Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Book review: This Is Now by Maggie Gilbert

 A gritty, urban New Adult Cinderella story where the princess can do her own rescuing — she just needs someone to believe in her.

Sister to car thieves, ex-girlfriend to a drug dealer, high school dropout, no-hoper and loser — Jess is on the sidelines, watching her life become one epic fail. Her dreams of university are fading fast, as the people in her life fight to confine her to their own expectations.

Then she meets Sebastien, a gifted cellist from a very different walk of life. Sebastien is clean and strong and talented. He likes and respects her, but he too has expectations. Sebastien seems to think she can do anything, and Jess, despite her fears and the secrets she hides, is starting to believe him.

But just as Jess dares to hope, the secrets in her past and the lies in her present catch up with her. All seems lost and she has to make a choice. Between past and future. Between home and hope. Between now and never. And this is now.


NOTE: I received the eARC via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

I must confess I expecting more from this novel. True, it wasn't horrible, or anything like that, but it definitely wasn't great either. It didn't leave me with a feeling of contentment as I wanted it to and that was disappointing.
Some of the scenes and dialogues were a bit out there in the realm of surrealism. Jess's random hookups with Jay were unconvincing, to say the least. I really couldn't put myself in her shoes and understand why she would pretend she wasn't interested in him, when clearly she was and he was. Or shy she was so stuck up on hiding her background when there was nothing to be ashamed of.
The romance itself developed kind of fast for my taste and I'm not entirely sure it worked all that well.

Writing style
It was engaging, but there was some need for editing. It didn't bug me all that much, though it did make me flinch from time to time.

Storyline
Nothing really original in this novel. Perhaps the cello music could count as the original part, but nothing else struck me.
A girl from the slums falls for a rich guy who turns out not to be a snob and is also smitten by her. Some trouble arises between them but the ending is happy.

Themes
-Family & how it shapes you as a person
-Dilemma: to fit or not to fit with the people around you
-Jealousy and how far it can take you
-Love at first sight - is it real? Is it worth fighting for?
-Is it possible to fight for your dreams when they seem impossible?

Characters
Jess was weird. I couldn't understand her character, her reasoning and her confused thoughts. She was so unsure of herself, so ashamed of her family, that she pretended to be someone else entirely. She always assumed that people thought the worst of her. The had a trust issue with everyone and I got it to an extend. But she overdid it at times and that annoyed me. I hated how many times she repeated she was a slut for having slept with a couple of guys. She seriously believed she was worthless and I hated that her family was too broken to attempt to fix her.

Sebastien had a cool name and played a cool instrument - the cello. He had a great talent and was one of the people who dared to get close to Jess. He treated her with kindness even though he knew nothing about her and then when he learned more, he cared for her despite it. I understood his jealousy too, after all, he was left to make his own conclusions.

Anna, Sebastien's sister was mean, jealous of Jess. And unsure of herself to the extent of doing everything she could think of to harm Jess. And her family. And to think she pretended to be friendly. It was obvious she would never fit in Jay and Jess's social circles.

Jay, Jess's ex-boyfriend and sometimes hook-up, turned out to be a good guy who didn't hold a grudge. I respected him for that in the end.

Bryan, one of Jess's brothers turned out to be caring and a person to count on when difficult times came.

In Conclusion
A novel to pass the time, This Is Now could've actually been something spectacular.

My rating is: