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My Life After Now Paperback – April 2, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-Lucy is having the worst two weeks in her 16 years. Her longtime boyfriend cheats on her and starts dating her rival, who wins the role of Juliet, which Lucy spent most of the summer rehearsing. Then Lucy's mom arrives unexpectedly and wants to stay with her and her dads. The teen decides that a night out on the town, where she can forget everything, is just what she needs. She and her friends go to New York, where they drink too much, and Lucy goes home with a guy she doesn't know. A month later, when things have sort of calmed down, she realizes that one night could have had severe consequences. She tests positive for HIV, and her life spirals out of control as she tries to hide the reality from her parents and friends. She can't handle the pressure of the disease for long, though, before her secret is out. Although a few elements in this plot seem unrealistic, like her parents' reaction, most ring true. Lucy struggles with the reality of being HIV positive-especially since she doesn't feel sick-and knowing how people will treat her when they find out. There are few books about HIV-positive teenagers, and this is a poignant story. HIV/AIDS resources and facts are appended, along with book discussion questions.-Natalie Struecker, Rock Island Public Library, ILα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review

"Debut author Verdi paints Lucy's devastation and her tangled emotions with honesty and compassion. The reactions of those in Lucy's life are believable as well, from a newfound love interest, who shies away from touching her, to the fierce devotion of her fathers, who are ready to fight when Lucy wants to give up. Information about living with HIV is peppered throughout, but Verdi's novel never preaches, instead telling Lucy's story with realism and hope." - Publishers Weekly

"Verdi forces her readers to face Lucy's dilemma with unflinching honesty and unfaltering compassion. Her complex and relevant story addresses issues that every teen faces. She deftly deals with the controversial topics of sex education in schools and prejudice against people who receive an HIV diagnosis. A gem of a novel." - RT Book Reviews

"Lucy's journey toward accepting her diagnosis is realistically handled, complete with highs and lows." - Kirkus

"My Life After Now is one of those books that wakes you up and demands your attention. It weaves light scenes and heavy scenes and really makes you think, not only about being careful, but also how you live your life in general. " - My Heart Hearts Books

"I applaud Jessica Verdi for writing this book, and hope that it will be a book that will be in every library and classroom. That it can be a book where teens who end up contracting this virus, can turn to this book for some guidance on where to go and who to talk to. I loved that as the story progressed, the author does leave a trail of steps that teens can take should they feel that they may need to be tested. I loved all the raw emotion found in these pages, and how in the end, there is always hope." - Chapter By Chapter

"Lucy is a strong, beautiful heroine. There's no doubt that this book has a heavy subject matter, but Verdi does such a wonderful job of balancing the HIV part with the happier parts of life. Lucy has a life before and after she's infected and that life is wonderful. I love the theater parts and I love how something like that is there for her to come back to even after she has such a hard time. I also appreciated the authenticity in the conclusion where not everything is wrapped up and not everyone ends up happily ever after. I just strongly recommend this book because I know I walked away understanding more about people who have HIV and I felt a little bit like I made a new friend in Lucy. " - In the Best Worlds

"What I loved the most about this book is how inspiring it is. Lucy pushes people away from her at first, but eventually she is able to pull through her situation thanks to the people around her, especially Evan, who becomes an important person in her life. My Life After Now is a wonderful, touching story that portrays Lucy's devastation and her tangled emotions with honesty. The book is about acceptance and learning to live your life with your illness. It brings every single perspective of a life changes after a positive HIV test" - Imaginary Reads

"This book was crazy good is so many ways . . .What I love about Jessica's writing is she keeps it real. Real reactions. Real misunderstandings. Real fears shown by uninfected people . . .Cancer is a killer, but so is HIV/AIDS. It just doesn't get as much air time. That is why I would LOVE beyond LOVE to see this book saturating schools, being a part of their reading plan. I think it would save lives." - Novels on the Run

"My Life After Now is a remarkable and beautifully written story that brings a lot of awareness to teenagers about HIV. Jessica Verdi's work is up their with the likes of Janet Gutler - who also brings a lot of awareness out through her writing. " - Book Passion for Life

"I find it amazing when a book can be both a great read and an eye opener at the same time. What I loved the most about this book, though, is how inspiring it is." - Xpresso Reads
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402277857
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402277856
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #769,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mirna Garcia on April 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Heart of the Matter

