Sunday, March 24, 2013


Today on Novels On The Run I have an A.M.A.Z.I.N.G book,  My Life After Now by debut YA author Jessica Verdi.

This book was crazy good is so many ways. Such an important message is delivered wrapped up in this book. I personally think this book should be in ALL High Schools around the world as the message really hit home for me. Kids should have this on their lesson plan. A topic that I personally hadn't thought much about but now my children are teenagers...well..... let's just say this really opened my eyes. 

By: Jessica Verdi
Published By: Sourcebooks Fire
Released : 4th April 2013
Details: Netgalley, Digital, 306 Pages


Blurb : Goodreads

Lucy just had the worst week ever. Seriously, mega bad. And suddenly, it's all too much—she wants out. Out of her house, out of her head, out of her life. She wants to be a whole new Lucy. So she does something the old Lucy would never dream of.

And now her life will never be the same. Now, how will she be able to have a boyfriend? What will she tell her friends? How will she face her family?

Now her life is completely different...every moment is a gift. Because now she might not have many moments left.

BOOK REVIEW by Michelle: 

I am sooooo excited for this debut author. Jessica has hit this story out of the ball park. You are going to find many reviewers have the same idea as me. This book NEEDS to be in school libraries, it NEEDS to be a part of the high school curriculum.

Jessica has written such an important story. It needed to be told. It is a story about a 16yr old with HIV. I know the blurb does not say about the ‘what’ that changed Lucy’s life. I did toss up whether I kept it a secret for the reader to find out for themselves. Then I checked the reviews out already and everybody is saying it is HIV.

This is a quote from this book.

The HIV/AIDS plague wasn’t going away, and yet no one was really talking about it. At least, not in the same way they had a decade or two ago. We’d become complacent and we’d become ignorant.

Jessica follows up her story at the end with ‘HIV/AIDS at a Glance’. Q & A’s and stats. I was blown away. AIDS was first recognized in 1981, and has caused an estimated 30 million deaths ( as of 2009) . As of 2010, approximately 34 million people around the world are living with HIV.

I bet you didn’t know that!

I didn’t!

I was one of the ignorant people...among far too many.

So this is why I want as many people as possible to read this story. Jessica has given me a lesson in HIV by telling me the story about a girl who was not a wild child and didn’t live on the dark side. She is a good girl, one partner, her boyfriend Ty. They are part of the Eleanor Falls Drama Club, rehearsing for Romeo & Juliet. Ty decides he likes his Juliet more than his Lucy. Lucy decides to go against her normal behaviour and gets drunk with her besties, leaves with the hot band guy and has a night of unprotected sex.

Lucy meet HIV.

It was that simple.

This is the story of a girl who should not have been subjected to HIV but she was. She made a mistake and to her credit she did not blame the wild child she was infected by.

Not once.

You think this story is going to be about living with her two fathers, her dad and Papa, Adam and Seth. Her parents are gay. Her best friend Max is gay.

Her biological mother Lisa is a total waste of space who invades her life when she needs help. She is a drug addict.

No, this is a message about trusting the people who love you the most, to let them help and support you.

I finally knew what to wish for: Please don’t hate me, please don’t hate me, please don’t hate me, I thought.

And then I said it. “I have HIV.” It’s amazing how much weight three small words, five tiny syllables, can hold.

The only sound in the whole house was the crackling of the candle. I blew it out.

It is a message about understanding HIV and I was taught a lot through the eyes of Lucy and what she was going through.

It is very confronting as a parent to watch Lucy and her parents cope. It could be any parent. It could be me.

“You listen to me, young lady. You are a minor, and we are your parents. Therefore, you will do what we say. Got it?”

My eyes grew wide. Papa never spoke to me like that-- he always took my side. But clearly something had changed in him. “But--“

“This is not up for negotiation, Lucy,” Papa said, releasing his grip on me. “You are not giving up.”

“Papa,” I said slowly and calmly. “What is HIV?”

“Don’t you know?” he asked.

“Of course I know. But I want to hear it from you.”

He remained silent.

“Fine , I’ll say it. It’s the virus that causes AIDS. And what is AIDS?”

I waited again for him to respond, but he didn’t, so again I answered my own question.

“It’s a disease that tears your body apart until you die.” I paused to clear my throat and collect myself. “Papa, don’t you get it? I have HIV, and someday I’m going to have AIDS, and someday after that I’m going to die.”

I heard Dad’s sniffling, but I didn’t remove my gaze from Papa’s face.

He stared back at me with fiery eyes and a set jaw. “Not on my watch,” he said. 

This book is so well written as you don’t even realize you are getting a life lesson. Jessica has used her characters so well. It could just be a normal YA contemporary, but it comes with a difference. This girls night of sex ended with her life changing forever, no HEA, it was never going to happen with the wild child, it was just a one night stand. Now Lucy must learn to live and understand her disease she is carrying in her blood, her body and how that affects her friendships, her school colleagues, her relationship with a boy. 

Her future.

I loved all the sub characters of the support group. Roxie is a wonderful character and we also learn that HIV can be contracted in other ways. I have a very healthy respect for support groups after reading about these characters.

Evan is a great character. He brings more to the story. He is part of the acceptance and understanding process.

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.

Safe sex is no joke. Condoms are life savers. We just probably don’t appreciate how much. I think most young people think of not getting pregnant. I now realize it is also not getting STD’s. They can be killers.

You can’t abort HIV.

I think every parent worries about pregnancy in young teenagers, but do we put as much thought into STD’s?

This is a heartfelt read that kept me turning the pages, a YA contemporary with a powerful message. 

Check out the cover. I didn't actually think it suited the story until I finished writing this review and then I realized it is a cover that shows HOPE, a new day to look forward to.



  1. Great review Michelle. This book sounds really interesting and adding it to my TBR right now. In the late 80s - 90s HIV was a major topic. Although it's still a very serious illness and millions of people still suffer from it around the world, I don't see it mentioned in mainstream media that often. Great to see an author talk about a subject (especially in YA!) thats not spoken aout all too often.

    1. Hi Deb,

      Jessica has a whole stats and info section at the end of this book, and I learnt a lot. The whole book is an eye opener for me as a parent. I just want everybody to read this book. I want schools to use it in their reading plans as it really brings home a lot of messages, without being boring, without being info dumped. It is all wrapped up in this book and it brings awareness!!! In Australia I don't think we really acknowledge HIV in teenagers like we should. I might be wrong :)


  2. I've seen this book around and I'm really looking forward to reading it. HIV doesn't get mentioned in schools enough (I don't remember it ever being mentioned in my Sex Ed class senior year). STD's are discussed and safe sex but not HIV/AIDS. In fact, religious groups where I live are talking about trying to get Sex Ed removed from the curriculum. I'm appalled by that, and hope that doesn't happen and they start using books like this to further the curriculum instead of removing it altogether.

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

    1. Hey Jesse,

      Yes positive messages and important messages in this one!! Wow!! Really got my alarm bells ringing in my head. Such an important topic to bring into a book that effects people just out enjoying life and not thinking about consequences.




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