Author: Jennifer Castle
Publication: June 7th 2016 by HarperTeen
Source: ARC provided by the publisher
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Mental Illness
"I know what it is to want something so badly, you feel like your cells aren’t properly bonded together without it.
I also know what it’s like to get that something.
And honestly, I’m still not sure which is worse..."
Ari Logan is battling to win her war against depression and the dark night she hurt herself on purpose. It’s not easy: her best friend is drifting away, her mom’s emotionally checked out, and she spends her days playing caregiver to her handful of a half-sister, Danielle. But it’s summer, and anything is possible...
That’s when Camden Armstrong steps onto the beach of Ari’s local swimming lake.
At first, Ari quietly longs for Camden from afar, seeing in him everything she wants to be. When the two discover a true connection the following summer, Ari lets herself fall not just for the quirky and self-assured Camden but also his friends, tumbling into their world of independence, adventure, and shared sci-fi fandom. As Ari’s romantic dreams come true, she must unlock the mysteries of the very real and troubled boy behind her infatuation, while also struggling with her own demons, obligations, and loyalties.
From the award-winning author of "The Beginning of After" and "You Look Different in Real Life," "What Happens Now" is a touching, insightful novel about learning to heal, learning to love, and what happens when fantasy becomes reality.
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Honestly, I was skeptical *again* about What Happens Now because I was quite underwhelmed by The Beginning of After. As always, I didn't have the slightest clue as to what this book is about so I am absolutely surprised with what I read and I am truly pleased that it swept me off my feet.
What Happens Now is a love at first sight trope. Hold your horses right there. Indeed, it was that instant -- for Ari. However, the romance developed over how many summers and I find it quite enjoyable that the author explored it from there. You get to reminisce about a lot of the norms in your high school life - curfew, chores, baby sitting, school gossip but the bests are - friendship, family and your first love and heartache. If you look at it, What Happens Now is legitimately one of those cliche tropes in YA (and probably in your life) but with such good aim to parts of you that would hurt and produce tears. This story delves into depression in a way where healing is successful and that even though most things are uncontrollable, there's always hope and support everywhere.
Ari is composed of pieces of us woven into an amazing character as a whole. Yes, she's vulnerable, naive at times but submissive and responsible. We got a tough lady right here. One aspect I loved about her is her ability to know when to strike and her endless respect for her overprotective (most of the time ridiculous) mother. Her depression was something that just came out of nowhere but she's one of those people who just wants to 'release the pressure'. I relate to that a hundred times over because not everyone with depression just wants to check out but instead, to find an outlet. This is also the first time I've met a character who thinks this way. I am like, I found my people. The way she squares up with everyone who are fond of double standards will make you really reassess (kudos!). She's such a loving person that reading people and giving them what is expected of her came natural. I can see how Camden couldn't resist falling for her anymore.
Camden isn't perfect and that what makes his character likable. There were moments he's unlikely to man up which is infuriating but you'll eventually get the whys of his actions. His love for his friends is the kind we've all felt towards ours and I can't help but admire him page after page. Aside from he's attractive and swoony, his values and sense of respect just floods my heart with admiration. AND THE COSPLAYS!!! This part I enjoyed so so much because as a Gundam Builder and ToyCon attendee, this is a huge part of my world now and reading the experience from another point of view is so surreal! I'm so glad both Ari and Camden found a group who provided them with sense of belonging they've always needed.
Rainbow Rowell meets Robyn Schneider, What Happens Now is a story full of wonderfuls. A truly unforgettable story of two broken souls molded to piece their parts together. Its heart-warming romance is crunched by depression, toughened by distance but blossomed with time. What Happens Now is truly an outstanding novel I highly recommend!
What Happens Now that this story is over?
Thank you so much HarperCollins International for the galley!
"What was happy anyway? A dumb-sounding word, if you really broke it down. Happy was something you didn't think to much about because if you did, you knew you weren't." p14
"What was I afraid of? Anything that might tip me off balance and make me fall back into that place I knew was still there, waiting beneath all my newly glossed-over, smoothed-out surfaces." p17
"It's easy to make bad decisions when you're distracted by what's different and exciting." p243