typical archetypal character we see. Whenever I read a story about a girl like Ever, there’s a distinct “I’m not like other girls” quality. (For instance, my only problem with WDMR is that Dimple puts down on traditionally girly girls.) We don’t get that with Ever. There’s no jealousy issues, there’s no “I’m not girly so I must not be pretty.” She’s a confident, kickass chick and I love her.
Brandon, our romantic interest for Ever, is awesome. He’s nerdy af, like, so nerdy. He uses a typewriter, for crying out loud. But I think this is super healthy, because here we have another nerdy, nice, decent guy, who is also sexy and whom you’re excited about. I too often see the “bad boy” thing in YA, and I love leading men who break that role.
I also want to say I believe the romance between Ever and Brandon is incredibly realistic and very healthy for teens. It’s not love at first sight; it’s given healthy and real time to develop and that’s so important to me.
We get a couple of really great things, here!
Ever is black, so we get a brilliant, genius black girl as our main character, which is phenomenal. No stereotyping. She’s also quick to call out racism/talk about it in a way that’s not alienating and I think it’s really healthy for any young people reading.
Ever wears her hair natural, she has a full afro, which I love to see! Great shot of this on the cover, too.
We also get an interracial relationship, between her and Brandon, which is awesome (especially because neither make this a big deal, as it shouldn’t be).
And a greatly diverse cast among the side characters, also!
Is that this is a fun, easy read that will most definitely tug at your heartstrings!