Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga
Published by: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: November 7th, 2017
Genre: YA Contemporary
Others by Author: My Heart and Other Black Holes
Despite sending him letters ever since she was thirteen, Taliah Abdallat never thought she’d ever really meet Julian Oliver. But one day, while her mother is out of the country, the famed rock star from Staring Into the Abyss shows up on her doorstep. This makes sense – kinda – because Julian Oliver is Taliah’s father, even though her mother would never admit it to her.
Julian asks if Taliah if she will drop everything and go with him to his hometown of Oak Falls, Indiana, to meet his father – her grandfather – who is nearing the end of his life. Taliah, torn between betraying her mother’s trust and meeting the family she has never known, goes.
With her best friend Harlow by her side, Taliah embarks on a three-day journey to find out everything about her ‘father’ and her family. But Julian isn’t the father Taliah always hoped for, and revelations about her mother’s past are seriously shaking her foundation. Through all these new experiences, Taliah will have to find new ways to be true to herself, honoring her past and her future.
I received this e-ARC from Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, Balzer + Bray!
Lately, YA has been getting more and more diverse and I absolutely love it. Even if it’s more of a trend than anything else, this is one trend I am 100% all in for. Much better than girls in ballgowns on covers.
Anyway! So Here We Are Now was pretty highly anticipated by yours truly, even though I haven’t read Jasmine Warga’s first book. And I wasn’t disappointed (for the most part). Right away, Taliah’s fear of opening the front door got me. She was silly and anxious and real–I was laughing from the first chapter on. And then Harlow appears, bringing in one of the best BFF relationships I’ve seen in recent years. The two girls understand each other, even as they go through a rough patch in their friendship, and that made me really happy. Give me more friendships like this!
I also really liked Julian. I was prepared not to, but I ended up liking him as much as I do Taliah. He’s actually a great example of my next point: every character in this novel is real and complicated and very human. Characterization is truly the highlight of this novel.
As for plot, I was surprised when I got to the first perspective and time flip since I had no idea it was coming. However, Here We Are Now managed to achieve what most books can’t: keep me interested during the flashbacks. They were well-written, interesting, different, and Taliah’s mother’s voice was completely fitting. Plus we got an immigration narrative! In college! In YA! Pretty damn awesome.
My first point of contention is that there was one dangling plot line that didn’t appear to have been resolved (will S.I.T.A. release a new album soon? Please tell me.). And the second is that near the end of the novel, one of the great parts of the novel began to fall apart: the dialogue. I don’t know why so much of the dialogue began to feel stiff and odd, but it stopped sounding like people speaking naturally. I was jostled out of the story one too many times, during the most tense scenes in the book. The ending also felt a bit too neat. I would have liked a little more mess and drama than we got, especially since the past and present paralleled each other so much.
That’s it! I really enjoyed the book, but some things felt off, unfortunately. However, I still highly recommend it to everyone, especially with the music and everything else involved. To be honest, I almost want a series because I just want to see Julian and Taliah’s father-daughter relationship grow and develop.
Have you read this yet? Share your thoughts below!