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.
(Description from Goodreads)
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I wasn’t sure how to approach this book at first. After reading the synopsis, I was both intrigued and worried about how well the book would play out. There are many touchy subjects included and I was very curious to see how the author would go about addressing them. Of course, it all depends on how you look at those subjects. However, I must say I am very impressed with how Verdi tackled each subject.
I’m not going to lie, I hardly know anything about AIDS and HIV; I knew about as much as Lucy, the main character, knew before she learned more about her recent disease. Not only was this an entertaining read, but it was also incredibly informative, especially for teenagers who may not know much about the disease and are curious. It is a very difficult concept to grasp about how the disease can affect a person with it. While many believe it is a signed death certificate for those with it, Verdi did her research and showed the reader, through Lucy, that those with the disease are fully capable of living a normal, typical life; however, Verdi does make sure to include that this can be done through the use of medications, as well as sometimes support groups.
Everyone makes mistakes. Lucy learned that the hard way in My Life After Now. A rising drama star at her high school, Lucy’s world begins to crumble when one bad thing after another happens over the course of a week. Not being able to take it anymore, she goes out with her friends drinking one night…and ends up making a mistake that changes her life forever. Many people can relate with Lucy on the level of making mistakes that they wish they could take back; however, some mistakes are more grave than others. Lucy was a very believable character and was very easy to relate to. While I am no longer a teenager myself, I was still able to connect with Lucy throughout the entire book and I know teenagers who read this book will be able to as well. The book was absolutely heartbreaking and was very difficult to watch Lucy go through so many struggles, especially at such a young age. I even began to question what I would do if I were Lucy and were in that same situation. Seriously though, think about it…what would you do if you took a test and it came back positive for HIV? How would you react? Honestly, I don’t think many of us would take it well…I know I wouldn’t. But Lucy had an amazing support system as well. The characters in this book were ALL outstanding. I was very impressed with the development of the characters; I don’t say I like all of the characters in a book that often, but for this one, I do. Lucy’s dads were so supportive of her, even though at first they went through the typical motions of first learning of the disease she now had. And while Lucy was trying to protect herself and her friends, her friends remained loyal, even if there was a period of time when it wasn’t clear to them what was going on. I feel Lucy was very lucky to have the support system she had. Plus, she started to attend meetings with other people who had the disease and could relate to her better; though Lucy wasn’t a fan of sharing during the meetings, I think it helped her immensely.
My Life After Now brings so much awareness to a disease that not only is taboo to most, but isn’t talked about all too often. While there are sex education classes in high school, nobody every pays attention to what is being taught (at least I know I never did…probably should have.) Personally, I think this is a YA book that should be read by all teenagers. Not only is the story easy to relate to, but it also shows that these types of things can happen to ANYONE. People always think “oh that would never happen to me…” but you truly never know. Anything can happen to anybody…no one is excluded. This story shows that a disease, such as HIV or AIDS, can affect anyone…Lucy is only 16/17 in this book and it happened to her. Yes, it is a story. However, it is based on real life circumstances that could happen to anyone.
I will say though that I wasn’t a fan of how quick the ending approached and how some people’s reactions were not entirely realistic to the world of HIV. The ending seemed rather rushed and how some of Lucy’s friends and fellow drama actors reacted to her disease were a bit unrealistic considering what people typically know about the disease. I really can’t complain though because I’m happy that Lucy didn’t have any more bad things thrown in her face after the horrible week she had that led to her new change.
There were several other issues addressed in this book, such as underage drinking and drug use, and they definitely played a pivotal role in the outcome of the story. However, the blame for the happenings cannot be placed on one thing or another; because of that, it just shows the reader even more how easily this could happen to anyone and that no one is invincible. I really hope more readers, especially teenagers, will come across this book because it is definitely a wonderful read that is incredibly informative. I know I personally learned quite a bit from the story, something I was not at all expecting to come away with at the end.