Stds, we know about them, have been subjected to countless lectures by sex-ed teachers about prevention, the dos and don'ts, and have even witnessed their effects via the media, yet no one ever talks about the after. Instead, ravaged features, hollowed cheeks, rashes, and other nasty effects are relegated to the darkest corner of our minds; like the monster under the bed or other childhood fears. This attitude is especially prevalent among teens. One of youth's greatest follies is the belief that a bubble of innocence will protect us and keep us safe, that we won't end up like other people...That things can't possibly happen to us. Life wouldn't be unfair that way, right? What if you screw up though? What if you get that dreaded STD? What do you do then? My life after now by Jessica Verdi depicts the heart wrenching journey of a teenage girl after it all, after the positive.
In the beginning, sixteen year old Lucy has it all. She has a gorgeous boyfriend named Ty; amazing besties named Max and Courtney, lives with two dads who dearly love her, and is queen of her drama club. Then comes Aliesse, and she gradually loses what she considers to be everything, (High school, so about the status.) After Ty predictably turns out to be a cheater, and after some home issues, Lucy has a drunken one nighter with a guy and her life irrevocably changes.
Although I didn't exactly love Lucy, and totally agreed with her when in retrospect she sees that she was being a spoiled child, I will say that the author's writing was exquisite. Her descriptions of the New York hustle and bustle, pop culture references, as well as her seamless blending of Shakespearian scenes and modern day teen drama were effortlessly woven into the plot.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Grade: D

Lucy is just just ordinary drama club geek with two dads, reeling from a recent breakup and losing out on the starring to her nemisis until she's diagnosed with HIV. Determined to keep her condition a secret from even her best friends and family, she pushes everyone away, but secrets never stay hidden forever.

MY LIFE AFTER NOW was a quick enjoyable read. Jessica Verdi writes with great voice. Although Lucy wasn't always likable, her thoughts and actions often made sense for a 16/17 year old in a situation for which she is completely unprepared. The minor characters were somewhat clichéd and some of the dialogue felt more middle school than high school.

If not for some glaring irresponsible scenes/info/messages, I would have given MY LIFE AFTER NOW four stars because of the enjoy ability factor. BUT:

1-Most people would not consider Lucy's encounter with Lee to be a "one night stand" since Lucy couldn't consent in her condition and she barely remembers the incident. Additionally she was a minor and he was not. Because some might say she had anonymous sex and some might call it rape, at least one of her dads, friends, support group members, doctors or social worker should have mentioned the possibility. Verdi had a responsibility to at least discuss the encounter as a very grey area.
2-Lucy and everyone else assume she contracted HIV from her Lee and not her ex boyfriend. Why is that? Because Lee was in a band? None of the doctors told her she had a responsibility to tell her ex because they used condoms. Condoms don't prevent disease or pregnancy 100%.
3-Nobody tells Lucy she should inform her partners of her HIV status? Yes she will likely not transmit the virus, but unlikely isn't the same as cannot spread.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was amazing. There, got that out of the way.

I wasn't sure how I would feel about it despite the rave reviews it was getting from the bloggers and bookish friends that I trust. I wasn't sure if I would be able to relate to it considering I have never been in Lucy's position.

All of that didn't matter because what Jessica Verdi did, was create a VERY important book that I believe everyone needs to read.The prose was beautiful,not stilted like some contemporaries are. Jessica Verdi created a book that deals with a tough subject and that include tough subplots under the main plot umbrella.

Lucy is a teenager who makes one mistake and it's a mistake that she now must deal with for the rest of her life. My heart ached for her. She knew that she had royally screwed up and now she had to pay for it with her health status.This book debunked several myths,one myth being that you won't get HIV the first time you have unprotected sex. Because that's exactly what happens.

Lucy had been very careful during her 2 year relationship with her boyfriend but after the week from hell,she just wants to get away. She gets in over her head and suddenly her life is filled with doctors appointments and vials and vials of blood being taken from her. Not to mention a support group that her dads make her attend. It's a whole new world to her.

Unfortunately it's not a new world for her two dads. Her dads grew up just when AIDS was prevalent in the 1980's. They even lost a friend to the virus. They each handle the news differently but what doesn't change is how much they love Lucy. Thankfully they are the two greatest parents anyone can ask for.
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