From the author of THE BRIDGE FROM ME TO YOU, a groundbreaking novel about what matters most -- when time is running out. What do you do with your last day on earth? There are 27 hours and fifteen minutes left until an asteroid strikes North America, and, for Emerson and everyone else who didn't leave, the world will end. But Emerson's world already ended when she ran away from home last year. Since then she has lived on the streets, relying on her wits and her friend Vince to help her find places to sleep and food to eat. The city's quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and Vince meet Carl, who tells them that he has been granting people's wishes. He gave his car away so a woman could take her son to see the ocean for the first time, and he gives Emerson and Vince all the money he has in his wallet. Suddenly this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in 27 hours --- maybe even their own.
All We Have Is Now was on my 2015 most anticipated books list because frankly, I’m a little stressed by the idea of annihilation. The synopsis immediately gave me a heady feeling that what we do matters because the main characters in this journey decide to make their last moments on earth count by helping others fulfill their dreams. Does it sound noble? Yes. Is it a bit unrealistic? Definitely. But ultimately, the feelings I got while reading this book were ones of reading something beautiful and true, even if it’s wrapped in a bit of a sheen.The novel is told in omniscient third person, with poetry describing past events from certain characters’ lives. It’s about 36 hours before an asteroid is about to hit North America, predicted to destroy most of the West Coast. Many of the inhabitants of Portland, Oregon have fled, but a lot didn’t believe the asteroid was going to really hit. Emerson and Vince are two teens who have been living on the streets, and at the beginning of the novel, they are contemplating whether to end it all by jumping off a bridge so they don’t have to wait. On the bridge, though, they meet Carl, who is paying it forward by trying to help people fulfill their last wishes before ending it himself. Inspired, Emerson and Vince leave that encounter with a mission. Carl, meanwhile, gets a last phone call from his wife and decides he needs to find his way home. In alternating chapters, we see how these three people find a way to make the last hours count. A few things defined my reading experience:
- The fact that the main female character was flawed and the main male character was a saint: for the first half of the book, I admit to being totally frustrated with the female character – her actions made sense, but she was really standoffish, and I just wanted to smack her for not being able to trust and open up. It didn’t help that the main male character was basically perfect. I found it difficult to believe in them together because I couldn’t see what he liked about her – but this did get better as the book went on.
- The fact that the eARC was not formatted correctly: normally this doesn’t bother me, but with this version, I just couldn’t get the margins to sit straight, and it frustrated the heck out of me. Hopefully this will not happen on the finished copies.
Like A Child: There are a few moments in this book where the teens do some things that just remind me what it was like to love things like carousels and amusement parks so freely. Moments like these really made the book for me.
Book Theme Song:
This song is actually mentioned in the book, and it’s pretty obvious why with the lyrics:
Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.
So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos and memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth it was worth all the while
The Final WordThis is my second “world-ending” book this year, and while the first (We All Looked Up) was skewed a little older and more realistic, I feel like this one is more inspiring. It’s the book you want to read when you’re 13-14 years old, and you’re just realizing that death and destruction happen every day in the world. Because, in the midst of chaos and potential mass death, the main characters of this book find a little bit of hope and love at the time they need it the most. And that is truly a gift and comfort.
ALL WE HAVE IS NOW comes out next week. Are you interested in reading it? How do you feel about “world-ending books”? Got any recs for me so that I don’t get too depressed about the end of the world? Let me know in the comments!