This Is Now by Maggie Gilbert

Synopsis: 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 or never. And this is now.

Review: This is now is a New Adult romance I enjoyed because it was quite different from usual NA books. This is especially due to the characters who definitely weren’t those you’re used to meet in such books. Jess has an alcoholic mother, two brothers who live by selling stolen cars and a boyfriend who deals drugs. So it’s obvious that living with such people, she isn’t the cleanest girl ever. But she doesn’t want to follow the same path as the rest of her family. She’s dreaming of going to university and finally escaping the life she’s trapped on. On the other side, Sebastien is a lovely and polite young man, talented musician, who’s grown up in a wealthy family. He’s never had to fight to have his voice heard.

So no good girl meets bad boy here, rather the contrary, good boy meets bad girl. I liked that for a change! Well, I must admit that this novel did have some of the typical NA traits: the unsure girl who meets a boy who helps her realize that she can break free from whatever’s preventing her from enjoying life, but still I never felt the “déjà-vu” I often feel when I’m reading NA.

I did like the characters because they’re unusual; however they definitely weren’t my favorite characters ever. I really had troubles connecting with Jess – she’s not really the kind of girl I’d get along with in real life, the kind who loves clubbing, drinking and the like. Also there were several times when I didn’t understand her reactions at all, for example she suddenly starts an argument with Sebastien and despite all my efforts I couldn’t figure out what exactly led her to start the argument in the first place. I still felt sorry for her, because of the life she is forced to live because of her family environment. I truly wished her to be able to follow the path of her dreams.

Sebastien was lovely, and I liked that he was a musician (being a musician myself I tend to find characters who are too more likeable than others). I found him a bit too chivalrous and caring for my taste though, but I think that was what Jess was needing, since she had always been used to men who only used her to obtain what they wanted and never truly cared about her.

This book is one you read very quickly, because there always is something happening that keeps you hooked. Well, don’t expect breathtaking suspense though, it’s a romance, not a thriller! But really, I devoured it in two sittings; I wasn’t expecting to get so stuck in the story. I had some troubles with the Australian slang at first (the story is set in Australia), but got used to it very fast and by the end of the book I was no longer noticing it.

I think one of the side aspects of the story was to emphasize the difference between social classes, and the “shock” when they collide. Several times it felt like Jess and Sebastien came from different worlds really, and obviously it put a hamper in their relationship since it often led to misunderstandings between them. I really liked that part, it was very interesting and that’s not something you often see in contemporary books.

If the story had a message, I guess it’d be: “you can always give yourself the means to live your dreams, no matter where you come from.”

In short, This is now is a nice, addictive and out of the ordinary New Adult romance. Probably not the best romance I have ever read but I had a great time reading it.

I recommend this book to you if: you like New Adult romances and want something new in this genre.

4

Tari

14 thoughts on “This Is Now by Maggie Gilbert

  1. I definitely like the setup of this one and the fact that we get a bad girl/good boy pairing instead of all the way around, but like you Tari, I often struggle with female protagonists who are into clubbing and drinking because that’s just not something I can relate to. It’s never been my scene, but I’m glad this story brought a little something different to the NA table. We need more unique NA stories!

  2. It does sound different, and at least it twisted that trope. I could probably understand both sides, though connections to the characters are a must- especially when it comes to the lead, so that would be a struggle. But still, sounds like you enjoyed it though! 🙂

  3. Contemporary YA/NA isn’t usually my thing, but despite the bad girl meets good boy trope, I could probably be convinced to check this out. I would probably have the same issues as you with the main character though, from your review it sounds like she could be one of those « knows she’s in a bad place, wants to be in a better place, but does very little to actually try on her own » characters – bizarre reactions, bad behavior and starting an argument for no good reason sort of paints it that way!

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